Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Suspected H1N1 Flu Case Reported at California Marine Base

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - The Marine Corps commandant today confirmed a suspected case of what the U.S. Homeland Security Council now is calling H1N1 flu, but has been known as "swine flu," at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. A male Marine reported to a medical clinic on base over the weekend complaining of flu-like symptoms. Initial test results indicate the H1N1 virus, and the service is waiting for further results from testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway said.

The Marine, along with his roommate, are quarantined in the barracks, Conway said, adding that the roommate has shown no symptoms and the infected Marine is recovering.

"He's doing fine," the general said. "He's up and about. He said he feels pretty good. The doctors tell us that at this point, there appears to be no threat to him in terms of loss of life."

Doctors at the base also identified and restricted the activities of 37 other Marines who may have had contact with the infected Marine. The 37 are not officially quarantined, but are not allowed in public places such as unit formations and dining facilities.

The infected Marine was not given Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug used to prevent the flu, because he was past the point in his illness at which the medicine would have been effective, Conway said. All of the other Marines involved are taking Tamiflu.

The southern-California base is about 200 miles from the Mexican border, but the Marine had not visited Mexico, Conway said.

Marine doctors should receive the test results from the CDC in the next two days.

This case comes on the heels of two military family members in Texas, both teenage boys, with confirmed cases this month. Both boys have made full recoveries.

Defense Department officials say they are monitoring the outbreak closely, with a primary focus on protecting the military population.

Two prescription anti-viral drugs, Relenza and Tamiflu, already are standard stock at U.S. military treatment facilities, and larger quantities are stockpiled at several sites in the United States and overseas, officials said.

Official Explains Proposed Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability Rules

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - With the Department of Veterans Affairs ready to begin accepting sign-ups for the Post-9/11 GI Bill May 1, the Defense Department is working to get word out on its proposed policy regarding the bill's transferability provisions to help servicemembers decide if the new benefit is right for them. Bob Clark, the Pentagon's assistant director for accessions policy, called the Post-9/11 GI Bill that takes effect Aug. 1 an important new benefit. In addition to providing broader educational benefits, it includes a provision that enables enrollees to transfer their benefits to immediate family members.

This long-sought-after provision is expected to be a boom for the military, Clark said, attracting and retaining the skilled force it needs.

"The Post-9/11 GI Bill is going to be an extremely good benefit to attract bright, young Americans to serve in the military," he said.

"The transferability is going to be a tool that will allow us to retain members who have earned that great benefit and share it with their family members and continue to serve," Clark said. "This gives them the opportunity to share those benefits that they have earned with those they love."

The rules for Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability are in the final stages, and Clark said the Defense Department expects few changes, if any.

In a nutshell, any enlisted or commissioned member of the armed forces serving on active duty or in the Selected Reserve on or after Aug. 1 will be eligible to transfer their benefits – as long as they qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill in the first place and meet specific service requirements, Clark explained.

He emphasized that, by law, anyone who has retired or separated from the service before that date – even if it's July 31 – won't be entitled to transfer their benefits. Also excluded will be members of the Individual Ready Reserve and Fleet Reserve.

Most servicemembers who have at least six years of military service as of Aug. 1 and agree to serve an additional four years qualify, he said. But the Defense Department has proposed measures to cover several categories of servicemembers whose circumstances don't fit neatly into this formula.

For example, those with at least 10 years of service – but who can't serve an additional four years because of a service or Defense Department policy –also would qualify, Clark said. They must, however, serve the maximum time allowed before separating from the military, he said.

"What we did not want to do was to penalize those people who had a service policy or statute that would not permit them to commit for the full four years," Clark explained.

Another Pentagon proposal would cover servicemembers who will reach the 20-year service mark, making them retirement-eligible, between Aug. 1, 2009, and Aug. 1, 2013.

Clark explained the breakdown, which basically enables those affected to transfer benefits as long as they complete 20 years of service:

-- Those eligible for retirement on Aug. 1, 2009, would be eligible to transfer their benefits with no additional service requirement.

-- Those with an approved retirement date after Aug. 1, 2009, and before July 1, 2010, would qualify with no additional service.

-- Those eligible for retirement after Aug. 1, 2009, but before Aug. 1, 2010, would qualify with one additional year of service after electing to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

-- Those eligible for retirement between Aug. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2011, would qualify with two additional years of service after electing to transfer.

-- Those eligible to retire between Aug. 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012, would qualify with three additional years of service after electing to transfer.

The servicemember's 36 months of benefits – the equivalent of four nine-month academic years – could be transferred to a spouse, one or more children or any combination, Clark said. The family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System to receive the benefits.

Servicemembers also have the option to use some benefits themselves and transfer what they haven't used to one or more family members.

Even after transferring the benefits, they remain the "property" of the servicemember who earned them, who can revoke them or redesignate who receives them at any time.

More details about the Post-9/11 GI Bill are posted on the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs Web sites, and the Pentagon's proposed transferability policy is on the Defense Department site.

Retro Space Crew Module Undergoes Tests at Navy Facility

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - When future astronauts prepare to go to the moon or to a rendezvous with the International Space Station, their craft will look suspiciously familiar. Appearing to be a larger version of the Apollo spacecraft's crew module, the new Orion spacecraft is historical in its conical design.

"We know a lot about the aerodynamic properties of this shape," said Alan Rhodes, NASA's Constellation Program test and verification officer. "It's a great, great craft for space.

"It's not a great boat," he deadpanned.

Because the new spacecraft replaces the space shuttle, which has landed on runways, the Constellation Project team needs to be able to tell today's astronauts what to expect when they splash down in the ocean after a mission. The team also needs to develop best practices for getting the astronauts out of the capsule and recovering the vehicle after splashdown.

Toward those goals, the Orion crew module was brought to the calm waters of the test pond at the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division in Bethesda, Md., in late March.

No people have been aboard the capsule for any of the testing there, however. That will come later. Preliminary tests results have been gained through observation and instrumentation.

"The key here is safety," Rhodes said. "It's kind of ... 'learn as quick as possible,' but we've got to make sure we're safe, because we don't want anybody getting hurt with this."

Developing best practices for deploying the module's floatation collar is much safer in the pond's calm waters than in 10-foot seas, Rhodes explained.

The procedure began by lowering the 18,000-pound module into the water while team members guided it toward the center with ropes. Once it was in position, two teams of Air Force pararescuemen in rigid, inflatable Zodiac boats attached a sea anchor before deploying and inflating an 18-inch floatation collar. The sea anchor is the first step to slowing the motion of the capsule, which helps to make the crew more comfortable, officials explained.

Once inflated and attached to the module, the blue-and-yellow collar stabilizes the craft further and provides the recovery crew a platform from which to help the astronauts out of the vehicle.

"The Air Force guys are able to use this test pool to test out all the procedures they're going to want to use when we go to the ocean," Rhodes said.

They also got to test out a procedure they hope they won't have to use when the main hatch on the side of the module failed to open properly during the tests. This glitch, which later was easily explained, had the recovery crew looking to the alternate hatch on top of the vehicle.

"On top, ... there's a secondary hatch called the docking hatch," Rhodes said. "That'll be the hatch they use to enter the space station [or] to attach themselves to the lunar lander [or] the Martian vehicles. It also is a secondary egress path."

The team also should be able to tell the astronauts what to expect in different sea states, he said.

"It helps us understand, 'We think you will have this probability of being sick due to the motions.' 'We think you'll be able to move based on our interpretation of these motions in these manners,'" Rhodes explained.

When all the testing on the Orion crew module is complete the Constellation Project team will have developed best practices for retrieving the crew and recovering the capsule in just about any sea state, Rhodes said.

"It's extremely important to us to make sure that they can [recover the vehicle and crew] in 10-, 12-, and 14-foot seas," said Don Pearson, project manager for the post-landing test. "The reason for that is we want to have what's called a very high launch probability. Any day of the year I want to be able to launch my spacecraft from Kennedy [Space Center]. We have to be able to say, 'Yeah, we've got really rough weather off Boston, but not a problem. We could still pick you guys up [if the capsule splashed down there]. Let's go. Let's launch today.'"

While the capsule has a retro look, sentiment was not what led NASA to resume water landings upon re-entry; it was practicality. While the Russian space program has the expansive, soft soils of Kazakhstan on which to land their Soyuz spacecraft, the United States is not so fortunate.

"Weight is the biggest issue, and a system that can keep the astronauts safe landing on land," said Navy Cmdr. Andy Quiett, the Defense Department's liaison to NASA for the Constellation Program. "We don't have quite that big a [piece of] real estate in the U.S.

"There are several landing sites that they've evaluated," he continued, "and NASA made the call that weight costs money to put [the capsule] into orbit and to have a system to protect the capsule for a land landing. I know the astronaut office wants the safest landing they can have, and the water landing provides that."

The last splashdown of a crew module was Apollo 17, Quiett said. That was Dec. 19, 1972.

The team's consensus during a post-test debrief was that all had gone well and they were on the right track. That didn't mean they were done, however. The group took a break before returning to the pond to run through the same exercise at night.

U.S. Needs 'Pragmatic, Clear-Eyed' Defense Strategy, Flournoy Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - Defense Department officials should center strategy on smarter, more pragmatic engagement and closer cooperation with other U.S. government agencies and foreign allies, a top Pentagon official said. Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of Defense for policy, today summarized the department's approach as it gears up to conduct the strategic review it provides to Congress every four years.

"We need to look forward in a very pragmatic, clear-eyed way and develop the capabilities we need to respond across the spectrum to make sure the United States is well positioned to maintain its security and advance security in a changing world," she told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.

Flournoy added that the United States is facing "one of the most daunting inheritances in generations," and must address difficult questions about balancing present needs with preparing for an uncertain and complex future.

Outlining her views on U.S. defense strategy, Flournoy said pragmatism, engagement in critical parts of the globe, a more balanced use of the government's tools, revitalizing relations with allies and a "whole-of-government" posture should underpin the approach.

But before highlighting the principles that likely will inform the department's congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review, Flournoy described current and emerging challenges, and the broad trends that "fuel and complicate" them.

Providing a thumbnail sketch of the present security landscape, she cited wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nearly 200,000 U.S. troops deployed in harm's way fighting a broad war against extremism, and the planned military drawdown in Iraq and increased presence in Afghanistan.

While the two wars constitute elements of the security picture, they are not the "sum total," Flournoy said. "We are going to seek to better address both the needs of today's conflicts but also tomorrow's threats," she added.

Other key security challenges include violent extremist movements, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, rising powers with sophisticated weapons and increasing encroachment across the so-called global commons, which include air, sea, space, cyberspace, she said.

Additionally, in contrast to the international dynamics of the past, in which strong countries were likely to pose security challenges, weak or failed states now represent significant cause for concern, she said.

"Historically, most security challenges have come from aggressive, powerful states overstepping the bounds of international norms and international law," she said. "We are now in a world where many of the threats we face will come from state weakness and the inability states to meet the basic needs of their population."

Flournoy said a number of factors are affecting the security challenges, including the global economic downturn, climate change, cultural and demographic shifts, increasing scarcity of resources and the spread of destabilizing technologies.

"These challenges are fueled and complicated by a number of powerful trends that are reshaping the international landscape," she said.

While there is no easy solution for challenges this vast and complex, Flournoy said, the example of America's ability to emerge from post-World War II challenges demonstrates the United States' resilience.

"We've faced a whole magnitude of challenges, and we have both survived and thrived," she said.

The Defense Department will submit to Congress its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review that assesses department strategy and priorities early next year, according to a department news release.

Quadrennial Defense Review Fact Sheet Available on Defenselink

American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - People who are interested in learning more about the Defense Department's Quadrennial Defense Review process can do so by just accessing the QDR fact sheet that was posted today on Defenselink, the Pentagon's public-internet web page.
To access the fact sheet, simply select the "press advisories" button located in the left column of the page, or click on the web link attached below.

"The QDR takes a long-term, strategic view of the Department of Defense and will explore ways to balance achieving success in current conflicts with preparing for long-term challenges," Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III stated in a Defense Department news release issued April 23.

The QDR "will also look at ways to institutionalize irregular warfare capabilities while maintaining the United States' existing strategic and technological edge in traditional warfare," Lynn said in the release.

The QDR is performed every four years; previous QDRs were conducted in 1997, 2001, and 2006.

The purpose of the QDR is "to assess the threats and capabilities the nation faces, and then integrate strategies, resources, forces, and capabilities necessary to prevent conflict or conclude it on terms that are favorable to the nation now and in the future," Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in an April 23 news release.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded eight contracts with a shared capacity of $650 million to eight contractors who will perform utility monitoring and control systems work throughout the continental U.S. and overseas.

These contracts are for the procurement and installation of utility monitoring and control systems; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to include chiller/boiler systems installation and/or integration, supervisory control and data acquisition systems; and other automated control systems including fire alarm and life safety systems, chemical/biological/radiological contaminant detection/filtration/response, utilities (electric/gas/water/steam) metering; electronic security systems; and security and/or force protection measures worldwide.

The multiple award task order indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity service contracts have a three-year base period and one optional two-year period for a total of five years. The total capacity of these contracts is $650 million, with shared capacity among eight contractors: Ameresco, Inc., Framingham, Mass.; Honeywell Products, Inc., Austin, Texas; Johnson Controls Building Automation, Huntsville, Ala.; Siemens government Services, Inc., Reston, Va.; TAC Americas, Carrollton, Texas; Teng & Associates, Inc., Chicago, Ill.; Trane U.S. Inc., La Crosse, Wis.; and Williams Electric Company, Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The Huntsville Center solicited this acquisition on a competitive basis.

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Co., of St. Louis, is being awarded a one-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with four annual options. The contract has predominantly firm fixed price items, and a not-to-exceed value of $250,000,000. The contract is for Mid Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (MEUAS) Information Gathering, Target Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Services in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command Program Executive Office - Fixed Wing. The work will be performed in St. Louis and overseas locations and is expected to be completed by Apr. 30, 2014. This contract was awarded through full and open competition. The contract number is H92222-09-D-0015.


The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to Rolls-Royce Corp., of Indianapolis, Ind., for a maximum of $79,764,987. This requirement will cover 27 initial spare engines in support of the C-130J unique systems in support of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and two foreign military sales cases for Norway and India. The entire amount has been obligated. 330 ACSG/GFKA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8504-07-D-0001).

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.., Hurst, Texas was awarded on Apr. 27, 2009 a $ 60,302,880 firm fixed price contract for the production of 24 Bell 407 helicopters for the country of Iraq, with an option to purchase up to 26 additional 407 helicopters. This contract will have a 27 month period of performance for the base requirement and up to a 13 month additional period of performance if the option is exercised. Work is to be performed in Alliance, Texas, (55 precent) and Mirabel, Canada, (45 precent) with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0160).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems & Sensors, Liverpool N.Y., was awarded $ 20,674,214 firm fixed price contract for procuring spares for the twelve (12) initial production Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 Radar Systems. Work is to be performed in Liverpool, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2010. One sole source bid solicited and one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-06-C-T004).

Contrack International, Inc., McLean, Va. was awarded on Apr. 24, 2009 a $ 28,436,732 firm fixed price contract for its medium load concrete aircraft pavement including but not limited to aprons and connecting asphalt taxiways, modifications and additions to a munitions area and taxiways, lighting, markings, tiedowns, grounding point, water and sewer distribution and storm water drainage for rotary wing aircraft. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of Feb. 01, 2010. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-09-C-0018).

The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pa., was awarded on Apr. 24, 2009 a $ 22,947,428 firm fixed price contracts for MH-47G remanufacture for three (3) MH-47E Aircraft into a MH-47G Extra Airframe Configuration. Work is to be performed in Philadelphia, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 15, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Aviation Integration Directorate, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-04-G-0023).

Head, Inc. Columbus, Ohio, was awarded on Apr. 24, 2009 a $ 11,614,400 firm fixed price contract to remove and replace the Combat Readiness Training Center ramp and airfield lighting, Phase I and Phase II. Work is to be performed in Savannah, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 20, 2009. Fourteen (14) bids were solicited and thirteen (13) bids were received. USPFO for Georgia, Atlanta, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912JM-09-C-0010).

Balfour-Walton JV, Dallas Texas, was awarded on Apr. 24, 2009 a $ 1,382,000 ECI construction, fixed price incentive contract to replace a hospital at Ft. Riley, Kan. Work is to be performed in Fort Riley, Kan., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 29, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and seven (7) bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-09-C-4024).

DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc St. Louis Mo., was awarded on Apr. 23, 2009 a $ 22,419,508 firm-fixed-price/ Indefinite Quantity contract for 317 M989A1 Heavy Mobility Ammunition Trailers (HEMAT's are being purchase via Delivery Order 0009 on the above referenced IDIQ. Work is to be performed in St. Louis, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 02, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-05-D-0332).

AM General, LLC South Bend, Ind., was awarded on Apr. 23, 2009 a $ 14,001,542 firm fixed contract to add 88 each High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to contract. Work is to be performed in Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. TACOM Warren, AMSTA-AQ-ATCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

ACC Construction Co., Inc, Augusta, Ga., was awarded on Apr. 32, 2009 a $ 16,409,480 firm fixed price for the design and construction of the tactical equipment maintenance facility, Grow the Force-Unit Operations-Phase C. Work is to be performed in Fort Campbell, Ky., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 16, 2010. Four bids were solicited and two bids received. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0042).

The Joint Venture of CUh2A Smith Carter Hemisphere, Lawrenceville, N.J., was awarded on Apr. 16, 2009 a firm fixed price contract for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) design contract. Exercise Options: CLIN 0011, 0012, 0013, 0014, 0015, 0016, 0017, 0018, 0020. Work is to be performed in Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 29, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and six (6) bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers- Baltimore District, Baltimore Md., is the contracting activity (W912DR-06-C-0009).

Straub Construction Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $24,839,000 for firm fixed price task order #0003 under a multiple award construction contract for repair and renovation of Building 232 (Spanagel Hall) and Building 235 (Root Hall), at the Naval Post Graduate School, Calif. The work will provide repairs and renovation to comply with current critical safety and building codes, and reconfigure deteriorated steam heating with a code complaint hydronic system. Mechanical upgrades and fire sprinkler system, fire protection system, HAZMAT abatement and associated interior renovation of the existing spaces shall also be completed. Work will be performed in Monterey, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2014. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-08-D-8616).

ITT Corp., Alexandria, Va., is being awarded a $17,628,729 cost plus fixed fee contract for research and development support services in the areas of: systems engineering and research support in modeling and simulation; intelligent information systems; virtual and augmented reality systems and applications. This contract contains four 12-month options, which is exercised, would bring the total cumulative value of the contract to $94,167,918. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C., and work is expected to be completed Sept. 2010 (Sept 2014 with options). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured under NRL solicitation number N00173-08-R-JS09, with one offer received. The Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00173-09-C-2038).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $9,861,389 cost plus fixed fee contract for products and engineering services in support of the EA-18G Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Integrated Product Team. The level of effort is expected to be 73,571 hours and includes design, development, integration, test and distribution of Electronic Attack Unit software, technical evaluations and testing of changes, and will support follow-on test and evaluation integration and test. Work will be performed at Point Mugu, Calif., (85 percent); Bethpage, N.Y., (10 percent); and China Lake, Calif., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to the FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-D-0026).

SyQwest Inc., Warwick, R.I. is being awarded an $8,264,980 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, firm fixed price contract for the repair and restoration of DT-699 High Frequency Sail Array (HFSA) Hydrophone Modules and TR-364 HFSA Projectors. Work will be performed in Warwick, R.I., and is expected to be completed by April 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $50,000 will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, with two offers received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport is the contracting activity (N66604-09-D-0200).

MacGregor Inc., Cedar Knolls, N.J., is being awarded a $6,096,547 firm fixed price contract for the procurement of two twin boom level luffing cargo handling cranes. The work to be performed under this contract includes crane procurement and transportation of the cranes, removal and disposal of existing cranes, refurbishment of existing boom stands and crane bases and providing pre-work for a stabilization system. Work will be performed in Cheatham Annex, Williamsburg, Va., and is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was negotiated under Other Than Full and Open Competition in accordance with FAR 6.302-1(a)(1)(2), "Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements". The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Navy Crane Center, Portsmouth, Va., is the contracting activity (Contract Number N62470-09-C-7006).

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., was awarded a $6,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for emergent and supplemental work for the accomplishment of the fiscal year 2008 Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The CVN 65 FY08 EDSRA is a ship depot availability of approximately 16-month duration. EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections and recoating, and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive propulsion plant repairs and testing than is possible during an Extended Selected Restricted Availability (ESRA). Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by Aug 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Face of Defense: Small-town America Leads Marine to Big-time Success

By Marine Corps Cpl. Casey Jones
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - All across the United States, from coast to coast and from border to border, you'll find thousands of small, one-stoplight towns where livestock outnumber people. In these tiny towns -- just like Clarks Hill, S.C., population 376 -- your neighbors either are friends, family or both, and you usually never have to think twice about leaving your door unlocked at night.

Marine Corps Chief Warrant Office 4 Rodney Freeman, a 40-year-old Clarks Hill native and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense officer with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, credits his great-grandmother and being raised in small-town America for his success in the Marine Corps.

"My great-grandmother embedded in me some extremely valuable core traits," Freeman said. "She instilled in me discipline, a good work ethic, caring for others and a sense of family [and] unity."

Freeman, who's been in the Marine Corps for 21 years, said being a Marine has been one of his wisest decisions, and that he has enjoyed his time in service.

"Those values my grandmother instilled in me definitely made boot camp and being a Marine easier," Freeman said. "From my perspective, I believe that the majority of good Marines are the product of a good upbringing."

Freeman said as a teenager he was certain he wanted to become a Marine. He never second-guessed the decision.

"The Marine Corps caught my attention when I was in the 11th grade," he said. "I was at a baseball game when I saw a reservist Marine in dress blues. He didn't say a single word; he didn't have to. He just stood there with a high-and-tight, looking lean and mean. He didn't say anything. It's just the way he carried himself."

Courage, one of the core values he learned as a young boy, has been especially important to Freeman throughout his time in the Corps.

"One of the most challenging situations in the Marine Corps is having the courage to stand up to those who are senior to you," Freeman said. "To address issues that you feel are unfair, and not to just give up because they don't particularly agree with you. You just have to continue to fight for what you believe in."

While Freeman was in Iraq preparing for a flight to another location, he sparked up a conversation with a younger Marine. He asked the Marine a common question: "What do you do?"

The Marine then gave a common response, "Nothing much, sir."

"What do you mean by nothing much?" Freeman asked.

"Well, sir, I would rather do other things, I would rather [leave here]."

Freeman told him he was an important asset, and that's why he was doing that particular job. Then the Marine finally told him his exact job description.

"Sir, removing and loading dead, blood-dripping bodies from aircraft and vehicles gets really tiring," the Marine said.

At that instant, Freeman said, he realized how strong and selfless Marines are.

"It really dawned on me at that point. To be a Marine, or to be a servicemember, period, is special because we're all willing to give the ultimate sacrifice, which takes a lot of courage," Freeman said.

Freeman said after he serves his final two years in Indian Head, Md., working with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, he plans to return to some small town in the Carolinas or Georgia.

"I'm not one of those guys who chase dollars," Freeman said. "So right now, I'm looking to do my dream job of becoming a Junior ROTC teacher, which would give me the opportunity to mentor, lead, and hopefully help out some young men and women."

(Marine Corps Cpl. Casey Jones serves with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.)

Obama Taps Stockton for Senior Pentagon Posting

American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - President Barack Obama has nominated a senior research scholar at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation for a senior civilian position at the Pentagon. If Paul N. Stockton's nomination is confirmed by the Senate, he will replace Paul McHale, who resigned as the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and Americas' security affairs.

Congress established the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense in December 2002. Aligned within the Pentagon's policy directorate, the office provides supervision for the Defense Department's homeland defense activities.

Fort Sill Spouses Go Through 'Field Exercises'

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2009 - More than 300 military spouses attended one of two "Field Exercises" recently at Fort Sill, Okla., designed to assist them in dealing with life while their deployed spouses are away. Starlett "Star" Henderson and Tara Crooks, founders of the Army Wife Network, created the program so deployment-weary spouses could enjoy a break and connect with other spouses facing similar challenges.

"The Field Exercises were created to empower and rejuvenate military spouses," Crooks said. "We are devoted to changing the lives of our warriors and their families through a sincere desire to help military spouses where it matters most: in the field. These families deserve a night of appreciation and pampering. They need information and an opportunity to meet other spouses in order to succeed in military life."

The April 23-24 event featured tips and shared experiences, allowing spouses to learn about deployment survival resources while empowering them to make the right choices in their relationships, careers and personal lives and encouraging an outlet for relief and creativity in the often-stressful military lifestyle.

"We talked about the myths surrounding deployment, reintegration and ideas for staying connected," Crooks said. "After the break, we went over themed care-package ideas and talked about ways to send care packages and get others involved."

Book lists for military spouses and children also were shared at the event. As an added bonus, registered guests received giveaways such as an iPod Touch, a digital camera, pearl earrings and spa certificates, and they also got well-stocked gift bags containing massage gel, key chains, books and snacks for them and their servicemember spouses.

"Overall, this opportunity for sharing information, trading ideas and strategies, networking and building lasting relationships was a free 'time-out' for them," Crooks said.

Attendees of the event were pleased.

"I attended both days," Carol Herrick, a Fort Sill Army spouse, said. "I enjoyed spending time with other Army spouses who have experienced deployment and this challenging Army lifestyle. Tara and Star are high-energy, and you feel instantly connected to them as they tell their story."

Carla S. Norris, another Fort Sill Army wife, agreed.

"The information about resources that are available was so vast," Norris said. "Even as a spouse who has been in the Army for 15 years, I learned about resources that I had not previously been aware of. It was wonderful to share the camaraderie with other spouses. The Field Exercises were a very enjoyable event!"

Previous "Field Exercises" have taken place at Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; and Fort Campbell, Ky. The Army Wife Network will visit Fort Bliss, Texas, on June 4 and 5 for Field Exercises.

"Field Exercises will always be about getting servicemembers and families together to see the faces of individuals who also experience military culture shock and to allow networking for long-lasting, satisfying relationships on their post or in their community," Crooks said. "Without the support of sponsors like USAA, these exercises would not be possible."