Military News

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama: Spirit of Memorial Day Must Extend Beyond Actual Observance

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 26, 2009 - America's troops and their families embody what's best in the country, and the American people have a responsibility to serve them as well as the troops serve the country, President Barack Obama said this weekend during his radio address to the nation. Obama expressed hope that the spirit of Memorial Day will extend beyond the actual holiday observance.

He said he's committed as president to honoring the nation's "sacred trust" to those who wear or have worn the uniform – a trust he conceded it hasn't always lived up to.

"All too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility," he said. "We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve."

In vowing to ensure that's not repeated, Obama said he'll look out for the best interests of the men and women in uniform in making national security decisions.

"I will send our servicemen and women into harm's way only when it is necessary, and ensure that they have the training and equipment they need when they enter the theater of war," he said.

Obama recounted his visit to the U.S. Naval Academy commissioning May 22.

"Looking out at all of those young men and women, I was reminded of the extraordinary service that they are rendering to our country," he said. "And I was reminded, too, of all of the sacrifices that their parents, siblings, and loved ones make each day on their behalf and on our behalf."

The president said his agenda ensures the United States lives up to its responsibilities to those who serve by:

-- Building a 21st-century Department of Veterans Affairs, financed to provide veterans the support and benefits they have earned, and expand quality health care to a half million more veterans;

-- Eliminating waste and inefficiency in defense projects to better protect troops, the country and taxpayer dollars; and

-- Putting the new Post-9/11 GI Bill into effect so troops returning from deployments can pursue college educations, find work and provide for their families.

"These are some of the ways we can, must, and will honor the service of our troops and the sacrifice of their families," he said.

But Obama also called on individual citizens to support troops bearing the burden of current combat operations.

"That can mean sending a letter or a care package to our troops overseas. It can mean volunteering at a clinic where a wounded warrior is being treated or bringing supplies to a homeless veterans center," he said. "Or it can mean something as simple as saying 'thank you' to a veteran you pass on the street."

These efforts, large and small, are as important every day of the year as on Memorial Day, he said.

"Our fighting men and women – and the military families who love them – embody what is best in America," he said. "And we have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they serve all of us."

Face of Defense: Officer Swears in Son from Thousands of Miles Away

By Army Pfc. J.P. Lawrence
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 26, 2009 - Army Lt. Col. Harold Turner is a man of plans. As the logistics planner in the plans cell of the 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division, he helps develop logistical support for operations across the nine southern provinces of Iraq. His son, Brett, planned to follow his father into the National Guard. The elder Turner told his son that if he waited to enlist until he returned from his year-long tour in Iraq, he would be there to swear him in.

But when plans changed and Brett decided to enlist ahead of schedule, the elder Turner embarked on a special mission to connect with his son using the power of the Internet.

Turner, who has served 26 years, never planned on his sons joining the military. "I didn't really push the boys into military service," he said. "I didn't want them to think, 'This is what dad's doing, you gotta do it.'"

However, as Turner's deployment to southern Iraq came closer, Brett began to reconsider. "I said, 'Son, think about it and do some research, and when I get back, maybe I can swear you in,'" said Turner.

As Turner worked in Iraq, Brett and his roommate, Chris Albrecht, talked in their Iowa apartment about joining the National Guard. They arranged to join the same Iowa National Guard unit as forward observers and when Chris took the plunge, Brett soon followed.

"Well, I got an email," Turner said. "And he says, 'Hey, I'm getting in, Dad.'"

That was certainly a change in plans, but using the same business practices he uses in his job as a planner, Turner came up with a solution.

"Some of the guys around here said, 'Hey why don't you do a connect session and swear him in from here?'" Turner said.

"We called some people," he said. "It's real easy, just do it over the Internet. He'd email me, I'd open up the email, right-click the link. And then the picture would show up on the other side."

Unfortunately, a wrench was thrown into the plan, as Turner was then called away from his office in Basra to go to a conference in Baghdad.

After his conference, Turner went out in search of a computer. He approached the desk of the Army public affairs office, where they were already prepared to help him. People who knew about Turner's predicament had called ahead to Baghdad to set everything up.

"They took me back to a studio," Turner said. "There it was: a computer with a camera, and we were able to do full video and use the speakerphone better than we had dreamed."

As Turner swore in his son, he looked through the screen and saw not only Brett, but his other son, Grant, his wife, Jana, and his wife's parents, Jane and Billy Davis.

"It's a very special feeling. I kind of get tears in my eyes and I am proud," he said.

CONTRACTS May 26, 2009

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Mansfield Oil Co., Gainesville, Ga.*, is being awarded a maximum $56,868,550 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in various military and federal civilian locations throughout Midwestern states. Using services are Army, Air Force and federal civilian agencies. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There were 48 responses to the original proposed solicitation. The date of performance completion is Jun. 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC-PLB), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-4528).

MedImmune Vaccines, Inc., Gaithersburg, Md., is being awarded a maximum $32,293,397 firm fixed price, sole source contract for influenza vaccine. Other location of performance is in Pennsylvania. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one response to the original proposed solicitation. The date of performance completion is Jun. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM2DP-09-D-0005).

Sanofi Pasteur, Swiftwater, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $12,368,596 firm fixed price contract for influenza vaccine. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There were eight proposals originally solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is May 26, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM2DP-09-D-0007).

Paquin Energy & Fuel LLC., Keller, Texas *, is being awarded a maximum $9,204,270 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in various military and federal civilian locations throughout Midwestern states. Using services are Army, Air Force and federal civilian agencies. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There were 48 responses to the original proposed solicitation. The date of performance completion is June 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC-PLB), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-4535).

NAVY
Oceaneering International, Inc. – Marine Services Division, Chesapeake, Va., is being awarded a $14,095,184 firm-fixed-price contract for the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) of three Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) craft. The LCAC SLEP will extend the service life of LCAC from 20 to 30 years, sustain/enhance craft capability, replace obsolete electronics, repair corrosion damage, reduce life cycle cost by improving reliability and maintainability, increase survivability, and establish a common configuration baseline. The LCAC SLEP scope of effort includes repair and upgrade of the buoyancy box, gas turbine engine replacement, installation of a new skirt, installation of an integrated C4N equipment package, and accomplishment of selected craft alterations and repair work. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $38,883,193. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by November 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, with four offers received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-2240)

Trident Systems, Inc.*, Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $10,213,699 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-6265) for Phase III engineering services, including software development, procurement of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf products and hardware/software integration in support of USS Va., Class Submarines and other submarine/surface ship systems, surveillance and air platforms. The contract modification is for engineering services in support Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Topic No.N99-106 "Mobile Computing for Submarine Application." The Phase III SBIR effort addresses systems and subsystems ranging from simple single processors to highly complex multi-processor network architecture. Work will be performed in Uniontown, Penn., (70 percent); Fairfax, Va., (20 percent); and Raleigh, N.C., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by May 2010. 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.

General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded $8,153,362 for task order #0037 under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (M67854-02-A-9014) for C4 item unique identification. Technical support under this effort is to provide general engineering and scientific support to the Marine Corps Systems Command, Operation Forces Systems Product Group for item unique identification marking of Marine Corps Automated Readiness Evaluation Systems (MARES) legacy equipment, assemblies/subassemblies. Work will be performed at Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in May 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Verifying North Korean Nuke Test Will Take Time, Official Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, May 26, 2009 - It will take time before U.S. and international officials can know with some certitude whether North Korea conducted an underground nuclear-device test yesterday, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters that it's too early to have definitive knowledge regarding yesterday's purported North Korean underground nuclear test.

"I suspect that some of the details that you're looking for that more tightly define the characteristics of the event will come out like they did a couple of years ago, but that takes some time," Whitman said. "If you go back to 2006, I think the [Director of National Intelligence] did something after there was sufficient time to collect the necessary evidence to be able to make a definitive statement."

North Korea's nuclear device and ballistic-missile activities "pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action," President Barack Obama told reporters yesterday at the White House.

The United States and international organizations are working together to construct an assessment of North Korea's most-recent purported nuclear test, Whitman said.

It's believed that North Korea carried out its first underground nuclear test in October 2006. North Korea also has conducted several missile and rocket tests over the past decade; the most-recent was a long-range rocket shot conducted in April.

Whitman didn't comment on news reports saying North Korea conducted short-range missile tests today.

North Korea has conducted several missile tests over the past decade. In a highly publicized incident, North Korea fired a missile that passed over Japan in August 1998.