Military News

Monday, June 01, 2009

Good Evening & Greetings


First an introduction.

My name is William Stroock. The boss graciously invited me to blog here. I am a civilian writer specializing in history and military history magazine articles. Here's a link to an article I have in the current issue of Military Heritage Magazine if you want to get a feel for what I do.

Also I have recently published a novel, A Line Through the Desert, currently available at Amazon. Briefly, A Line Through the Desert follows a young Sgt. in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during the First Gulf War, culminating with the Battle of 73 Easting, 26 February, 1991.

Now, what do I here? I'm going to provide round ups and commentary on war news from all over the world, specifically, the War on Terror, but other areas as needed. So, what does the badly named War on Terror encompass? Obviously Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Somalia, where Islamist militants are battling a weak western backed government and Israel which fights both Hamas (in Gaza) and Hezbollah (in Lebanon) two terrorist groups supported by Iran. Other areas include the Philippines and Pakistan.

With that in mind, lets take a look at the big news.

Today Israel conducted a nationwide drill simulating a massive terrorist attack, presumably a missile attack from Iran. This is very interesting as for more than a year, the Israelis have given every indication that they are going to launch a massive strike on Iran's nuclear program.

Let's consider the facts.

-In the fall of 2007 the IAF destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor built with Iranian and North Korean help.

-Last spring, the IAF conducted an exercise off the coast of Greece, simulating an attack on several targets. Greece is about the same distance as Iran is from Israel. Greece also operates the Russian made S-300 SAM system, which Iran has purchased. This exercise involved more than 100 jets and helicopters.

-The opening move of Operation Cast Lead, Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip last December/January, saw more than 100 Israeli aircraft hit Hamas positions in two waves, with the first wave of 60 aircraft each hitting their targets in a well coordinated simultaneous strike.

To really damage Iran's nuclear program, the Israelis have to take out three main sites, the Uranium enrichment facility in Nataz (in Central Iran), the reactor at Bushehr (on the Persian Gulf) and the research center in the city of Esphahan.

A large, coordinated strike, like the one the Israelis seem to be rehearsing for, would be the only feasible way to do so from the air. Destroying Bushehr would necessarily alert Nataz.

Of course, that's if the Israelis aren't cooking up something else altogether...

Navy Terminates Contract For VH-71 Presidential Helicopter

The Navy today announced that it will terminate the VH-71 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program contract. The announcement follows a Department of Defense (DoD) decision to cancel the existing presidential helicopter replacement program.

The VH-71 was intended to replace both the VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft currently used to conduct presidential support missions.

Navy contract N00019-05-C-0030 and associated work with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego (LMSI-O), Owego, N.Y., awarded Jan. 28, 2005, for the SDD of the VH-71 program, has been terminated for the convenience of the government.

The under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics issued a VH-71 program acquisition decision memorandum on May 15, 2009, which directed the program be cancelled, to include both Increment 1 and Increment 2.

Gates Visits Philippines to Reaffirm U.S. Commitment

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

June 1, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made a brief stop here today to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the country's fight against terrorism. Gates met with his counterpart, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, to discuss the way ahead for military cooperation between the two countries.

"We are partners," Gates said at a news conference following his meeting with Teodoro. "We will continue to strongly support their efforts to defeat terrorists and extremists threatening their country and the region. Together, we will not relent until this threat is eliminated.".

This is Gates' first trip to the country as defense secretary -- a U.S. defense secretary has not visited the country for nearly a decade -- and it also is the first Cabinet-level visit under the new U.S. administration, signaling a renewed emphasis on relations in the region.

Gates said the two countries' relationship should evolve into a broader, more strategic one as the Philippines is taking on a larger security role on the world stage in combating international terrorism.

"The Philippines can play an important role in regional peace and security," the secretary said. "There is a lot we can do together, and I think we will be looking for those kinds of opportunities to continue ... to broaden and deepen the relationship."

During the visit, Gates met with both U.S. and Philippine troops, praising their efforts there.

Gates and Teodoro talked about how to move forward to build capacity of the Philippine armed forces, which Gates said is a fundamental tenet of American foreign policy in the new administration. The secretary said he has shifted hundreds of millions of dollars into the fiscal 2010 budget for such partner-nation capacity building.

"The stronger the foundation we can build under these partner relationships, the longer they're likely to last and the more effective they'll be," he said.

No specifics were detailed as to how the U.S. plans to aid in building the capacity of the Philippine armed forces. But a senior defense official speaking on background said the department will continue to support Philippine forces fighting terrorist groups in the southern part of the country. And, he said, the United States would like to look at ways to go beyond that help.

About 600 U.S. forces are in the country now, advising and assisting Philippine forces in their fight against terrorist groups that have established training grounds and safe havens there. U.S. troops began operating there shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Terrorist groups were using Philippine safe havens to launch attacks across the globe.

U.S. troops help to train and equip the forces, but do not fight with the Filipinos in combat. They also provide intelligence support and conduct civil-military operations.

Since 2001, the Philippine forces have grown stronger, partly due to a reform program put in place by their government the same year, the official said.

"The threat from the international terrorist group in the region has gone down," he said. "There are fewer hostage takings, and there are fewer terrorists and fewer terrorist attacks."

Gates' trip here was delayed by a day because of mechanical problems with his aircraft after he attended an Asia security summit in Singapore.

The secretary laid a wreath at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. More than 17,200 American military troops are buried there, most of whom died in the defense of the Philippines and East Indies in 1941 and 1942. The names of more than 36,000 missing U.S. servicemembers are inscribed in the memorial.

Wounded Warriors Set Out to Conquer North America's Highest Peak

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 1, 2009 - Today marks the start of a monumental challenge for four wounded veterans, their two mentors and one guide, as they move from the base of North America's highest peak in Alaska's Denali National Park to the mountain's base camp at an elevation of 6,850 feet. Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, challenges anyone so bold as to try to conquer its peak, some 20,320 feet into the Alaskan sky.

Bob Haines, a firefighter and retired Army sergeant first class, said that regardless of training, Denali demands a lot of anyone. The team has been training since a 12-day glacier climb a year ago.

"The biggest challenge is the extreme weather conditions, cold, and altitude-related illnesses that can occur," said Haines, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., with his wife, Pam, son, Cody, and three dogs. "High altitude mountaineering is unique in a sense that every day is harder than the last. Your workload increases, and it gets harder and harder to function as you go higher."

This will be especially true for the wounded veterans who will face not only the usually difficulties, but some others as well.

"Many of the climbers have steel parts, rods, screws and plates [in their bodies]. If not protected, they can sort of freeze from the inside out," Haines said. "Day-to-day tasks like putting your boots on can be more difficult if you only have one hand, [and] hurricane-force winds can be punishing on scar tissue.

"Cold affects blood flow, [so] if you have extremity injuries, your blood flow is already at a deficit, so that can exacerbate pre-existing conditions," he added.

Haines, who will serve, by his definition, as the designated pack mule – "You call and I haul" – said he felt as if he was leaving a game in the first quarter when he retired from the military in 2005. This climb is one way he can stay connected to his brothers and sisters who are still taking the fight to the enemy, he said.

But as honored as he is to be a part of the climb, he's also realistic about it.

"I happened to read a quote this last year while reaching Denali from past trip reports. It goes something like this: 'You don't climb a mountain like Denali; you sneak up on it while it has its head turned,'" he said. "Hopefully, we can be sneaky enough and get up and down before 'The High One' knows we're there."

As the team battles the steep elevation to the high camp at about 17,200 feet, with bone-chilling temperatures that can reach minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit and minus 118 degrees F with the wind factored in, another key player will be right there with them.

Gayle E. Hoffmeister, a mentor on the trip, is married to one of the climbers, Army Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister. The Social Security Administration employee said the climb holds personal importance for her.

"This last year was also a journey for Marc and myself as a couple," she said. "After he was wounded, we had to redefine who we were going to be as a couple, [and] a big part of who we are is about the physical activities we do together and the adventures we have participated in as a couple."

She decided she wasn't going to let her husband's injury slow them down. They'd just find ways around it. For instance, he can't work the shifters and brakes on the left side of his bike, so they switched all the controls to the right side.

"Climbing a mountain is just like navigating the challenges in life," she said. "From a distance, it can look overwhelming, scarring and sometimes dangerous.

"You can't see a clear route," she continued, "but as you take the steps and start to approach it, it starts to look different and negotiable, and you soon find yourself moving forward."

Denali's status as the tallest mountain in North America presents one of the biggest challenges this group will have to overcome, both mentally and physically, Hoffmeister said.

Tied to a rope and alone with their thoughts, climbers have a lot of time to come to terms with things, she said. It's a great time to reflect, cry, get angry and overcome.

As for the physical aspect, part of that is making sure everyone is taking care of themselves and carrying spare prosthetics in case they're needed. It also means they may have to move at a slower pace to mitigate individual risks.

While that role will be shared among the team members, it also will be part of Kirby Senden's responsibility.

Senden is the team's lead guide. He'll do the cooking, melt snow for drinking water, tell jokes and help to establish camps. Most importantly however, he'll look out for the team's overall health and safety.

The climb will demand patience and strong minds as it tests the climbers' character as much as their physical stamina.

"It is important for me to participate, because this climb will be a unique experience for all of us," Senden said. "Climbing Denali is always a unique experience; however, the people and their character makes or breaks a trip.

"This group has an unbelievable amount of pride, determination and motivation like I have never seen before," he added. "Knowing what these folks have been through already, they should not only rise to the occasion but, I feel like they will exceed beyond any limitations."

Regardless of whether the group reaches only the 14,000-foot mark or makes it to the summit, Senden said, it will be an awesome achievement.

"They are breaking ground with their physical challenges," he said. "They are a real inspiration, and I can't wait to melt some snow in their honor."

The team will begin climbing the west buttress of the mountain today as they fly to the base camp, an elevation of 6,850 feet. Once there, they'll spend the second day organizing, acclimating and reviewing glacier travel and crevasse rescue.

Face of Defense: Doctor Fills Prescription for Medicine, Music

By Army Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 1, 2009 - It's not hard to find a full-time soldier who goes right back to work doing something else after the uniform comes off. From entrepreneurial endeavors through self-owned businesses to hobbies-turned-careers, some soldiers moonlight in their passions no matter how involved their military careers might be. Army Maj. (Dr.) Nickolas Karajohn is no exception. As a practicing physician at the troop medical clinic, the 42-year-old Las Vegas native can be found providing medical care to thousands of servicemembers training and working here. But it's not his warm bedside manner or friendly demeanor that makes him unique.

In his office, he's referred to as "sir" or "Dr. Karajohn," but once on stage, he transforms into "M.C. M.D.," a rhyme-dropping rapper who's not afraid of the big stage or the bright lights.

"I'm the real doc on the mike," he said, echoing his duel persona's motto. "It's part of who I am and how I've grown up. There never should be boundaries in any genre of music -- racial, ethical or otherwise."

Karajohn's passion for performing began at an early age while he was growing up in a trailer park in North Las Vegas. His first talent was dancing, which led to his forming of a short-lived dance group. It wasn't until later in life that his love for rhyming began to blossom.

"I've been listening to rap since it began, probably about 1980," he said. "That was when the Sugar Hill Gang came out, along with all the original rappers. I followed the progression of rap music and became interested in 1996 in writing it.

"I was inspired by [rapper Notorious B.I.G.] when his double album came out," he continued. "That was my inspiration to start writing songs and get in the studio and start recording."

Despite his love for rap music, Karajohn remained committed to serving his country. "Rap was something I strictly had a passion for, but my main goal was to become a doctor," he said. "I joined initially as a combat medic in 1996, and then went to medical school at the Ross University School of Medicine."

Prior to mobilizing here through his unit, the National Army Augmentation Detachment at Fort McPherson, Ga., Karajohn had written 20 songs and released a 13-track album, even opening for rap group Tha Dogg Pound's Daz Dillinger and Kurupt in 2006. His songs, a combination of East and West Coast rapping styles, he said, reflect on a number of topics.

"I rap about a lot of things," he said. "I've got songs about my life and career, stories, etc. I'm not a 'gangsta rapper,' but I've got some songs about bragging. I also have some songs that try to relay some message about life."

Karajohn said his appreciation for rap music stems from its artistic qualities. "I'm very into the lyrics, so when I listen to rap, I listen to the words first. It's like coordinating poetry to music."

The doctor's strong lyrical abilities hidden under a military officer's exterior have been known to catch others off guard. Army Capt. Victoria Davis, a registered nurse at the clinic here, said she didn't know what to expect when she overheard him rapping a few lyrics to his patients one day.

"Did I expect that from a physician? No," she said. "I was impressed. His lyrics talk about things like being a doctor, but the younger generations can relate. He sends a good, positive message."

Karajohn laughed about the fact that most people are surprised when they hear about his other career. "They're pretty much taken aback, especially at the fact that I'm a doctor," he said. "But my rap name kind of explains it."

Karajohn said he has about six weeks left here before returning to Las Vegas, where he plans to perform again. He said that no matter where his job or the Army takes him, it won't hinder what he loves doing behind a microphone.

"Regardless of your rank or title, ... anything you love to do, anything that you'd call a dream, you should always give yourself a chance to try and do it," he said. "The artistic side of anyone needs to be sought out and displayed, even if it's for themselves."

(Army Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III serves in the Camp Atterbury public affairs office.)

Army Scientists Explore New DNA Vaccine Delivery Method

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

June 1, 2009 - Army scientists are studying a new DNA vaccine delivery method that will one day be needle-free and painless, a senior Army research scientist at Fort Detrick, Md., said. "DNA offers a number of advantages over conventional vaccine approaches, especially with regard to biodefense vaccines," Connie Schmaljohn, senior research scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, told "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" listeners during a May 27 audio webcast.

"This is important when rapid vaccine development is needed for a newly emerging disease threat or possibly for a genetically engineered biological warfare pathogen," Schmaljohn, who holds a doctorate in virology, added.

One of the newest DNA vaccine delivery methods relies on technology known as the "gene gun," which is capable of delivering the vaccine directly into cells. The needle-free vaccination method is more cost-effective and less painful for the recipient.

"The DNA is first coated onto very, very tiny gold beads, and those gold beads with the DNA are then put inside of a plastic device that's about the size of a small flashlight," she explained. "Inside that device is also a little canister of compressed helium gas. When the trigger of the gene gun device is pushed, the gas is released and it propels the gold coated with the DNA out of the device into the skin of the vaccine recipient."

USAMRIID is conducting a human study of DNA vaccines using this delivery method. Schmaljohn's research team has isolated small amounts of DNA from the Hantaan and Puumala viruses -- known health threats to U.S. troops stationed in Europe and Asia -- to develop the vaccines. Both vaccines are in Phase I clinical testing, the first step toward licensure by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Its main goal is actually to prove that the vaccine is safe in humans, but of course, we're also interested in determining if it's inducing an immune response," she added.

"The hantaviruses, once they infect humans, can cause one of two serious human illnesses: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, which occurs in Asia and Europe, or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which occurs in the Americas," Schmaljohn said.

USAMRIID is producing a DNA vaccine for the Asian and European hantaviruses that can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. This disease first was recognized as a threat during the Korean War.

"Today there's more than 100,000 cases of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome each year, with the highest number occurring in China, Russia ... Scandinavia and other parts of Europe," Schmaljohn said.

These viruses are found in many types of rodents, including rats, field mice and meadow voles.

"They're transmitted to humans in the aerosols of rodent's urine, feces and saliva," Schmaljohn explained. "The rodents that carry these viruses are persistently infected, and they show no signs of illness."

She added that over tens of thousands of years, these viruses and rodents have formed a mutually exclusive relationship in which both have adapted to one another. While the virus doesn't appear to affect the rodents' health, the virus does pose significant risk to humans.

Schmaljohn reminded "Armed with Science" listeners about the importance of medical research to the health and well being of the nation.

"Without continuously pushing the envelope of science, we will not be able to adequately respond to new disease threats," she said.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Army Reserve Focuses on Shaping Force After Meeting New End Strength

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 1, 2009 - After reaching its new 206,000-member end strength objective a full year ahead of schedule, the Army Reserve has shifted its focus to shaping the force to ensure it has the proper mix of skills sets and experience levels, the Army Reserve chief told American Forces Press Service. Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz lauded the Army Reserve's increase of more than 20,000 soldiers during the past three years. The Army Reserve exceeded its fiscal 2008 goals by recruiting more than 44,000 soldiers and re-enlisting more than 16,000 soldiers.

"Today I can report to you that your Army Reserve is in excellent shape," Stultz told the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel subcommittee during a March hearing when the Army Reserve had reached 204,000 members. "That's up 7,000 this fiscal year on top of 7,000 last year," he told the panel. "We're growing at a tremendous pace, so recruiting is good, retention is good."

This trend put the Army Reserve on solid footing to achieve its authorized 206,000 end strength a year before the 2010 target. It marks a stark contrast to three years ago, when Stultz assumed his post with a force of about 186,000 soldiers.

Stultz told American Forces Press Service he attributes this success to hard work and dedication by recruiters as well as efforts by reservists themselves. But he also pointed to the importance of recruiting and retention initiatives that supported the Army Reserve's manning strategy. These include the Army Reserve Recruiter Assistant Program, which rewards soldiers, family members and Army civilians who support recruiting and retention efforts, and the Critical Skills Retention Bonus, which helps to retain soldiers in specific job specialties.

Stultz called these incentives as important to the Army Reserve now as when it was growing its force.

"Some people out there might say we've met our end strength and the economy is bad, so we don't need to pay incentives to soldiers," he said. "I say that's not true. We might not need as many incentives to attract E-1s into the force, but I need them because I am continuing to shape the force."

This involves training – and especially, retaining – soldiers in shortage military occupational specialties and encouraging those in over-strength MOSs to retrain into under-strength ones.

The Army Reserve also needs to fill gaps at the noncommissioned officer, captain and major levels, Stultz said. Even after reaching its new end strength, the Army Reserve still is short almost 10,000 captains and majors, Stultz told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March.

The ultimate benefit of the increased Army Reserve end strength won't be immediate, because most of the newest reservists are junior enlisted soldiers, the general explained.

"It's an investment for the future," he said. "What we need now is to focus on growing our NCO corps and growing our captains and majors."

One way Stultz intends to do that is by recruiting more prior-service soldiers.

"The Marines say, 'Once a Marine, always a Marine,'" he said. "I like to say, 'Soldier for life.' We find a lot of soldiers out there who have left the uniform, but the uniform hasn't left them. And when we talk to them, they say they miss it. We're recouping some of them now."

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 1, 2009

NAVY
Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Inc., Bethesda, Md., (N00189-09-D-Z042); General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Suffolk, Va., (N00189-09-D-Z043) and N00189-09-D-Z045); Science Applications International Corp., Suffolk, Va., (N00189-09-D-Z044); and Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp., Virginia Beach, Va., (N00189-09-D-Z046), are each being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract to provide core mission and business sustainment support services to the U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Directorate. For Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, the base amount is $25,630,821, and the estimated value if all options are exercised is $135,330,781. For General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, the base year amount is $23,294,517 and the value if all options are exercised is $122,799,339. For General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, the base year amount is $42,722,271 and the value if all options are exercised i! s $224,7 09,611. For Science Applications International Corp., the base amount is $54,081,703, and the estimated value if all options are exercised is $283,968,495. For Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp., the base amount is $50,147,494, and the estimated value if all options are exercised is $262,821,754. Work will be performed in Suffolk, Va., and work is expected to be complete July 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This requirement was awarded competitively through Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with six offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, Contracting Department, Philadelphia Division, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., Greenville, S.C., is being awarded a $138,299,754 ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract (N00019-05-D-0013) to exercise an option for the P-3C Sustainment, Modification and Installation Program. Work will be performed in Greenville, S.C., and is expected to be completed in June 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded a $44,679,769 firm-fixed-priced modification to a previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032), delivery order #0004, for the renewal of OCONUS Field Service Representatives in support of OIF and OEF sustainment in Theater. Work will be performed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the final deliveries associated with this delivery order are expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The Basic contract was competitively awarded and the new requirements were sole source additions to the contract. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $13,903,050 firm fixed price contract for improved Bradley acquisition subsystem procurement. Using service is Army. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was originally two proposal solicited with two responses. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va., (SPRRA2-09-C-0008).

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
Aerovironment Inc. of Monrovia, Calif., is being awarded a $7,000,000 modification to an existing Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract increasing the contract maximum to $10,000,000 for updated DDL compliant Raven B Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle spares and retrofit kits in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command Program Executive Office - Fixed Wing. The work will be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 6, 2011. This contract modification was awarded under Exception to Full and Open Competition as implemented by FAR 6.302-1(a)(2). The contract modification number is Modification P00001 to H92222-08-D-0001.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Join Senior Military for Country United: Advancing Medicine from the Frontlines to the Homefront

Symposium Registration Now Open and Gala Tickets Now on Sale

June 1, 2009 – The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) and the Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF) today launched Country United: Advancing Medicine from the Frontlines to the Homefront, a two-day event comprised of the Partnership for Military Medicine Symposium and the Country United Gala. The events will take place on November 6 & 7, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

Country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will co-chair Country United in support of our nation’s wounded warriors. Symposium registration and Gala tickets are both available at www.countryunited.org. Country United is on Facebook and Twitter and may be found by searching for “Country United.”

Proceeds from Country United will benefit the efforts of HJF and TMF to advance medical care and improve quality of life for our nation’s service members and civilians. Through HJF, funds will support the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)—our nation’s only federal school of medicine and graduate school of nursing. (For more information about USU, see www.usuhs.mil.) Through TMF, funds will further civilian and military collaborations in the neurosciences and oncology to improve diagnostics, treatments, and quality of life for military and civilian patients.

"Today’s real war heroes are the military doctors, medics, nurses, and others who rush the frontlines to save as many soldiers as possible," said Army Chaplain (Major) Jeff Struecker, who was featured in the national best-selling book and motion picture “Black Hawk Down.” "Their dedication is also seen off the battlefield where they have advanced medicine so far that wounded warriors now have the opportunity to lead fully functional lives. Thank God for these courageous care providers."

Many of USU’s more than 4,300 alumni serve on active duty as supporting medical personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. USU, often referred to as “the West Point of military medicine,” prepares the next generation of uniformed doctors, nurses, and federal health researchers.

"My father Tug McGraw proudly served as a Marine, and I’m honored to play a roll in this very special event. The goal of Country United is aligned with our own mission to accelerate treatment and cures around quality of life issues," said Tim McGraw, Grammy Award-winning country music star and Honorary Chairman of the Tug McGraw Foundation.

The Partnership for Military Medicine Symposium, to be held at the Hilton Washington on Friday, November 6, 2009, will highlight how discoveries in military medicine improve healthcare for service members and civilians. The symposium will feature leaders from military and civilian medicine who will address the following topics: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Neuroscience Research; Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response; and Infectious Diseases. Faith Hill will offer the keynote address at the luncheon.

"Our military men and women have sacrificed so much for our country, as have all those who have ever served our nation,” said Faith Hill, Grammy Award-winning performer. “It’s my honor to be involved with Country United and to take part in recognizing the tireless efforts of the medical community to advance care for our nation's warriors and citizens.”

The Country United Gala, to be held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Saturday, November 7, 2009, will celebrate the achievements of researchers, clinicians, and others who work to advance medical care for and improve quality of life of our wounded warriors and citizens. The Gala will be emceed by Emmy Award-winning sports commentator Bob Costas and will feature a special performance by Tim McGraw, Faith Hill & Friends.

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine is a private, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to support military medical research and education at USU and throughout the armed forces. Country United is an extension of HJF’s ongoing efforts to advance military medicine. (www.hjf.org)

The Tug McGraw Foundation was established in 2003 to enhance the quality of life of children and adults with brain tumors, and in 2009 expanded programs to include Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. TMF collaborates and partners with other organizations to accelerate new treatments and cures while improving quality of life in areas of physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual impact of those debilitating conditions. (www.tugmcgraw.org)