Monday, June 08, 2009

Face of Defense: Airman Uses 'Buddy Care' to Help Man Hit by Train

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Elliott Sprehe
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2009 - Air Force Senior Airman Eric Slaugh was returning here from leave in December when he encountered a snowstorm in northeastern New Mexico, a storm that would detour him into assisting in saving someone's life. After missing a turn because of the near-whiteout weather conditions, the Slaugh family ended up in a traffic jam due to an overturned semi-trailer that was blocking the highway.

These small setbacks led Slaugh, just a few miles outside of Prewitt, N.M., to be a couple of cars back from a man who, while taking a quick comfort break from the gridlocked traffic, would be struck by a train.

"I watched the train go by, and he didn't come back," said Slaugh, assigned to the 27th Special Operations Component Maintenance Squadron.

Slaugh later would learn that the man was standing in one set of tracks waiting for a train to go by so he could get back to his vehicle. But due to the noise of the westbound train he was paying attention to, the man didn't see the one traveling in the opposite direction heading toward him.

According to a memo from the New Mexico State Police, the man noticed the train at the last second and managed to jump mostly out of the way, though he was struck and knocked back from the blow of the train.

"I never saw him come back over the hill, so I woke my wife up and told her I was going to go check on the guy," Slaugh said. "When I got there, I could see him sitting next to another train."

Upon closer inspection, Slaugh noticed that the man's hand had been severely damaged and was bleeding profusely. A trail of blood led from where he had been knocked to the ground to where he sat, leaning against a train. Slaugh went back to his vehicle, where he retrieved cloth diapers and other supplies to help the man.

After returning to the victim, Slaugh directed someone to call 911 and used his Air Force self-aid and buddy care training to treat the man for shock and took steps to stop the bleeding.

"I held a pressure point for a while, which, for the most part, stopped the bleeding," he said. "At that point, personnel from the train that hit the man had made their way back."

The train that struck the man came to a stop about a half mile from where he was hit. Slaugh had one of the train conductors keep the man's hand elevated while he went back to his vehicle for a blanket.

When he returned to the train, a police officer had arrived. While awaiting the arrival of medical technicians, Slaugh continued to engage the man in conversation to keep him conscious. At this point, Slaugh had been awake for almost 24 hours.

Medical technicians soon arrived to secure the man and transport him to a medical facility.

As far as Slaugh was concerned, it was the right thing to do.

"At first, my mind went blank from initial shock, but after a few minutes you start thinking straight: 'I've got to do this, I've got to do that,'" he said. "I believe that if you see somebody who needs your help -- especially if this person could die without help -- and you choose not to help him and he dies, you're partially responsible.

"Did I save his life? I don't know," he said. "Did I think I'd ever use [my self-aid and buddy care training]? No, I'm a mechanic. Was it the right thing to do? Yeah."

After the ordeal was over, Slaugh and his family got a hotel room for the night to rest and contemplate what had happened.

In a memo from the New Mexico State Police, Sgt. Luis Hernandez wrote, "I truly believe that Senior Airman Slaugh's actions on this day were essential to the victim's survival. His knowledge of first aid and his willingness to help others are a reminder of the values our military personnel hold."

(Air Force Airman 1st Class Elliott Sprehe serves with the 27th Special Operations Wing public affairs office.)

FEMA Chief, Northcom General Cite Military's Hurricane Response Role

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2009 - The National Guard is essential to hurricane response, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told lawmakers here last week. W. Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator, and Army Maj. Gen. Frank Grass, U.S. Northern Command's director of operations, testified June 4 before an ad hoc disaster-response subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"The National Guard is a key component of any state governor's ability to respond to a variety of disasters," Fugate said. "They are a force multiplier for the ... state responders. [The National Guard] is a key component of our national defense strategy."

Fugate said one of the first things he did after he was sworn in May 19 was to meet with Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

"We have a very strong statewide mutual aid system under [the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, and] we leverage that with the National Guard," Fugate said.

The National Guard and Northcom stand ready to support civil authorities in the 2009 hurricane season, which began June 1, Grass said.

The National Guard is "the first responders in support of [civil authorities] and the governor, so they're going to be there first," Grass told the subcommittee. "It behooves us at Northcom to understand their capability and look at their response times, because if they're successful at the local level, that's less federal assets we have to put forward."

National Guard, Northcom and FEMA leaders were joined by state and county officials at a hurricane workshop in South Carolina earlier this year, Grass told lawmakers.

"We walked through ... how the locals would be responding, how the state would respond [and] then the National Guard gave us a lay-down by state of where their shortfalls were," Grass said. "Then FEMA came in and explained what capabilities it may be requesting.

"The biggest shortfall this current hurricane season," he continued, "probably is in the brigade structure of the National Guard, because of the number of brigades deployed [overseas]. Even though it's a shortfall in certain regions, it's not a shortfall across the nation. It's a matter of reallocating forces, and the National Guard is working very closely ... with the state adjutants general to identify those forces that can fill those shortfalls."

Grass said a similar situation exists with helicopters, and that equipment from other regions can relieve a shortage in a particular state.

A third challenge is aeromedical evacuation, Grass said.

"We've improved greatly since last hurricane season on the ability to identify patients, ... move [them], how to receive them," he said. Defense and federal coordinating officers are working with local officials to improve communication before a storm.

Any hurricane response will be a joint effort by military forces supporting civilian authorities, Grass said.

"We've looked closely at the active component – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – ... to see where their assets would be available," Grass said.

National Guard Bureau and Northcom leaders talk daily to coordinate efforts, Grass said in an interview after his testimony.

"Between Northern Command and NGB, we're all watching the continental United States and the states and territories," Grass said. "If we see something out there, ... we immediately make contact with each other."

NGB's command center and the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northcom command center work together closely, and whenever National Guard forces are deployed domestically, "we're prepared to back them up," Grass said.

"The key point in this response – whether it's a local Guard unit or it's a federal force being called in because the governor said he has a shortfall – is that we're always in support of a civilian agency on the ground that needs help, and we owe it to the taxpayers – to our citizens – to use the best asset that we have the quickest."

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Grass was deputy director of the Army National Guard. He then served abroad in U.S. European Command, returning last year to take up his position at Northcom. That previous hurricane experience, plus his time abroad, has given him a perspective on the nation's current hurricane preparedness, he said.

"To see the changes, it's night and day," Grass said. "Northcom has matured. The Guard has matured in their relationships with the states and with Northern Command. Just the fact that today there are five reserve component general officers serving full time at Northern Command and there are three traditional Army Reserve and Air Guard and Army Guard generals serving at Northern Command – we have a much closer relationship than we have ever had. The FEMA administration has reached out to the interagency and to the Department of Defense.

"When you look at a total reserve force of over a million, and the National Guard at over 460,000 Army and Air Guardsmen," he continued, "there's no reason the National Guard Bureau can't make that response happen through [emergency management assistance compacts] – and we would be prepared from Northern Command to step in and help if there were gaps."

As is increasingly the case throughout the Defense Department, Northcom is a truly joint environment, Grass said.

"I don't care what uniform you wear or what component you're with," Grass said, "your No. 1 mission should be defense of the homeland and providing response capability to the citizens of the United States."

(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau.)


The Air Force is terminating for convenience the Transformational Satellite Communications System Mission Operations System contract with Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services of San Jose, Calif., for $2,020,430,440. The contract termination is a result of the Department of Defense cancelling the TSAT Program in accordance with the priorities of the FY10 President's Budget.

The Air Force is terminating for convenience the Transformational Satellite Communications Systems Engineering and Integration contract with Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., of McLean, Va., for $20,802,224. The contract termination is a result of the Department of Defense cancelling the TSAT Program in accordance with the priorities of the FY10 President's Budget (FA8802-04-F-7044).

The Air Force is awarding a firm, fixed price contract to ATK Tactical Systems Co., LLC of Rocket Center, West Va., for $5,986,994. This contract action will provide the DSU-33D/B nose-mounted sensor used on M117 and MK-80 series general-purpose bombs and the Joint Direct Attack Munition. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 784 CBSG/PK, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity (FA8681-06-C-0009).

Federal Cartridge Co., Anoka, Minn., is being awarded a $49,900,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for 300 Winchester magnum ammunition. This ammunition will be used by U.S. forces engaged in combat and by the Navy in Match Team competition. Work will be performed in Anoka, Minn., and is expected to be completed Jun. 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $1,319,768 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with multiple proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N0016409-D-JQ56).

EDAW, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a maximum amount $20,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect/engineering contract for preparation of Navy and Marine Corps environmental planning documentation primarily in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) southwest area of responsibility (AOR); however, work may be located any where in the United States. The work to be performed provides for National Environmental Policy Act documents such as categorical exclusions, environmental assessments, and environmental impact statements. Environmental studies and documents. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to Calif., (80 percent); Ariz., (5 percent); Nev., (5 percent); Colo., (1 percent); N.M., (1 percent); Utah, (1 percent); Alaska, (1 percent); Hawaii, (1 percent), and remainder of the U.S., (5 percent). The contract is expected to be completed by Jun. 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $5,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This co! ntract w as competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with seven proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-09-D-2602).

Jaron Corp., South Bend, Ind.*, is being awarded a maximum $32,709,050 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in Oklahoma. Using service is Air Force. There were 48 responses to the original proposed solicitation. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jun. 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-4529).

Pierce manufacturing, Inc., Appleton, Wis., is being awarded a maximum $9,103,451 firm fixed price, delivery order on long term contract for rescue fire fighting vehicles. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jun. 5, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM500-01-D-0062-0049).

BH Aircraft Co., Inc., Ronkonkoma, N.Y.*, is being awarded a maximum $5,790,480 firm fixed price contract for afterburner liners. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There were originally two proposals solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Oct. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPRPA1-09-C-Z099).

Pentagon Encouraged on Pakistan, Wary on North Korea, Spokesman Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2009 - Defense Department officials are encouraged by the Pakistani campaign in the country's Swat Valley and in its provinces of Buner and Dir, but North Korea continues to be a vexing issue, the Pentagon press secretary said here today. Pakistan's month-long offensive against the Taliban within its borders is going well, Geoff Morrell said during a Pentagon news conference. "We are hoping that the offensive continues to the point that these militants in this region are defeated," he said.

The United States continues to stand ready to provide whatever assistance the Pakistani military needs to finish the job, Morrell said. "But we are clearly encouraged by the fact that, ever since there was this encroachment on Islamabad by the Taliban and associated other militant groups, we are seeing an aggressive and sustained military operation in response," he added.

North Korea continues to be a problem, and the press secretary said the U.S. position will continue to stress diplomacy. "Our focus is now and has been and likely will continue to be on coming up with diplomatic and economic pressures that will persuade the North from abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the platforms to deliver them," he said.

American efforts are focused on the United Nations and the Six-Party Talks with the United States, South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and North Korea.

Still other actions are contemplated should diplomacy fail. "Obviously, we never take anything off the table in terms of what our options are should the North not be dissuaded from pursuing a nuclear-weapons capability," Morrell said, "but that's not where our focus is right now."

Morrell reiterated Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' statement in Singapore last week. "He, like the president and almost everybody else involved in this, is sick of buying the same horse multiple times -- is sick of responding to North Korean provocations by making concessions that get you back to the status quo ante only to see this all unfold again," Morrell said.

"So while we are pursuing diplomacy and while we are pursuing economic sanctions, we are simultaneously working with our allies ... who may be amenable to this on trying to devise additional defensive measures, prudent planning in the event that the North continues down this reckless path," he said.

Gates has tasked his policy team to figure out creative and prudent ways to bolster defenses if North Korea continues, Morrell said.

The United States will work with Japan and South Korea or alone if it has to, he said.

"We're talking about this on a trilateral basis, which would be ideal, on a bilateral basis if necessary, and, if it comes to that, unilaterally," the press secretary said.

U.S. Crew to Aid in Locating French Airliner's Data Recorders

American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2009 - The Defense Department is flying a 19-person crew and Navy equipment to Natal, Brazil, to aid in the search for Air France Flight 447's data recorders, a Pentagon spokesman said today. The Airbus A330 jetliner with 228 people aboard disappeared May 31 in thunderstorms while traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon said the U.S. crew, a mix of military personnel and contractors assigned to Naval Sea Systems Command's supervisor of salvage and diving here, will operate Navy towed pinger locators, or TPLs, from two French-contracted ships.

The passive listening devices, which can locate emergency beacons up to 20,000 feet below the ocean's surface, will be towed behind the vessels at speeds of 1 to 5 knots, depending on water depth, Gordon said. If they detect an acoustic pulse, it's transmitted up the towing cable and is presented in audio and visual modes.

The first ship to receive a TPL and a crew will depart for the search area June 10. The second ship is scheduled to depart June 12.

Last week, a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft was deployed to Brazil, where it flew three search missions of about eight hours each. It returned to Florida over the weekend.

Brazilian officials are reporting 16 bodies and a large part of the aircraft's tail section have been recovered from the wreckage field. While not exactly identifying the location of the search area, the officials have said it's south of the plane's last transmission, indicating pilots may have turned back toward a nearby island.