Military News

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thunder in the Night

On August 28, 2009, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with Raymond S. Kopp, USN, on a Sailor’s Perspective of the Vietnam War.

Program Date: August 28, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Thunder in the Night
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/08/29/Thunder-in-the-Night

About the Guest
Raymond S. Kopp “was born in the small town of Starrucca, Pennsylvania on September 19, 1951. He joined the Navy upon graduation from high school and his four years of service took him to many places, including Vietnam. Ray left the Navy in September of 1973 and later returned to Navy Reserve duty from 1978 to 1980. He has enjoyed many occupational endeavors, including working as a technical specialist and designer in the aerospace industry, an N/C machinist, a sailing instructor and a skiing instructor.” Raymond S. Kopp is the author of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam.

According to the book description of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on
Vietnam, “When May 1972 came around, the war in Vietnam was supposed to be winding down. But for a the crews of Task Unit 77.1.2 it was just starting. Steaming into heavily defended North Vietnamese waters the sailors and marines experienced war as they never thought possible. They engaged their foes with crushing, hit and run tactics that helped stem the flow of men and materiel needed for the Communist takeover of South Vietnam. In raid after raid the artillery firefights that ensued showed their adversaries to be well-trained and equipped forces intent on defending the military complexes of the Hanoi and Haiphong region. As time trudged on they found themselves constant targets of enemy fire and inner-psychological warfare.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is
Police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/08/29/Thunder-in-the-Night

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style

The co-author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style, Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.) will be a guest on At Home Biz Radio.

Date: July 20, 2009
Time: 10AM Pacific Time
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Jeane/2009/07/20/Leadership-Texas-Holdem-Style

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Being the owner of your own business whether it's home based or out of the home can be quite challenging; especially with marketing and advertising being costly to reach a vast majority of people. That's where
At Home Biz Radio comes in, we would like to help you get the word out about your business or venture. For more information visit: At Home Biz Radio.

ABOUT RAYMOND E. FOSTER
Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton. He has completed his doctoral studies in business research. Raymond is a graduate of the West Point Leadership program and has attended law enforcement, technology and leadership programs such as the National Institute for Justice, Technology Institute, Washington, DC.

Raymond has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and is currently a faculty advisor and chair of the
Criminal Justice Program at the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

His first book, Police Technology is used in over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. He latest book,
Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style has been adopted by several universities for course work in leadership; by several civil service organizations and required reading for promotion; and, has been well received in the wider market.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Using poker as analogy for
leadership, Captain Andrew Harvey, CPD (ret.), Ed.D. and Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA found the right mix of practical experience and academic credentials to write a definitive book for leaders. Working together, Harvey and Foster have written Leadership: Texas Hold em Style. Most often leaders find they are given a set of resources people, equipment, funds, experience and a mission. As Foster noted, "You're dealt a certain hand. How you play that hand as a leader determines your success."

More than a book: A fun and entertaining journey through
leadership that includes an interactive website to supplement knowledge gained from the book.
Proven and Tested: Not an academic approach to
leadership, but rather a road-tested guide that has been developed through 50-years of author experience.
High Impact: Through the use of perspective, reflection, and knowledge, provides information that turns
leadership potential into leadership practice.
Ease of Application: Theory is reinforced with real-life experience, which results in accessible and practical tools leaders can put to use immediately.
High Road Approach: Personal character and ethical beliefs are woven into each leadership approach, so leaders do the right thing for the right reasons.
Uses Game of Poker: Rather than a dry approach that is all fact and no flavor, the game of poker is used as a lens through which to view
leadership concepts.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret)
909.599.7530
raymond@hitechcj.com
www.police-writers.com

Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style

Editor's Note: The author is a former servicemember.

The co-author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style, Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.) will be a guest on Ramble & Rumble with Rabbi; hosted by Rabbi DF Eukel.

Date: July 15, 2009
Time: 7AM Central Standard Time
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/RabbiEukel

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Ramble & Rumble with Rabbi hosted by Rabbi DF Eukel, is a M-F ninety-minute broadcast at 6AM CST. Our community conversations change with each broadcast day, distinctive segments. Come-on, get your coffee, courage and call-in or chat! We have had over 150 broadcasts since our beginning show Nov 22, 2008. Still going and growing! Want to "Ask the Rabbi"?

ABOUT RAYMOND E. FOSTER
Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton. He has completed his doctoral studies in business research. Raymond is a graduate of the West Point Leadership program and has attended law enforcement, technology and leadership programs such as the National Institute for Justice, Technology Institute, Washington, DC.

Raymond has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and is currently a faculty advisor and chair of the
Criminal Justice Program at the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

His first book, Police Technology is used in over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. He latest book,
Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style has been adopted by several universities for course work in leadership; by several civil service organizations and required reading for promotion; and, has been well received in the wider market.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Using poker as analogy for
leadership, Captain Andrew Harvey, CPD (ret.), Ed.D. and Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA found the right mix of practical experience and academic credentials to write a definitive book for leaders. Working together, Harvey and Foster have written Leadership: Texas Hold em Style. Most often leaders find they are given a set of resources people, equipment, funds, experience and a mission. As Foster noted, "You're dealt a certain hand. How you play that hand as a leader determines your success."

More than a book: A fun and entertaining journey through
leadership that includes an interactive website to supplement knowledge gained from the book.
Proven and Tested: Not an academic approach to
leadership, but rather a road-tested guide that has been developed through 50-years of author experience.
High Impact: Through the use of perspective, reflection, and knowledge, provides information that turns
leadership potential into leadership practice.
Ease of Application: Theory is reinforced with real-life experience, which results in accessible and practical tools leaders can put to use immediately.
High Road Approach: Personal character and ethical beliefs are woven into each leadership approach, so leaders do the right thing for the right reasons.
Uses Game of Poker: Rather than a dry approach that is all fact and no flavor, the game of poker is used as a lens through which to view
leadership concepts.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret)
909.599.7530
raymond@hitechcj.com
www.police-writers.com

Careers in Corrections

Editor's Note: Military personnel looking at post-service careers would find this conversation useful.

On August 14, 2009, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with corrections official Tracy E. Barnhart.

Program Date: August 14, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Careers in
Corrections
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/08/15/Careers-in-Corrections-

About the Guest
After completion of a Marine Corps combat tour of duty in Iraq in 1991, Tracy E. Barnhart completed the National Registry requirements as an Emergency Medical Technician. He responded to calls of emergency medical nature for over three years until he became a police officer for the City of Galion (Ohio). After three years on patrol he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Later leaving the City of Galion Tracy E. Barnhart was hired as the Chief of Police for the City of Edison (Ohio). After 3 years as chief of police, and with a total of ten years experience in law enforcement he changed careers leaping into the realm of corrections where he is currently employed at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility.

Tracy E. Barnhart is the
Law Enforcement coordinator the Tri-Rivers Public Safety Adult Education where he designs and coordinates continuing educational courses for law enforcement and correctional officers. He has established courses on verbal de-escalation, criminal behavior analysis, use of force, and ground fighting and take down techniques for law enforcement.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is
police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/08/15/Careers-in-Corrections-

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

MILITARY CONTACTS July 13, 2009

TRICARE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY (TMA)
TRICARE Managed Care Support Services Contract Award
TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp., Phoenix, Ariz., is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide managed care support (MCS) to the Department of Defense TRICARE program. The instant award will comprise a base period plus one option period for $2,853,810,863. The total potential contract value, including the 10-month base period (transition-in) and five one-year option periods for health care delivery, plus a transition-out period, is estimated at $16,956,510,153. The MCS contractor will assist the military health system in operating an integrated health care delivery system combining resources of the contractor and the military's direct medical care system to provide health, medical and administrative support services to eligible beneficiaries in the West Region. The West Region includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa (except the Rock Island Arsenal area), Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri (except the St. Louis area), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas (areas of Western Texas only), Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The work to be performed includes management of provider networks and referrals, medical management, enrollment, claims processing, customer service and access to data, among other requirements, while providing beneficiary satisfaction at the highest level possible through the delivery of world-class health care. This contract was competitively procured via the TRICARE Management Activity e-solicitation Web site with two offers received. The TRICARE Management Activity, Aurora, Colo., is the contracting activity. The contract number is H94002-09-C-0010.

TRICARE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY
TRICARE Managed Care Support Services Contract Award
Aetna Government Health Plans, Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide managed care support (MCS) to the Department of Defense TRICARE program. The instant award will comprise a base period plus one option period for $2,840,302,541. The total potential contract value, including the 10-month base period (transition-in) and five one-year option periods for health care delivery, plus a transition-out period, is estimated at $16,678,172,561. The MCS contractor will assist the military health system in operating an integrated health care delivery system combining the resources of the contractor and the military's direct medical care system to provide health, medical and administrative support services to eligible beneficiaries in the North Region. The North Region includes the District of Columbia and the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (Rock Island Arsenal area only); Kentucky (except the Fort Campbell area); Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri (St. Louis area only); New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The work to be performed includes management of provider networks and referrals, medical management, enrollment, claims processing, customer service and access to data, among other requirements, while providing beneficiary satisfaction at the highest level possible through the delivery of world-class health care. This contract was competitively procured via the TRICARE Management Activity e-solicitation Web site with two offers received. The TRICARE Management Activity, Aurora, Colo., is the contracting activity. The contract number is H94002-09-C-0008.

TRICARE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY
TRICARE Managed Care Support Services Contract Award
UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services, Minnetonka, Minn., is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide managed care support (MCS) to the Department of Defense TRICARE program. The instant award will comprise a base period plus one option period for $3,729,016,358. The total potential contract value, including the 10-month base period (transition-in) and five one-year option periods for health care delivery, plus a transition-out period, is estimated at $21,827,600,469. The MCS contractor will assist the military health system in operating an integrated health care delivery system combining resources of the contractor and the military's direct medical care system to provide health, medical and administrative support services to eligible beneficiaries in the South Region. The South Region includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky (the Fort Campbell area only), Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas (excluding areas of Western Texas). The South Region contractor will be responsible for administering and complying with all Continued Health Care Benefit Program requirements in all geographic areas. The work to be performed includes management of provider networks and referrals, medical management, enrollment, claims processing, customer service and access to data, among other requirements, while providing beneficiary satisfaction at the highest level possible through the delivery of world-class health care. This contract was competitively procured via the TRICARE Management Activity e-solicitation Web site with three offers received. The TRICARE Management Activity, Aurora, Colo., is the contracting activity. The contract number is H94002-09-C-0009.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
International Oil Trading Co., Boca Raton, Fla., is being awarded a maximum $1,011,173,965 fixed price with economic price adjustment, requirements type contract, for JP8 turbine fuel, diesel fuel, and motor gasoline. Other locations of performance are Al Asad Air Base, Victory Base Camp, and Trebil and Korean Village, Iraq. Using service is the Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0515).

BAE Systems Information and Electronics, Totowa, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $12,061,222 firm fixed price, sole source contract for parts. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is July 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Warner Robins, Robins AFB, Ga., (FO9603-03-D_0001-XE02).

NAVY
Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded $71,081,162 for firm-fixed- priced delivery order 0006 modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032) for the procurement of battle damage assessment and repair (BDAR) kits. This order is in support of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program. The BDAR kits will sustain both the MaxxPro Base and MaxxPro Plus vehicle variants. Work will be performed at the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, and deliveries are expected to be completed by Aug. 1, 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $71,081,162 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The base contract was competitively awarded, and the new requirements are sole source additions to the contract. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a $33,066,885 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2307) to exercise options for the accomplishment of Lead Yard Class Services for the DDG 51 Class AEGIS destroyer program. This work will provide technical assistance to the Follow Yard in the interpretation and application of the detailed design developed by Bath Iron Works Corp., the Lead Yard contractor. DDG 51 class services include: liaison for follow ship construction, general class services, class logistic services, class design agent services and class change design services for follow ships. Work will be performed in Bath, Maine, and is expected to be completed by July 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 – Ordnance and Tactical Systems, St. Petersburg, Fla., is being awarded a $20,756,123 firm-fixed-price delivery order #0021 under previously awarded contract M67854-05-D-6014, for the procurement of twenty full rate production Expeditionary Fire Support Systems (EFSS) together with their corresponding basic kssue item kits, Additional Authorization List hardware and Mortar Weapon Spares. The EFSS provides all-weather, ground-based, close supporting, accurate, immediately responsive, and lethal indirect fires. The EFSS is defined as a launcher, mobility platform (prime mover), ammunition (not included in this order), ammunition supply vehicle, and technical fire direction equipment necessary for orienting the weapon on to an azimuth of fire and accurately computing firing data. Work will be performed in St. Aubin, France, (63 percent); Robbins, N.C., (22 percent); and Forest, Va., (15 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Dec. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The basic contract was competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-05-D-6014).

The Northrop Grumman Corp.Marine Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $14,318,064 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to develop and design launcher subsystem risk reduction demonstration hardware, test stand, and necessary related test equipment with the capability to conduct an underwater launch demonstration of a D5 missile in a large diameter missile tube. This contract contains an option, which is exercised will bring the contract value to $17,111,932. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, Calif., and work is expected to be completed March 31, 2010, with one option for studies with a period of performance of 12 months from the date the option is exercised (if exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-09-C-0015).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $12,803,117 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide the engineering, material and test support for the Joint Multi Effects Warhead System Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD). The JCTD will serve to integrate several warhead technologies onto the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile, and demonstrate an expanded capability against hard and large area targets using a two-stage warhead design in a "multi-effects" system. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., (90 percent) and China Lake, Calif., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 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 Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0062).

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $10,234,993 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for engineering services in support of the AN/BYG-1 Weapons Control System. The 117,000 engineering service hours will be used to migrate the AN/BYG-1 weapons control system from a technology Insertion (TI-08) baseline to a TI-10 baseline and integrate advanced processing build (APB-09) and deliver this capability in multiple variants to multiple submarine platforms. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va., (53.6 percent); Cape Canaveral, Fla., (17.6 percent); Roswell, Ga., (12.5 percent); Middletown, R.I., (7.7 percent); McLean, Va., (2.6 percent); Hampton, Va., (4.6 percent); Greensboro, N.C., (1.2 percent); Arlington, Va., (.05 percent); Fairfax Station, Va., (.06 percent); and Waterford, Conn., (.09 percent), and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, with three offers received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-6246).

AIR FORCE
Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $38,647,222 contract to have reliability analysis center research, develop, and deliver data analysis, assessments and evolutions; reliability information analysis and determinations; reliability centered maintenance analysis; data element process and standardization assessments; logistics management and planning tools; systems interoperability assessments; system acquisition planning; and financial life cycle cost estimates for Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security and affiliated labs. At this time $501,662 has been obligated. 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005).

Global Ground Support, Olathe, Kansas, was awarded a $15,375,084 contract to provide two preproduction units as well as 49 production vehicles, and an estimated quantity of 196 deicer vehicles. At this time no money has been obligated. 642nd CBSG/GBKBB at Robins Air Force Base is the contracting activity (FA8533-09-D-9002).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Herndon, Va., was awarded $16,424,272 contract to provide Defense Logistics Agency with logistics enterprise security, cyber situational awareness of emerging cyber threats and network intrusions within DLA boundaries. 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Guardsmen Battle Wildfires in Two States

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - Guardsmen from Texas and Oklahoma assisted local firefighters over the weekend as they worked to extinguish wildfires about 20 miles east of Austin, Texas, and in Major County, Okla. Soldiers from Texas' 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment responded with two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters carrying 600-gallon "Bambi" buckets to help put out the flames, said Army Col. William Meehan, spokesman for the Texas National Guard.

A four-man Black Hawk crew from Oklahoma also responded to fires in their state, according to National Guard reports.

Over the course of the two-hour mission yesterday, soldiers in helicopters dropped 154 buckets or about 100,000 gallons of water on the blaze, Meehan said.

Responding to wildfires is nothing new for the Texas Guard.

"We have been doing this for so many years that it's mostly second nature," Meehan said.

The Guard also works with the Texas Forestry Service to assess where fire-fighting assets will be needed most. Because of that planning, aircraft are ready to go in strategic positions across the state.

"We have aircraft ready to go in Austin and San Antonio," said Meehan, adding that aircraft can be pre-positioned almost anywhere in the state as the need arises.

While the most recent fire has been contained, the dry conditions in Texas most likely will continue.

"We have many areas of Texas that are bone dry," Meehan said. "The state has asked us to be on standby as the [conditions have] actually gotten drier."

That could mean a busy summer for the Texas Guard. "We expect a very long fire season," Meehan said. "And it will go right up to hurricane season.

"We hope we're not needed, but we're ready to go if we are," he said.

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy serves in the National Guard Bureau.)

17th Air Force Prove Capabilities With President's Ghana Trip

By Air Force Master Sgt. Jim Fisher
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - Before President Barack Obama could land to an unprecedented reception here July 10, airmen, sailors and Marines were on the ground days in advance to prepare.
More than 150 servicemembers here and more than 1,000 sailors and Marines aboard the USS Iwo Jima came together in the West African country to form a task force to support the president's visit July 10 and 11.

The mission was conducted by 17th Air Force, also known as Air Forces Africa, based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Seventeenth Air Force is the air component for U.S. Africa Command.

The task force provided aerial port and aircraft maintenance teams, forward communications, medical and helicopter support, and early warning and air domain safety and security elements to support the president's visit, his first to the African continent since taking office in January.

In addition to supporting the visit, members worked with their Ghanaian counterparts to strengthen the partnership between the two nations.

The multiple teams that make up the task force have gelled into a cohesive team, said Air Force Col. Mark Vijums, task force commander.

"When you are supporting the president of the United States, our commander in chief, you deliver your absolute best, and that's what this task force has done," Vijums said. "Everyone has operated with a keen sense of the purpose and scope to ensure our president and all those supporting him have everything they need while in Ghana."

A presidential mission overseas means transporting equipment ranging from the president's limo to the stair truck that makes it possible for him to disembark Air Force One. Scheduling, offloading and maintaining a stream of C-17 Globemasters were crucial in getting the equipment to Ghana and having it in place in time for Obama's arrival, Vijums explained.

Air Force Master Sgt. Ken Duran served as the aerial port team chief during the operation. Deployed from the 819th Global Support Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., his team has unloaded every piece of equipment needed for the visit. Duran said his team was excited about its first visit to the African continent and about the chance to support the president.

"This is pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us, and something I know I will always remember," Duran said. "We are all very excited, and the Ghanaian people are phenomenal. We've met so many people that are smiling, friendly and engaging. It's been a really positive experience."

While his aerial port team doesn't have all the support they would have while conducting a similar operation at their home base, they are well equipped, both in terms of personnel and resources, to provide complete support to the operation in Ghana.

"This team is designed lighter and leaner and to make sure we can handle everything that arrives on every aircraft. Also, the 17th Air Force folks have been a really big help to us," Duran said.

The task force used the communications capabilities supplied by a team from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron at Ramstein Air Base. Upon arrival, Air Force 1st Lt. A.J. DeLaFuente and his team provided for a range of communications, including Internet, land-line telephone services, network administration and radio.

"We pretty much have a hand in every form of communications outside of the commercial cell phones," DeLaFuente said. "When the rubber meets the road, it's really awesome to see it all working out well."

The communications squadron deploys to set up forward communications at locations throughout Europe, and the team is well versed in overcoming communications challenges outside of the normal base infrastructure.

"This is my 'A-team,' the cream of the crop, and that's what they do," DeLaFuente said. He said the team is a mix of qualified technicians from members on their first deployment to experienced experts who have set up similar operations before. But for everyone, this mission is "a pretty big deal."

It was the first forward operation for the lieutenant.

"I'm really thankful to be on a mission of such notoriety with such qualified professionals across the spectrum," said DeLaFuente, noting that in addition to fostering teamwork on the Task Force, the mission also enhanced the partnership with the Ghanaians. "They are going out of their way to be helpful. It's really a pleasure to work with them."

Air Force Master Sgt. Russ Killpartrick agreed that the Ghanaians were eager to work in concert with the U.S. delegation. The production superintendent for aircraft maintenance operations deployed from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., where he is assigned to the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. His team of maintainers has attended to every C-17 touching down here.

"We provide whatever they need, usually filling them up with gas and launching them back out," Killpartrick said. "Everyone's excited to be here. This is the highest-priority mission we could have."

That point was reiterated by the commander, who said that everyone, including sailors and Marines on the Iwo Jima, and Marines conducting security on the ground, acted on that premise.

"Our Marine and Naval components of this team have displayed the highest level of dedication and professionalism, and have instilled confidence in everyone taking part -- they are excellent at what they do and it shows," Vijums said.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Jim Fisher serves with the 17th Air Force public affairs office.)

Reporter's Notebook: Boy Forgoes Party for Surgery

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - It was Beyker Maldonado's birthday last week. The toddler likes to run, chase bouncy balls, and run. Sporting a cloth diaper, a dirty T-shirt, socks and sandals, Beyker zips up and down the reception area here with Navy corpsmen in chase.

He turned 2 on July 10.

The boy's grandmother had planned a party, but instead, Beyker will spend the night with his mother aboard this Navy hospital ship, preparing for eye surgery.

A few months ago, Beyker's right eye started crossing toward his left. Now he has trouble focusing on and grabbing things, his mother said. Without the surgery, Beyker will likely do poorly at what little education is offered, and his job prospects as an adult are limited. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, and Beyker likely would have been among the poorest.

His mother called this surgery a blessing from God.

I chatted with the chief medical officer, Navy Capt. James Ware, during lunch. We talked about soft power, international cooperation, departmental roles, and the value of civilian volunteers, among other things. With a mission like this, there are more talking points than there are stairs in this cavernous converted tanker. And there are hundreds and hundreds of stairs.

I hope to cover many of those points in a Web special that will be posted on DefenseLink this week as the USNS Comfort heads home after four months at sea, and stops in seven countries.

But as importantly, I hope to cover the human side. These trips leave lasting impressions on both those who are helped, and those who render the aid. I hope to tell a few of their stories.

Happy birthday, Beyker.

North Dakota Guard Assists Tornado-hit Town

By Army Sgt. Ann Knudson
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - Almost 100 North Dakota Army National Guardsmen were called to duty last week to respond after a tornado struck this town south of the Heart River. The July 8 tornado tore up more than 100 buildings and ripped down trees. Local officials reported there were no casualties and only minor injuries.

"Through the whole week they talked about how severe it would be. People were gearing up," said Army Spc. Kory Twardoski, from the 818th Engineer Company, Williston.

Guardsmen from the 816th Engineer Company responded immediately to the storm's damage with shelter, traffic control and patrols.

For two days, soldiers staffed 18 traffic control points in two shifts. They allowed only repair crews, residents and helpers into the area.

"The homeowners were very thankful, and the police department was just ecstatic to have the extra help," said Army Capt. Ann Mutzenberger, 816th commander.

Traffic was heavy on Main South the day after the tornado. "Everybody in town wanted to go down and check it out or help buddies or families," said Army Staff Sgt. Scott Obrigewitch, section sergeant for the 816th's 1st Platoon Wheeled Section.

By July 10, traffic was down considerably. "Traffic's not even 5 percent of what it was [July 9]," said Army Sgt. Jason Badinger, who staffed a traffic control point.

The roving patrols monitoring the devastated area made an immediate difference. "It only took about an hour to take effect," Mutzenberger said.

Most of the soldiers were from the 816th, the others volunteered from various units throughout the state.

"I'm extremely proud of our soldiers," Mutzenberger said. "They've got families, they've got jobs, but every time we call, they're here. The soldiers are very proud to be able to assist their own town, and the community support has been awesome."

(Army Sgt. Ann Knudson serves with the North Dakota National Guard.)

Military Health System Embraces Social Media

By Gabrielle Kirk
American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - The Military Health System is one of the many Defense Department organizations embracing social networking in order to provide information to and receive feedback from servicemembers. Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, director of strategic communications for the Military Health System, detailed the organization's work in social networking at an event for federal communicators July 9 in Washington, D.C.

More of an effort was needed, even after the organization developed a robust and interactive health.mil Web site and blog, Kilpatrick said. Less than 10 percent of health.mil visitors are under 25 years old, he said, while 80 percent of the entire military community is between the ages of 18 and 25.

"So we're not reaching the people we need to reach using that Web site," Kilpatrick said.

To provide health information to servicemembers and their families of all ages, it's necessary to use a variety of communications platforms, he said.

"We want them to receive the information they want, in the way they want to receive it, when they want it," Kilpatrick explained.

Security concerns have been one of the most significant speed bumps to promoting social networking in the Defense Department. Many military Internet domains block access to social networking sites, though the Army recently has reversed a policy that blocked many popular Web sites from bases in the United States.

At the moment, there is no hard-and-fast method to measuring social media success. People can track how many fans they have on Facebook or how many are following them on Twitter, but it is difficult to quantify the impact of an organization's presence in social networking. For now, anecdotes may say it best.

Kilpatrick described to the audience how a recently relocated military spouse was seeking care for her autistic child and "tweeted" her inquiry to the Military Health System's Twitter account. Staff members were able to contact an expert and quickly provide local resources to her. A regular visitor's comments went from critical to complimentary.

The Military Health System is currently using "DotMilDocs" audio webcasts, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and other social networks that it links to from its Social Media Hub Web page located at www.health.mil/connect.

(Gabrielle Kirk works with Military Health System's strategic communications.)

Army Lab Tests Effects of Altitude Change on Soldiers

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - Army researchers are simulating environmental extremes, such as the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro or the high desert of Afghanistan, to better understand and protect troops from the challenges of operating in such conditions. A scientist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine described the research during a July 8 webcast of "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on Pentagon Web radio.

"We conduct research into environmental medicine and occupational work, or physiology and nutrition research, all of this specifically to identify problems that the warfighter would encounter in the environmental extremes of heat, cold and high altitude, and across a wide spectrum of military tasks," said Dr. Stephen Muza, Mountain Medicine Team leader in the institute's Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division.

The institute, based in Natick, Mass., is a part of the U.S. Army Medical Research Materiel Command. The institute explores environmental factors -- from extreme temperature to altitude -- that can hamper military operations. Research facilities can reproduce everything from arctic cold to tropical heat by controlling temperature and humidity levels. The institute's 370-square-foot hypobaric chamber can simulate altitudes from sea level to about 30,000 feet above sea level.

High altitudes are any location 1,200 meters above sea level, or about 3,900 feet, Muza explained. That's the lowest altitude at which studies have shown altitude-related problems.

"By the time you have ascended to this altitude, there are very measurable decrements in ... what we call our VO2 max, or maximum aerobic performance," he said. "And as you proceed higher, straight up above 7,000 feet or 2,400 meters, you actually start to encounter the possibility of developing altitude illness; and of course the higher you go, the bigger the impact on your work performance and the greater likelihood of developing altitude ailments."

Strength and the ability to perform short, intense activities aren't especially affected by altitude, Muza said. But even a "modest" increase in altitude can significantly hamper long-term aerobic work.

"If you have to maintain a prolonged work such as an approach march or patrol, particularly with a heavy workload..., that's going to have a significant negative impact," he said.
Muza said the noticeable effect of high altitude and decreased aerobic performance is the need to slow down or take more rest breaks to complete the same job.

"Usually what happens is you have to slow down," he said. "As you go higher, your ability to perform maximal work decreases."

In higher altitudes, a soldier may become nauseated, dizzy or light-headed in what is known as acute mountain sickness. At the highest altitudes, more than 12,000 feet above sea level, one begins to lose mental capacity.

"Above 10,000 to 12,000 feet, we really start to see cognitive performance deficits," Muza said. "Your ability to make a decision is impaired. In particular, it takes longer to arrive at the decision, especially when you're trying to assemble new information."

In addition to testing the general biochemical and physiological aspects of high-altitude operations, Muza said his lab often creates military-specific tests for human research volunteers, a majority of which are military personnel, such as decision-based marksmanship in which the soldier has to distinguish friend and foe.

"We can stress these individuals out by sleep deprivation or ... maybe depriving them of food or rations like may be common in a military situation, and then look at ways to intervene to improve their performance," Muza said.

Acclimatization is the best way to adapt to high altitude, he said. People who rapidly ascend -- particularly above 6,000 feet -- are more likely to suffer problems, especially acute mountain sickness.

Muza said he recently tested subjects from the Boston area by flying them to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., about a 7,000-foot altitude increase, then a week later driving them to the summit of Pike's Peak, Colo., another 7,000-foot climb. His research team discovered that troops with as little as six days to acclimate were highly successful at adjusting to the altitude difference and completing their physical activities with minimal altitude illness.

Medications have not been effective enough to be ground-breaking, Muza noted. The Army has stockpiled the Food and Drug Administration-approved drug, Diamox, but the drug has unusual side effects that "although [they are] relatively mild, they can be a little disturbing," he said.

"There is some emerging data that suggests a class of new drugs, which have yet to be tested in humans under the conditions of altitude exposure, may in fact induce acclimatization so that when you arrive at altitude you're in much better shape to conduct your duties," he said.

Maintaining a diet heavy in carbohydrates has proven to be a successful helper in performing high-altitude tasks, Muza said. A high-altitude soldier's diet should be at least 60 percent carbohydrates.

Consuming carbohydrates in a beverage about every 10 to 15 minutes has shown significant results in improving work ability after extreme altitude change, he explained.

"An individual who rapidly ascends to 14,000 feet and then has to perform prolonged physical work on the order of 90 minutes to two hours ... performs that work 25 to 30 percent better than an individual taking placebo," Muza said. This finding has led to the development of a new high carbohydrate ration that is currently being tested.

(Ian Graham works for the Defense Media Activity emerging media directorate.)

Chairman, Celebrities Visit Sailors Aboard USS Ronald Reagan

American Forces Press Service

July 13, 2009 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several celebrities embarked USS Ronald Reagan today to visit sailors while the ship operated in the Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During the one-day visit, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met with sailors in Ronald Reagan's hangar bay to express how proud he was of their performance and said it was a privilege to be aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

"You're out here on point, putting your lives on the line, and you make a job that's inherently dangerous look easy," Mullen said. "Thank you for what you do."

The chairman also reenlisted 11 sailors during his visit.

"This is about starting a new chapter in my life, and to have the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reenlist me is just the icing on the cake," Petty Officer 3rd Class Heather Milligan said. "It's something I'll be able to look back on and think what an amazing moment it was."

This is Milligan's fourth deployment aboard Ronald Reagan, and she said she's interested in becoming an officer.

"I feel like there's still so much I can accomplish in the Navy," she said. "I love my job, and I know what I'm doing while I'm at sea is making a difference."

Several celebrities, sponsored by the USO, travelled with Mullen to visit the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier including actors Bradley Cooper and D.B. Sweeney, National Football League Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, and model and media correspondent Leeann Tweeden.

"I think it's great any time celebrities visit the ship," said Petty Officer 1st Class Noel Barker. "Its not that often people get the opportunity to meet celebrities; that lifts the morale of the crew."

Sailors took pictures with the celebrities and received their autographs.

"I just saw 'Wedding Crashers' with Bradley Cooper, so I wanted to meet him the most. To top it off, he was great and very genuine," Petty Officer 2nd Class Mercedes Ortega said. "I just feel privileged, because they have a busy schedule, so for them to come out shows they really care about what we're doing here."

(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet news release.)