Military News

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Navy Christens New Guided Missile Destroyer Jason Dunham

The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Jason Dunham, Aug. 1, 2009, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

Designated DDG 109, the new destroyer honors Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dunham was born in Scio, N.Y., Nov. 10, 1981, sharing the same birthday as the U.S. Marine Corps.
On April 14, 2004, Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah, Iraq, when his battalion commander's convoy was ambushed. When Dunham's squad approached to provide fire support, an Iraqi insurgent leapt out of a vehicle and attacked Dunham. As Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground, he noticed that the enemy fighter had a grenade in his hand and immediately alerted his fellow Marines. When the enemy dropped the live grenade, Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade, and threw himself on top to smother the blast. In an ultimate selfless act of courage, in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of two fellow Marines.

Retired Gen. Michael W. Hagee, former commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Debra Dunham will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late son. In accordance with Navy tradition, she will break a bottle of champagne across the ship's bow and christen the ship.

Jason Dunham, the 59th Arleigh Burke class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Jason Dunham will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower," the new maritime strategy that postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

Cmdr. M. Scott Sciretta, born in South Amboy, N.J., is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Jason Dunham is being built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Additional information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4.

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 28, 2009

NAVY
BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $52,454,810 firm-fixed-priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0003 under contract M67854-07-D-5025 for the upgrade of 170 United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Category I vehicles with independent suspension system kits. Work will be performed in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom areas of responsibility, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $28,647,406 firm-fixed-priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0004 under contract M67854-07-D-5025 for the upgrade of 89 United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Category I vehicles with independent suspension system kits. Work will be performed in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom areas of responsibilities and in York, Pa., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $15,608,500 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded delivery order #0009 under contract M67854-07-D-5025 for the upgrade of 35 United States Special Operations Command Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Category I vehicles with independent suspension system kits. Work will be performed in York, Pa., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

ERS JV*, Sacramento, Calif., is being awarded $6,802,665 for firm-fixed price task order #0004 under a previously awarded environmental multiple award contract (N62473-07-D-3219) for pier radiological surveys and pier removal at Hunters Point Shipyard. The work to be performed provides for pier and wharf deconstruction at Hunters Point Shipyard. Several of the wooden piers and wharfs are structurally unsound and represent a potential hazard to navigation in San Francisco Bay. Work will be performed in San Francisco, Calif., and is expected to be completed by February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Raytheon Co., El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $48,703,289 firm fixed price, sole source contract for spare aircraft radar systems. Other location of performance is in Massachusettes, Mississippi and Texas. Using service is Navy. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is July, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Procurement Operations, Philadelphia, Pa., (N00383-07-G-700H-TBD).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., is being awarded a maximum $18,450,000 firm fixed price, sole source contract for aircraft rotor blades. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Procurement Operations, Philadelphia, Pa., (N00383-06-G-006F-THF4).

Crown Clothing Co., Vineland, N.J.*, is being awarded a maximum $8,083,845 firm fixed price, total set-aside, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for men's coats. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Marine Corps. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the first option year period. The date of performance completion is July 28, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1104).

ARMY
FN Manufacturing, LLC, Columbia, S.C., was awarded on July 27, 2009 a $ 39,958,331 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of the M249 Squad Automatic Weapons. Work is to be performed in Columbia, S.C., with an estimated completion date of July 24, 2014. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., was the contracting activity (W15QKN-09-D-0019).

Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC, Fairfax, Va., was awarded on July 27, 2009 a $ 37,564,871 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of two schools in the northern training area at Fort Bragg, N.C. This includes a 550 student middle school to serve 6th through 8th grade students (approximately 99,300 Sq ft), and 714 student elementary school to serve pre-kindergarten through 5th grade students (approximately 123,616 sq ft). The project scope also includes utilities, parking, playground areas, sports facilities, fencing, and landscaping and site development. Work is to be performed in Fort Bragg, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 15, 2011. Proposals were solicited on the World Wide Web with sixteen (16) proposals received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-C-0033)

Holte/Graham, J/V, Ramsey, Minn. was awarded on July 27, 2009 a $ 11,157,587 firm-fixed-price-construction contract for the construction of Phase I of a new readiness center located at the Arden Hills Army Training Site, Arden Hills, Minn. Work is to be performed in Arden Hills, Minn. with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. National Guard Bureau, Little Falls, Minn. was the contracting activity (W912LM-09-C-0005)

Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, Wichita, Kan. was awarded on July 24, 2009 a $ 21,621,564 firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of one beechcraft king air B350 aircraft, two beechcraft king air B350C with cargo door option in the air ambulance/medical evacuation configuration and six one-month option for storage of the aircrafts. Work is to be performed in Wichita, Kan. with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2011. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, CCAM-RD-F, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0087)

New Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director Named

Kenneth A. Myers III has been selected as the new director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). He was sworn in July 27, 2009, at the Pentagon.

Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Ashton B. Carter, said, "The selection of Ken Myers as the director of DTRA is another significant step in transforming how we defend against the threat of weapons of mass destruction. He has the right background with 15 years of hands-on nonproliferation, counter-proliferation and arms control experience at the national level to lead the agency in its mission to protect the United States and its allies from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and support a safe, secure and reliable deterrent." Carter added that Myers also brings experience with the Moscow and START treaties; export controls; the U.S. - India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act; and Cooperative Proliferation Detection, Interdiction Assistance, and Conventional Threat Reduction Act.

Myers most recently served as a senior professional staff member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In this position, he serves as the senior advisor to Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the committee's ranking member, on European, former Soviet and Central Asian Affairs, and the Caucasus. He joined the committee in 2003.

Myers earned his bachelors degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a masters degree from the Catholic University of America.

DTRA is a Department of Defense combat support agency with an annual budget of more than $2.8 billion and a military/civilian workforce of approximately 1,900. DTRA focuses on reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction through a combination of advanced technology programs and innovative operational methods. Several technologies developed at DTRA have made significant impact in Afghanistan and Iraq. DTRA also has an integral role in several international WMD-related treaty verification programs.

DTRA headquarters is located at Fort Belvoir, Va. The agency operates field offices in Alexandria, Va.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and San Francisco, Calif. Overseas locations include Darmstadt, Germany; London, United Kingdom; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Moscow and Votkinsk, Russia; Kiev, Ukraine; and Yokota, Japan.

Military Prepares for Varied Threats, Official Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

July 28, 2009 - The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review now under development envisions a U.S. military with the wherewithal to confront current threats such as al-Qaida as well as having the capacity to meet future security challenges, a senior Defense Department official said here today. The future security environment "is going to be more challenging" and will "involve a mix of adversaries," David Ochmanek, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force development, told reporters attending a Defense Writers Group breakfast. Ochmanek is heavily involved in the development of the 2010 review.

The congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review is conducted by the Pentagon every four years to assess the threats and challenges faced by the United States and to rebalance the Defense Department's strategies, capabilities and forces necessary to confront today's conflicts and predicted future security challenges, according to a Defense Department fact sheet.

"There is still a lot of deliberation going on," Ochmanek said, regarding the ultimate capacity of U.S. forces envisioned in the 2010 review, which is due to Congress by February.

Ochmanek said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has "explicitly" acknowledged throughout the process that the United States has important security interests in multiple regions of the world, and therefore needs to retain the capacity and capability to project power to defend those interests.

"So, there's very much a desire to keep something like a 'two-war' or multi-engagement capacity in the force," Ochmanek said, noting that he envisions a U.S. military with the necessary force structure to conduct possible wars simultaneously on the Korean peninsula and against Iran.

Gates also believes that the United States requires flexible forces that can engage in the full spectrum of plausible challenges offered by potential foes, Ochmanek said.

U.S. forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq now are battling radical extremists, Ochmanek said, while future threats could involve enemies that employ hybrid warfare -- a mix of irregular and conventional tactics and weaponry. For example, the fighting that occurred in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006 pitted Israeli troops against Hezbollah terrorists who used improvised explosive devices as well as state-of-the art anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles.

Ochmanek also observed that the existence of North Korean and Iranian ballistic missiles and those countries' nuclear arms programs present new and different security challenges than what the United States faced during the Cold War.

However, the U.S. military will be prepared to meet those and future challenges, he said.

"We're going to field capabilities better suited to this uncomfortable, hybrid environment; we're going to have the capacity to do multiple things at once," Ochmanek said.

On Target Leadership

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

July 28, 2009 (San Dimas, CA) American Heroes Press announced that the co-author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style, Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.) will be a guest on the internet-based radio program BullsEye Leaders hosted by attorney David Porter, on September 1, 2009 at 3PM Central.

Date: September 1, 2009
Time: 3:00 PM Central Time
Listen Live:
http://www.bullseyeleaderradio.com

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Hosted by attorney David Porter, the President/Chief Creative Officer of
BullsEye Leadership, BEL Radio delivers high energy, cutting edge content for you to experience a revolutionary transformation in your business, profession or career. BEL Radio features guests from all arenas in the world of business. Sharing the common thread of success, and nuggets of wisdom to give you a leg up in the marketplace.

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

Following the Rabbit to War

As a kid growing up in one of the fog shrouded districts of San Francisco, I spent a lot of time by myself. Our two-story stucco house supported on each side by the adjoining homes had one great redeeming factor, a large back yard. It was there I spent many hours lost in a world of imagination and fantasy. There were creatures to be caught, princesses to save and wars to be fought. Like Alice following the rabbit through the woods, I was curious about war. My back yard battles consisted of taking a well-armed castle constructed of an abandoned deck of playing cards. It was surrounded by a watery moat, hand-dug in the soft dirt and guarded by my mixed collection of plastic G.I. figures. I would always wonder how they could shoot straight with those curved rifle barrels. Even my stepfather’s anger about the holes in the back yard did not deter me from staging battle after battle. I was preparing myself because I knew that one day I would be going to war. I even knew how I would act the very first time I was under fire and could hear the shells exploding around me. It was almost a calming realization that I would not be afraid. I was nine years old at that time.

Years later, walking alone down an airfield in Vietnam past a row of Huey helicopters tucked in for the night, I thought about those lost days of my youth. I had followed the mysterious rabbit, and true to the tale, I had encountered the realm of marvel and madness. Sights that to this day haunt me, visions of greatness and sacrifice that humble me.
Unlike Alice, there is no awaking from the dream, no relief in sanity, just the harsh reality of life-- plastic soldiers melt, card castles collapse and boys march off to war.
I discovered what drove the rabbit mad.

Senior Executive Service Appointments and Reassignments

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense senior executive service appointments and reassignments.

Appointments
Michele S. Jones has been appointed to the senior executive service and will be assigned as special assistant to the secretary of defense for White House liaison, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. Jones previously served with The Bones Theory Group, LLC, Jacksonville, Fla.

S. Veronica Richardson has been appointed to the senior executive service and will be assigned as deputy under secretary of defense (resource issues), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Washington, D.C. Richardson previously served as a volunteer with the Obama for America campaign in Virginia.

Nancy E. Boyda has been appointed to the senior executive service and will be assigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve manpower and personnel, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve affairs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Washington, D.C. Boyda previously served with the U.S. House of Representatives as a congresswoman from Kansas.

Regina E. Dugan has been appointed to the senior executive service and will be assigned as director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Washington, D.C. Dugan previously served with RedXDefense, Washington, D.C.

John R. Harvey has been appointed to the senior executive service and will be assigned as principal deputy to the assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Washington, D.C. Harvey previously served with the Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.

Reassignment
Gretchen Anderson is assigned as the director for revolving funds, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Washington, D.C. Anderson previously served as the associate director for defense-wide programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Washington, D.C.

Admiral Expects U.S.-China Military Talks to Resume Soon

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 28, 2009 - Plans are under way for the United States and China to take the first steps toward resuming their stalled military-to-military dialogue, possibly within the next couple months, the top U.S. officer in the region told reporters today. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, expressed optimism about the likelihood of a Military Marine Consultative Agreement session soon after participating yesterday in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hosted the two days of talks that continue today, called them "the beginning of an unprecedented effort to lay the foundation for a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-Chinese relationship for the 21st century."

Keating noted across-the-board interest, within both the U.S. and Chinese delegations, in resuming relations between the two countries' militaries as part of that broader effort.

The "unmistakable theme" of yesterday's talks was that both "want to continue to build upon the foundation of trust and mutual respect our two countries have, as manifest by military-to-military relations," he said.

Both President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao have made it clear they want the relations to resume, Keating said, so now it's only a matter of getting arrangements in place. "We have agreed to do it," he told reporters. "We are just working on the final details."

Plans are under way for the first meeting, a Military Marine Consultative Agreement session Keating said he expects to take place "in the very near future," probably in Beijing. Pinned down by reporters, he expressed hope the meeting occur "within a month or two."

After that session, Keating said, he looks forward to other opportunities for Chinese military officers to come to U.S. Pacific Command headquarters at Camp Smith, Hawaii, or to the Pentagon, and for senior U.S. military leaders to visit their counterparts in Beijing.

Keating said he'd like to see the military relationship extend to include humanitarian and disaster relief exercises, personnel exchanges, information-sharing on counterterrorism techniques and procedures and observation of bilateral and multilateral exercises.

A Chinese official noted during yesterday's session that "no country can develop sound policy if it tries to do so in isolation," Keating told reporters.

"I think that's a great way of expressing the sense all of us feel – the desire to get back together again and discuss exercises, discuss personnel exchanges, discuss responses to humanitarian assistance crises and the provision of disaster relief," he said.

Meanwhile, Keating called the Chinese military's plans to establish a new Web site Aug. 1 a positive step forward in promoting transparency and a better understanding of China's military intentions.

Mutual understanding of each other's intentions, along with a foundation of trust, are "critical to enhancing peace and stability all across Asia and the Pacific region," he said.

Face of Defense: Reservist Marks 40 Years of Service

By Army Staff Sgt. Lesley Waters
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 28, 2009 - Richard Nixon became the 37th president of the United States, gas cost 35 cents per gallon, the New York Mets won the World Series in five games over the Baltimore Orioles, and Catharine Zeta-Jones, Brett Favre, Renee Zellweger and Jennifer Aniston were born. The year was 1969. It was also the year Army Reserve Sgt. Maj. Samuel Stoner, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa's joint intelligence chief and senior enlisted advisor, was drafted into the military. Stoner said he never dreamed of making a career of the Army when he first got drafted.

"After serving my first two years on active duty, I just wanted to put the military behind me and get on with life," Stoner said. "Instead, I felt I had something more to offer my country and my fellow soldiers, so I decided to continue my first six-year obligation in the Army Reserve."

It wasn't until after the end of his six-year obligation in the reserves that he decided to make the Army a career.

"My plan was [to be promoted to] E-8 at 20 years and then punch," he said. "Here I am 40 years later; who would have ever thought? Now I am looking forward to kicking my feet up and laying back in my recliner at 'Fort Living Room, Pa.'"

The Chambersburg, Pa., native credits his long career to his first brigade command sergeant major at Fort Riley, Kan. Each time the command sergeant major saw Stoner, he would stop and say hello or ask how his day was going.

"Even though I was intimidated, ... I always respected him for his genuine concern for the soldiers and I thought, if given the chance, I would like to emulate that same sense of concern," Stoner said.

Stoner is neither the first nor the only person in his family to serve in the military. His father served in the Army during World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He also has a son who enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve and was mobilized during Operation Desert Storm.

"Even though my son didn't make the military a career like I did, just knowing he was willing to make the sacrifice makes me proud of him for the time he served his country," he said.

Stoner added that his older brother, Barry, a retired Army master sergeant, was – and still is – an inspiration.

"My brother has always been an inspiration and an example for me to follow throughout my military career," he said. "I have tried to call my family at least once a week since my deployment, but I've always made a special effort to call him just to get words of encouragement from him. He has been a true brother to me in every meaning of the word."

Stoner said he has seen quite a change in the military in his 40 years of service, especially in attitudes and professionalism from the Cold War and Vietnam War era to Desert Storm and the present day.

"The Vietnam War created a different kind of professional through the will to survive a war, unlike the wars the U.S. fought in past years," he said. "We fought a war with valor to come home with less than a hero's welcome."

Today's servicemembers, he added, have the advantage of technology that allows them to be better equipped and educated to meet the modern challenges. They also have more support on the home front, he said.

"Today, we find soldiers fighting on multiple fronts and returning home to welcome home ceremonies and cheering crowds across the entire country," Stoner said.

Though he's proud of his 40-year career, Stoner said, it hasn't been about him.

"To me, it has always been about taking care of soldiers," he said. "A true leader can never give enough of himself to a soldier who has given of himself so freely to his country."

Stoner received the Legion of Merit for his 40 years of service. After serving nearly a year here, he will return to his home unit in St. Louis before retiring to his home in Pennsylvania.

(Army Staff Sgt. Lesley Waters serves in the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa public affairs office.)

Utah Guard Enlists Help From 'A Few Good Goats'

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

July 28, 2009 - When it comes to fighting wildfires, most people immediately think of water or fire retardant dropped from helicopters and other aircraft, or soot-covered firefighters using hoses and foam to battle back towering blazes. Few people, however, think of goats as a firefighting tool, but goats are exactly what the Utah National Guard is using to lessen the potential of wildfires at this installation near Salt Lake City.

The Utah Guard has enlisted more than 1,200 goats and sheep to consume sagebrush and oak brush before this year's fire season, said Sean Hammond, manager of the Utah Guard's Integrated Training Area. Less brush means less fuel for wildfires, he explained.

But contrary to popular belief, goats won't eat everything.

"There are certain plants that they would just have to be starved to eat," said Doug Johnson, natural resources manager for the Utah Army National Guard. "But they'll eat a lot of our heavy fuels pretty readily, like the sagebrush and the oak brush. And they do a great job dealing with those fields."

The goats were first introduced in 1999 as an experiment in cooperation with Utah State University, Hammond said. Two years later during a massive wildfire that spread through the camp, the goats proved their worth.

"The 'goat firebreak' had only been constructed a very short distance," Hammond said, "but where it was constructed, the fire stopped, even when it jumped roads and other firebreaks."

In 2003, the goats were officially added to Camp Williams' fire prevention plan and were used to construct more firebreaks. The Utah Guard has steadily increased the length of those areas over the past six years, and currently has about 10 miles of goat-cleared firebreaks, Hammond said.

The value of the goats' efforts was proven again in 2006, when another major wildfire broke out on the camp.

"The fire was driven by winds approaching 20 mph into twin, bulldozed firebreaks," Hammond said. "The twin firebreaks held for between 10 and 15 minutes before the fire jumped the lines and raced uphill toward the camp's northern boundary."

At that point, pushed by nearly 40 mph winds, the blaze neared the top of the ridge, when it hit the area cleared by the goats.

"The fire line plowed into the goat firebreak and stopped," Hammond said. "Personnel on the ridge at the time ... remarked that had it not been for the goats, the fire would not have stopped at the ridgeline."

If the fire had not stopped there, Hammond explained, it most likely would have continued on to nearby housing developments.

The goats also have helped to clear Camp Williams of other unwanted items. In 2007, an unexploded artillery shell was found after the goats had cleared an area along the camp's artillery impact area. Suspected to have been fired during training in the mid-1980s, the round sat unnoticed in heavy brush before the goats got to it.

"They eat [just about] everything down to stubble," said Army Lt. Col. Hank McIntire, the state public affairs officer. "It makes it look like a wasteland. Once the area was cleared off by the goats, the round was easily seen."

A berm was built around the shell for safety, and an explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the shell with an explosive charge. The wildfires of the previous year had come within 200 meters of the shell, McIntire said.

The goats' success has strengthened ties with those who live near the camp, McIntire added. Plans are under way to increase the number of goat-built firebreaks. A planned extension is to be built along the western edge of the camp, and the Utah State Forestry and Fire Department will pick up the addition's cost, Hammond said.

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