Monday, August 03, 2009


Allen Engineering Contractor, Inc.*, San Bernardino, Calif., (N62473-09-D-1644); Granite Construction Co., Watsonville, Calif., (N62473-09-D-1645); Hal Hays Construction, Inc.*, Riverside, Calif., (N62473-09-D-1646); Kiewit Pacific Co. Vancouver, Wash., (N62473-09-D-1647); Reyes Construction, Inc., Pomona, Calif., (N62473-09-D-1648); Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., San Diego, Calif., (N62473-09-D-1649); Sundt Construction, Inc., Tempe, Ariz., (N62473-09-D-1650); T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc., San Diego, Calif., (N62473-09-D-1651), are each being awarded a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity multiple award construction contract for heavy horizontal and civil engineering construction at various locations within the NAVFAC Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). The work to be performed provides for the design, construction, supervision, equipment, materials, labor, and all means necessary to provide complete and usable facilities. The total contract amount for all eight contracts is not to exceed $500,000,000 for all contracts combined. Work will be performed in the Southwest AOR, including but not limited to California (80 percent), Arizona (12 percent), Nevada (5 percent), New Mexico (1 percent), Utah (1 percent), and Colorado (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed July 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 21 proposals received. These eight contractors may compete for future task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $76,000,000 modification to previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee firm-fixed-price, performance-based contract (N65236-05-D-7861) to provide engineering development, design, procurement, fabrication, configuration, installation, integration, logistics, maintenance, and life cycle support services for security, automation and law enforcement technology support. The cumulative value of this contract, including this modification, is $390,888,823. Work will be performed worldwide, and is expected to be completed by January 2010. This contract was competitively procured through the SPAWAR Systems Command E-commerce website, with four offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity.

PKL Services, Inc.*, Poway, Calif., is being awarded a $16,983,249 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00421-09-C-0023) to exercise an option for selected organizational level maintenance (reset) for U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W, UH-1N, CH-53D/E, and CH-46E aircraft. Work will be performed in Camp Pendleton, Calif., (30 percent); New River, N.C., (25 percent); Iraq/Afghanistan (22 percent); Miramar, Calif., (18 percent); and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $16,983,249 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

American Science and Engineering, Inc., Billerica, Mass., is being awarded an $11,500,000 firm-fixed-priced modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-06-C-5163) for the AS&E Z-BackScatter (ZBV) military trailer and the Z-BackScatter van (legacy ZBV) sustainment to include field service representatives support, maintenance, training, and warranty parts to the United States Marine Corps in the continental United States and outside the continental United States. Work will be performed in Afghanistan and Iraq (95.3 percent) and Twentynine Palms, Calif., (4.7 percent), and work is expected to be completed August 2010. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Pittsfield, Mass., is being awarded an $11,309,500 Undefinitized Contract Action (UCA) modification under previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00030-08-C-0041) for strategic systems programs alternations for the SSP shipboard integration program, specifically the development of the SSI Increment 2 shipboard data system and the SSI Increment 4 US Mod 8 and UK Mod 9 fire control systems. The contractor shall also perform the additional formal qualification testing required for the U.S. 944 fire control Software revision. This UCA is being processed in order to meet the lead boat installation schedule, which requires development of said requirements to begin immediately. Work will be performed in Pittsfield, Mass., and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $23,175 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $7,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for planned and growth supplemental work for the extended drydocking selected restricted availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The CVN 65 FY08 EDSRA is a ship depot availability of approximately 16-month duration. EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections and recoating, and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive repairs and testing than is possible during an extended selected restricted aAvailability. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by December 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $7,000,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $6,281,799 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-05-G-0001) to provide 3D modeling in support of the AH-1Z build new program, including associated technical data for the Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6,281,799 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Orlando Fla., was awarded a $30,300,000 contract for the purchase of sniper advanced targeting pods, in support of the foreign military sales customer, Morroco. At this time, $15,150,000 has been obligated. Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center/448 SCMG/PKHCB, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8522-09-C-0013).

Rockwell Collins, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Idaho was awarded a$20,234,414 modified contract to provide 81,622 defense advanced GPS receiver (DAGR) units and assorted accessories through the exercise of 30 corresponding options on the DAGR follow on contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. GPSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8807-09-C-0002).

Raytheon Co., Marlborough, Mass.. was awarded a $9,883,000 modified contract to the Digital Airport Surveillance Radar, a combined Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration activity to replace existing radar facilities at military and civilian airfields located worldwide. At this time, no funds have been obligated. 853rd ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (F19628-96-D-0038).

Alion Science and Technology Co., Chicago, Ill. was awarded a $6,292,579 contract for the Weapons Systems Technology Information Analysis Center to provide capability to monitor and improve systems operational effectiveness through the life cycle of weapon systems and equipment. At this time, $709,844 has been obligated. 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base is the contracting activity (SP0700-99-D-0301).

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind. was awarded on July 27, 2009 a $27,185,129 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 7,178 improved vehicle emergency escape (production) vehicle windshield kits for the high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle. Work is to be performed in South Bend, Ind. with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid solicited with one bid received. TACOM LCMC-Warren, Mich. is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

Lobar, Inc., Dillsburg, Pa., was awarded on July 30, 2009 a $17,269,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Center. Work is to be performed in Lewisburg, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Jun. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with seventeen (17) bids received. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0059).

Clark Construction Group, LLC, Bethesda, Md., was awarded on Jul. 30, 2009 a $7,498,000 firm-fixed-price task order for the recovery-AJXF 069112 construction of Air National Guard Readiness Center Operation Center at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Work is to be performed in Andrews Air Force Base, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 10, 2010. Twenty (20) bids were solicited, with three (3) bids received . National Guard Bureau-PARC-S, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., is the contracting activity (W90FYQ-07-D-0001).

B-Way Co., Atlanta, Ga., was awarded on July 30, 2009 a $6,057,544 firm-fixed-price contract for the re-procurement of the M2A1 metal ammunition container under the authority of FAR clause 52.249-8 default. Work is to be performed in Atlanta, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 30, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. Army Contracting Commands, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0030).

The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pa., was awarded on Jul. 28, 2009 a $108,815,000 firm-fixed-price contract for CH-47F multiyear contract for second year, production lot 7, option for five (5) each CH-47F new build aircraft. Work is to be performed in Ridley Park, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile, CCAM-CH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0098).

Eagle Applied Sciences, LLC, San Antonio, Texas was awarded on Jul. 28, 2009 a $8,453,254 Time & Materials, Commercial contract for the Army Warrior in Transition Program, with non-personal services by contract services providers to assist soldiers and their families with medical, travel, and any other issues. Work is to be performed in Fort Benning, Ga., (2.85 percent), Fort Bliss, Texas (2.07 percent), Fort Bragg, N.C., (3.54 percent), Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico (1.48p ercent), Fort Campbell, Ky., (3.05 percent), Fort Carson, Colo., (4.03percent), Fort Dix, N.J. (1.36 percent), Fort Drum, N.Y., (3.35 percent), Fort Eustis, Va., (1.25 percent), Fort Gordon, Ga., (2.07 percent), Fort Hood, Texas (5.31 percent), Fort Knox, Ky. (2.07 percent), Fort Lewis, Wash., (2.46 percent), Fort Sam Houston, Texas (28.40 percent), Fort Polk, L.A., (2.07 percent), Fort Stewart, Ga., (3.05 percent), Tripler Medial Center, Hawaii (2.48 percent), Walter Reed Medical Center, D.C., (5.03 percent), Fort Richardson, Ark., (1.31 percent), Fort Riley, Kan., (2.07 percent), Fort Sill, Okla., (1.09 percent), West Point, N.Y,. (1.68 percent), Fort Jackson, S.C., (1.09 percent), Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., (1.09 percent), Fort Wainwright, Ark., (1.31percent), Balboa Naval Hospital, San Diego, Calif., (1.56 percent), Fort Huachuca, Ariz., (1.29 percent), Fort Lee, Va., (1.25 percent), Fort Belvoir, Va., (1.68 percent), Landstuhl, Germany (1.96 percent), Vilseck, Germany (1.96 percent), Heidelberg, Germany (2.32 percent), and Vicenza, Italy (2.42 percent), with an estimated completion date of Aug. 7, 2010. One bid solicited with one received. U.S. Army Medical Command, Center for Health Care Contracting, Fort Sam Houston, Texas is the contracting activity (W81K04-08-D-0018).

Northrop Grumman, Orlando, Fla., was awarded Jul, 27, 2009 a $21,930,193 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the lightweight laser designator rangefinder field level reset. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2014. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command (RDECOM), Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0038).

IBM Corp., San Jose, Calif. was awarded on July 27, 2009 a $16,144,399 cost-no-fee contract. The SyNAPSE program seeks to break the programmable machine paradigm and define a new path forward for creating useful, intelligent machines. The vision for the anticipated Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Systems of neuromorphic adaptive plastic scalable electronics (SyNAPSE) program is the enabling of electronic neuromorphic machine technology that is scalable to biological levels. The SyNAPSE program will be an unprecedented multidisciplinary approach that can coordinate aggressive technology development activities in the following areas: 1) hardware; 2) architecture; 3) simulation; and 4) environment. Work is to be performed in San Jose, Calif., (78.2 percent), New York, N.Y., (2.5percent), Ithaca, N.Y., (2.8 percent), Merced, Calif., (1.3 percent), Madison, Wisc., (2 percent), and Stanford, Calif., (13.2 percent) with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with thirteen (13) bids received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Contracts Management Office, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-09-C-0002).

Kidde Technologies, Inc., Camino Goleta, Calif., was awarded on July 29, 2009 a $12,547,225 firm-fixed-price contract for 1,300 automatic fire extinguishing system kits for the armored security vehicle 10 AFES test kits. Work is to be performed in Wilson, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 31, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0577).

HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, Calif.,was awarded on Jul. 29, 2009 a $10,715,152 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System. Work is to be performed in Malibu, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Jul. 31, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-08-C-0264).

CORRECTION: Two contract announcements were made Friday, July 31, 2009, regarding Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) and Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., one listed under Navy and the other listed under Army. There is only one delivery order and there should have been only one announcement, as this is a joint program involving both the Army and the Department of the Navy (U.S. Marine Corps). Contract delivery order #0002 modification 02 awarded to Oshkosh Corp., under contract W56HZV-09-D-0111, should now reflect the finalized dollar amount as $1,063,713,518.00. The work is being completed in two locations, 34.7 percent in McConnellsburg, Pa., and 65.3 percent in Oshkosh, Wis.

New GI Bill Renews Commitment to Troops, Obama Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 3, 2009 - President Barack Obama today saluted the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill during a ceremony at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Signed into law on June 20, 2008, the new GI Bill is a Department of Veteran Affairs-sponsored program that provides the most comprehensive educational benefit package for veterans since the original GI Bill -- the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 -- was authorized toward the end of World War II.

Today's new GI Bill, Obama said, was implemented "to renew our commitment to ensure that the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America get the opportunities that they have earned."

Obama observed that his grandfather, who served under Army Gen. George S. Patton during World War II, was a beneficiary of the original 1944 to 1956 GI Bill, which helped to produce a strong post-war economy, as well as the largest middle class in U.S. history. By 1947, Obama noted, half of all Americans enrolled in colleges were military veterans.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is just as important as the original, Obama said, as it also recognizes servicemembers for their wartime service and represents "an investment in our own country."

Obama said the new program will provide today's veterans "the skills and training they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow."

"Education is the currency that can purchase success in the 21st century," the president said, "and this is the opportunity that our troops have earned."

With the Post-9/11 GI Bill, qualified active-duty and selected reserve servicemembers who have served after Sept. 10, 2001, are eligible for 36 months of state-school educational benefits -- the equivalent of four nine-month academic years. Benefits include tuition and fees that are paid directly to the school, a monthly living allowance paid to the participant, and a books and supplies stipend paid to the individual.

And as of Aug. 1, qualified career servicemembers have the option to transfer benefits to their spouses or children. Most servicemembers who have at least six years of military service and are in the armed forces on or after Aug. 1 and agree to serve an additional four years qualify to transfer their benefits.

"We are including the family members who have sacrificed so much by allowing the transfer of unused benefits to family members," Obama said. "And we are including those who pay the ultimate price by making this benefit available to the children of those who lost their life in service to their country."

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, who also spoke at the ceremony, exhorted Post-9/11 GI Bill participants to "make it count; make it count for all of us. Make it count for our country."

Shinseki observed that more than 1,100 private educational institutions have elected to participate in the supplemental Yellow Ribbon Program that permits eligible servicemembers and veterans to attend private colleges and universities whose costs exceed the highest in-state rates at public undergraduate institutions.

Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, VA "will match whatever is contributed by those private colleges and universities, up to 50 percent of those total costs," Shinseki said. "We are grateful that so many schools have joined this effort and we thank them for their support of our veterans."

Former Marine Staff Sgt. James Miller, an Iraqi war veteran who introduced Obama at the ceremony, is taking Shinseki's advice. Miller has enrolled as a full-time student at George Mason University under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in business communications.

"Thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the young veterans of the wars in the Middle East are united here," Miller said. "We have come to gain new skills and to learn new subjects. We are here to pursue educational goals that will prepare us for success in our professional careers."

Navy Announces Decision On Undersea Warfare Training Range

The Department of the Navy announced today that it will locate an undersea warfare training range (USWTR) in the Jacksonville, Fla. operating area. BJ Penn, assistant secretary of the Navy for installations and environment, signed the record of decision (ROD), which follows consultation with federal regulators and the completion of an overseas environmental impact statement/environmental impact statement (OEIS/EIS) in June.

While the Navy's OEIS/EIS thoroughly analyzed both installation and use of the USWTR for training, the Navy has decided to implement only a portion of the proposed action, installation of the USWTR. Because use of the USWTR for training is not anticipated to occur until at least 2014, due to its construction, the department will update the analysis contained in the OEIS/EIS and its consultations with federal agencies during that period. Decisions regarding the use of the USWTR will be conducted closer in time to the date when training will begin.

Installation consists of the range's planning, design, and construction. When completed, the USWTR will cover an approximately 500-square-nautical mile area within the waterspace commonly referred as the Jacksonville OPAREA, where a variety of Navy training already occurs. The USWTR location is well outside the areas designated as critical habitat for the North Atlantic right whale.

The USWTR's instrumentation will gather real-time data that will enable the Navy to analyze and improve their anti-submarine warfare training scenarios, tactics, and procedures. The range's location will provide ships, submarines, and aircraft with a realistic and challenging littoral training environment that mirrors the areas in which the Navy finds itself increasingly operating.

"The Department of the Navy is committed to protecting the ocean while maintaining readiness in this critical mission area," explained Donald Schregardus, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for environment. "This decision satisfies both of these vitally important objectives."

The department's decision conforms to the process outlined in the National Environmental Protection Act and Executive Order 12114, which require analysis of the environmental consequences of federal actions such as the USWTR construction. Throughout the USWTR environmental impact analysis, Navy planners and scientists worked closely with federal regulators from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The ROD document, as well as the EIS and other supporting documentation, are available at For further information related to this release, contact Navy Public Affairs at (703) 697-5342.

Face of Defense: NCO Tackles Tough Job to Protect Soldiers

By Renita Foster
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 3, 2009 - Army Sgt. 1st Class Debra Tanacea was eager to begin her first deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She had been wearing the Army uniform for 16 years, she said, and felt more than ready to accept the challenge of serving in a hostile environment. But after learning the requirements of one particular project, she wasn't sure it was a mission she could accomplish.

Her job was to collect personal protective equipment, or PPE, damaged by improvised explosive devices for forensic testing so that it could be improved. But it was the method that she would have to use, and the soldiers and units she would have to retrieve the equipment from, that overwhelmed her, she said.

Tenacea was, at the time, a member of the Field Assistance in Science and Technology team, sponsored by the Army's Research Development and Engineering Command.

"The unit consists mostly of civilians who are engineers, computer scientists, analysts and researchers," she explained. "And to get the kind of items the laboratory needed for testing would obviously have to come directly from the combat arms units.

"I knew this would require nothing short of tremendous understanding and compassion, because you're talking about soldiers whose PPE had become unserviceable after an enemy confrontation, resulting in personal injury," she said.

As a servicemember, she had come to understand the importance soldiers attach to personal field gear. It literally is an extension of themselves -- as much a part of them as their skin.

"It's also important to understand soldiers know they are personally and financially accountable for all gear they are issued; therefore, they look out for each other," Tanacea said.

For example, if soldiers are wounded and must be medically evacuated from an area, their battle buddies secure their equipment and make sure it gets back to base camp, where it is either held for the servicemember or destroyed, she said.

"That decision is based on the gear's condition and serviceability," Tenacea said. "All soldiers live with their equipment 24/7."

Requesting personal gear that had been damaged and soiled by explosives and firefights from a unit's wounded was a tall order -- one that Tanacea said she knew would have to be handled delicately.

Relying on her experience as a soldier, Tanacea visited several company commanders and first sergeants to explain the need to collect damaged PPE, and how her doing so would increase survival rates for soldiers assigned to hostile areas.

"As distasteful as it might have initially seemed, units we contacted came to understand our efforts were for their benefit, and they became comfortable with turning over damaged equipment to us," Tanacea said. "At times, it could be devastating for the unit as well as for us, but they realized that their cooperation, for the sake of research and development, was to their benefit, and they recognized the project's value and worth for better future equipment."

Tanacea's persistent collection quest resulted in 20 PPE items of various types. Carefully boxed, they then were shipped for forensic analysis. Testing provided crucial information -- such as how the pieces were damaged -- which in turn led to adjustments in how PPE could provide better defense.

Tanacea has deployed three more times in four years since that first mission, and she has witnessed firsthand significant improvements in PPE, such as improved neck shields and better shoulder and side protection in the body armor, as well as improvements to the new advanced combat helmet.

"I know that what I did was key to the scientists and engineers being able to make the redesigns and improvements to the PPE we have today," Tanacea said. "As painful as it was at the time, I felt I had to do it. I got depressed and upset occasionally, as it was very emotionally consuming, but I had to work through that because I knew this project would have a direct, immediate impact on whether a soldier lived or died.

"And I'd do it again, because I was helping the soldiers out there who are risking their lives every day," she continued. "I never knew I'd be so fortunate to have a mission that would make such a profound contribution to the Army."

(Renita Foster works in the Fort Monmouth, N.J., public affairs office.)

First Lady Welcomes Sailors Home, Thanks Families

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Gina Wollman
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 31, 2009 - First lady Michelle Obama welcomed home the crews of two Navy ships and expressed her support for their families while speaking to more than 500 servicemembers at Naval Station Norfolk here today. Obama commended the crews of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the hospital ship USNS Comfort for a job well done. Eisenhower had been deployed to the Persian Gulf, and Comfort to Central and South America.

"I am delighted to be here in Norfolk today to welcome home so many heroes," the first lady said. "This is a happy day for the community of Norfolk and families of these brave men and women. We are standing here among heroes -- military, civilian, American and foreign."

Obama expressed her gratitude for all that has been accomplished by the military and for Comfort's civic and humanitarian-aid mission. She also acknowledged Eisenhower's contributions to maritime security.

"The Comfort embodies our values by changing lives around the world," she said. "The Eisenhower defends our values in the world's most dangerous places.

"To the nearly 6,000 sailors who deployed with the Eisenhower Strike Group to Afghanistan and the Middle East and are now returning to their homeports, we thank you for your service," she continued. "Each of you have courageously served our country and demonstrated your commitment to uphold America's highest ideas."

Obama also acknowledged the importance of military families' support.

"We must all remember that when our troops are deployed, their families are left behind and faced with an entirely different set of duties -- mothers who tuck their kids in at night and struggle to answer the question, 'When's daddy coming home?;' fathers who wonder how they are going to keep their families together while they juggle ballet recitals, homework and mowing the lawn, all while their wives are serving their country abroad," she said, "and spouses and parents caring for a wounded warrior or struggling to move forward after losing a loved one."

The first lady has traveled throughout the world to thank servicemembers for their commitment to the nation.

"I have seen the sacrifices [of] our military families up close. They are the quiet heroes who represent the best in our country," she said.

(Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Gina Wollman serves with the Navy Public Affairs Support Element East.)

Officials Identify Gulf War Pilot's Remains

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 2, 2009 - Remains found last month in Iraq's Anbar province are those of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, who was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet on Jan. 17, 1991, and whose fate until now had been uncertain, Defense Department officials reported today. Acting on information provided by Iraqi civilians, Marines stationed in Anbar province went to a desert location believed to be the crash site of Speicher's jet, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology positively identified remains recovered there Speicher's.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Speicher's family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said. "I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Captain Speicher home."

The Navy's top uniformed officer also praised the effort to determine Speicher's fate and expressed gratitude for the fallen aviator's sacrifice. "Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be," said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. "We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us."

In early July, an Iraqi civilian told Marines he knew twotwo people who recalled an American jet crashing and the remains of the pilot being buried. One of those people said he was present when Bedouins found Speicher dead and buried his remains. The Iraqis led Marines to the site, and the Marines searched the area. Remains were recovered over several days during the past week and were flown to Dover Air Force Base, Del., for scientific identification by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

The recovered remains include bones and skeletal fragments. Positive identification was made by comparing Speicher's dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth are a match, both visually and radiographically, officials said.

While dental records have confirmed the remains to be Speicher's, officials said, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology DNA Lab in Rockville, Md., is running DNA tests on the remains and comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by his family. Results are expected tomorrow.

(From a Defense Department news release.)