Friday, September 11, 2009

Naturalization Ceremony Honors New Uniformed Citizens

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 10, 2009 - Marine Sgt. Tikonblah Dargbeh is like the tens of thousands of other troops who have served in Iraq as a U.S. military member, save for one major distinction: until today, Dargbeh was not American. But his national status changed when Dargbeh, a native of Liberia, and 30 other foreign-born U.S. military members officially became American citizens today at a naturalization ceremony at the Pentagon.

"Represented here are immigrants from 20 different nations, on five continents," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the crowd gathered in the building's center courtyard. "It is one of the true glories of our country that, when it comes to being an American, you don't have to be a descendant of the founders or the colonists who came over on the Mayflower."

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 50,000 men and women have become citizens while wearing the uniform of the U.S. military, said Gates, adding that more than a hundred of these newly-naturalized citizens have died in action.

Gates called it fitting that in accordance with a 2002 executive order, immigrants who serve on active duty become immediately eligible for U.S. citizenship, which often represents an expedited path for foreign-born servicemembers to become Americans.

"This nation that welcomes you with warmth and with pride is very much in your debt, because you have shown your love for this country in the most honorable way possible," he said. "So on behalf of the Department of Defense, I thank you for defending the people of the United States – your people – and the 'self-evident truths' which they hold so dear."

Gates' fellow cabinet member Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security, led the group in reciting the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.

In various accents of English, the immigrants repeated each clause of the oath. Together, they renounced "fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty," vowed to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the nation's laws, promised to serve at the will of the nation, and pledged they were assuming their duties "without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion."

The servicemembers represent the 20 countries of Bangladesh, China, Ecuador,
Ghana, Haiti, India, Iran, Jamaica, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal,
Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the
United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

None better illustrates the idea of sacrifice on behalf of the United States than Dargbeh. The Liberian native, whose father instilled in him the belief that America represented greater opportunity to excel, enlisted in the Marines and twice deployed to Iraq.

During his tour in Karmah, Iraq, in 2007, Dargbeh and his Marine unit prepared for a nearby mission. Dargbeh, a machine gunner, sat in the back of a 7-ton Mac armored vehicle, clutching his weapon.

Moments later, the vehicle was rear-ended by a car packed with explosives.

"We were going to go do a raid at another village. I was trying to put my weapon from 'safety' to 'semi-automatic' and that's the last thing I remember," Dargbeh said. "The next thing I know, I was at a medical facility."

As a result, Dargbeh received a Purple Heart for suffering injuries at the hands of an enemy on behalf of the United States – a country that wasn't even his own at the time. When asked if he feels his military service has helped him earn his U.S. citizenship, he replied, "I think so, yes."

"I understand what it means to give selfless service [to the U.S.]," he said.

After the ceremony, Dargbeh's exuberant family showered the Marine with praise and posed next to him in photographs.

"I'm overjoyed," said the Marine's mother, Marta. "As a little kid, he had always loved the military, so this is a dream come true for him to be able to get into the Marines and here he is a U.S. citizen. It's a really big occasion for us. We are very proud of him."

Another servicemember whose dream of becoming an American came after deployment with the U.S. military was Army Sgt. Maria Ceron.

In addition to defending a nation that she couldn't yet call her own, Ceron, who served as a nurse in the Combat Support Hospital in Mosul, received two Army Commendation Medals.

"It's a very happy day," she said of today's ceremony. "I've been trying to get my citizenship for three years and finally it's come today and it's so great it's here. I'm just very excited about it."

Gates Encourages Civilian Leaders to Gain Appreciation for Troops

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates welcomed a group of 50 civilian community leaders, scholars and professionals to the Pentagon here today as they begin a seven-day tour of America's armed forces in Central and South America. The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference participants are scheduled to tour military sites in the U.S. Southern Command's sector of the world. The group will spend time in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Columbia, Panama and Miami, Fl., where they'll meet with U.S. servicemembers and learn first-hand about military capabilities, equipment and training.

"Our goal is to give all of you, who are influential members of your communities, an up-close look and personal experience with our military, our mission, our methods and our people," Gates said.

Gates encouraged the group to focus their attention on the individual servicemembers to learn their personal counts of dedication, heroism and selfless service. He declared today's all-volunteer military the best the country has to offer. Every man and woman in the military today enlisted and re-enlisted voluntarily, knowing that it was very likely they'd deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, he said.

"I hope you have the opportunity to talk to as many of these kids as you possibly can and discover just how extraordinary they are," he said. "I believe they are the best the country has to offer, and their mission is vital to our national security."

The group was interested in Gates' perception of today's potential national security threats. He acknowledged that potential threat are apparent in various regions of the world as he took their. Mainly, he conceded that continued partnerships with Middle Eastern countries and the continued development of unmanned aerial systems are increasingly vital to U.S.

He explained his perception of China as a threat and why stability in Pakistan is among his biggest concerns. Iran, he said, is the world's biggest long-term threat.

China has the potential to be an enemy, he said, but they're not. The country is an important economic partner with the U.S., and they share many areas of common interest.

"China is not an enemy or an adversary, but we can make them into one, and they can make them selves into one," he said, noting their military capabilities and increasing developments in cyber warfare.

Gates acknowledged that if conflict between the U.S. and China ever developed, it would be on a cyber and space battle field. "They're not going to come at us and match us ship for ship, plane for plane, tank for tank. That's not the way it would work."
"They're working very hard on anti-satellite capabilities, because they know our dependence on space for communications, intelligence, command and control," he said. "They're developing capabilities that if there ever were a conflict with us could be a real problem."

Despite China's advances, they lack strategic clarity, he said, but noted the U.S. Defense Department is equally involved in counter measures of its own.

Gates told the group he worries about Pakistan and Iran more than any two countries. He's grown increasingly encouraged by Pakistan's partnership and the involvement of its military against the Taliban along the country's border with Afghanistan.

"The actions of the Pakistani army are very encouraging, and what's even more encouraging is the political consensus that's developed in support of their operations," he said. "Pakistan is still a very fragile country, but I've been very encouraged by them over the past few months."

Iran, however, is one of the toughest problems the world has faced in a long time, he said. Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons could possibly spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and an even more aggressive Iranian government. Still, military efforts against to quell their progression isn't the answer. Continued negotiations are the best method, he said.

"There's a lot of talk about a military effort to take out their nuclear capabilities, but it's in my view that it would only be a temporary solution," Gates said. "You could buy one to three years by doing that, but they would simply go deeper and more covert, and it would unify the country and their commitment."

Gates added that the only long-term solution is to persuade the Iranian government that "their long-term security interest are diminished by having nuclear weapons, rather than enhanced."

The group was also interested in the U.S. exit strategies for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates noted that the timeline has already been set in Iraq, and that continued progress by its security forces and government could lead to a draw down of forces sooner than anticipated. But he explained that according to the current agreement between the two governments that the U.S. be completely withdrawn by Dec.31, 2011.

In Afghanistan, forces are making similar progress, he said. Continued growth of the Afghan army and security forces is key to ending the war there as well. He added that the Defense Department and White House owe the American people a progress report in a year, and if the administration isn't content, they'll develop a new approach.

"Our exit strategy in Afghanistan is exactly the same as our exact strategy in Iraq," he said. "And that is building the capacity of the Afghans in the security arena, so they can keep al-Qaida and other extremist out of there territory or keep them under control in the way most other countries do.

"As we train up their forces, they will take more and more of the lead, then we will recede into the background and then we will leave all together, and this is pretty much the scenario we used in Iraq."

Gates said he expects the groups' trip to be exhausting and exhilarating. And despite the security threats and economic issues in the world, he hopes the group understands and broadens their appreciations for the servicemembers behind the scenes and on the front lines of all the issue the group addressed.

"I'm sure many of you know men and women in uniform," the secretary said. "But I think this week will give you a different perspective on what they do in the field day in and day out, and above all, the awesome responsibilities they have at a very young age."

JCOC is sponsored by the Defense Department for civilian public leaders to grow their knowledge of the military and national defense issues. James V. Forrestal, the first U.S. defense secretary, started JCOC, the oldest Pentagon outreach program, started in 1948.
Participants attend briefings by military officials and observe training to enhance their understanding of the military's mission, its personnel, facilities, equipment and programs. The program rotates among the U.S. combatant commands to showcase operations around the world.

JCOC participants are selected from hundreds of candidates nominated by military commands worldwide, and they pay their own expenses throughout the conference.

MILITARY CONTRACTS September 11, 2009

Boeing Global Services and Support, San Antonio, Texas was awarded a $150,285,090 contract for Programmed Depot Maintenance, Unprogrammed Depot Level Maintenance, and modifications installations on C/KC-135 series aircraft. At this time, no money has been obligated. 827 ASG, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8105-05-D-0004, P00028).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $31,088,237 contract for T-38 aircraft wing assemblies. At this time, $23,316,176 has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKAB, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity (FA8218-07-C-0009, P00007).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Eagan Minn., was awarded a $28,123,449 contract for Command and Control System to be installed at Ali Air Base, Iraq. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 350ESG/PK, Hanscom, Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8706-09-C-0004).

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., of Herndon, Va., was awarded a $25,075,697 contract to provide Technical Area Task to provide National Security Agency with analysis for unique, innovative Information Assurance solutions to enhance the security protections for information technology infrastructure. At this time, $5,051,208 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, DO 0383).

Logos Technologies, Inc. of Arlington, Va., was awarded a $20,272,807 contract to provide research, design and development of advanced tools, methodologies and capabilities to support current and future computer network defense and exploitation challenges. At this time, $200,000 has been obligated. AFRL/RIKD, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-09-C-0215).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., of Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,322,045 contract which will provide defense against attacks on networks and intelligence information systems. At this time, $3,593,682 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, DO:0384).

Pratt and Whitney Military Aftermarket Services, Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a $15,276,926 contract to provide overhaul of core modules, applicable to F-100/229, F15 & F16 aircraft. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 448SCMB/PKBB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8104-04-D-0004-0146).

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., of Herndon, Va., was awarded a $13,516,202 contract to provide encryption, access control, authentication and intrusion detection mechanisms that enhance secure information sharing capabilities between the National Security Agency and its Intelligence Community customers. At this time, $59,829 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002; DO:0385).

Alion Science and Technology Corp., of Chicago, Ill., was awarded a $9,301,885 contract to provide research conducted to promote the development of reusable tools and data to enable the integration of modeling and simulation capabilities. At this time $853,140 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300, DO:0230).

ITT Corp., Clifton, N.J., has been awarded a $8,406,806 contract to provide AN/ALQ-172 Software Block Cycle Support & Enhancement Maintenance Test Set. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 542 CBSG/PKS, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8523-09-G-0001,0001).

Straub Construction, Inc., Fallbrook, Calif., is being awarded $16,684,867 for firm-fixed price task order #0006 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8616) for the design and construction of Human Resource Service Center (HRSC) at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, Calif. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a new multi-story consolidated administration facility that will provide administrative space, legal services spaces, waiting areas, file storage, lounges, computer network room, conference and training rooms. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif, and is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Six proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Hi-Shear Technology Corp.*, Torrance, Calif., is being awarded a $13,451,525 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the MK 58 Mod 1 Acoustic Firing Device. Work will be performed in Torrance, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $256,875 of the contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with two proposals solicited and two offers were received via FedBizOpps and the NSWC Crane Web site. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-09-D-JM27).

Shiel Sexton Co., Inc., Charlotte, N.C., is being awarded a $13,413,540 firm-fixed-price construction contract for the design and construction of two Child Development Centers at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for the construction of two reinforced buildings. Construction will include kitchen and laundry areas, classrooms, offices, toilets, storage spaces, and dedicated Navy Marine Corps Intranet telecommunication rooms. Built-in equipment includes miscellaneous playground equipment and a fire pump. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with 41 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-3222).

Energy Matter Conversion Corp., (EMC2)*, Santa Fe, N.M., is being awarded a $7,855,504 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research, analysis, development, and testing in support of the Plan Plasma Fusion (Polywell) Project. Efforts under this Recovery Act award will validate the basic physics of the plasma fusion (polywell) concept, as well as provide the Navy with data for potential applications of polywell fusion. Work will be performed in Santa Fe, N.M., and is expected to be completed in April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-C-0125).

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is being awarded a $7,382,503 modification (P00008) under previously awarded firm-fixed-price with cost-reimbursable line items contract (N00604-08-C-0002) to exercise option two for operation and maintenance support for facilities operating under Naval Computer & Telecommunications Area Master Station Hawaii. Work will be performed in Hawaii, and work is to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web site, with three offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Central Texas College, Killeen, Texas, is being awarded $7,176,381 for indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract to provide instructor led courses for Sailors assigned to sea-duty. This contract consists of one base year and four one-year options which, if exercised, bring the total estimated value of the contract to $39,500,614. Work will be performed onboard various Navy ships (50 percent); Pensacola and Mayport, Fla., (15 percent); San Diego, Calif., (15 percent); Norfolk, Va., (5 percent); Groton, Conn., (5 percent); Bremerton, Wash., (5 percent); and Yokosuka, Japan, (5 percent), and work is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with one offer received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk Detachment Philadelphia is the contracting activity (N00189-09-D-Z059).

Chugach Government Services Inc.*, Anchorage Alaska, is being awarded $7,164,754 for firm-fixed-price task order #0016 under a multiple award service contract, for the demolition of buildings and structures to facilitate environmental restoration at Naval Security Group Activity Skaggs Island, Sonoma, Calif. Upon completion of work, the facility will be turned over to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife conservation. Work will be performed at Sonoma, Calif., and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-08-D-0507).

Rome Research Corp., Rome, N.Y., is being awarded a $7,125,463 modification (P00010) under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price with cost-reimbursable line items contract (N00604-08-C-0001) to exercise option two for operation and maintenance support for facilities operating under Naval Computer & Telecommunications Station Guam. Work will be performed in Guam, and work is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with three offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

ENVIRO AgScience, Inc.*, Columbia, S.C., is being awarded a $6,543,200 firm-fixed price contract for construction of an addition to the existing fitness center at Shaw Air Force Base. Work will be performed in Sumter, S.C., and is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively negotiated via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with eight proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-09-C-1768).

Detyens Shipyards, Inc., Charleston, S.C., is being awarded a $6,235,225 firm-fixed-price contract for a 56-calendar-day regular overhaul shipyard availability of Military Sealift Fleet Support Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn. The ship's primary mission is to provide fuel to U.S. Navy ships at sea and jet fuel to aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. This shipyard availability is primarily for ship maintenance and overhaul, including preservation of ballast tanks, preservation of tank deck overhead, preservation of potable water tanks and main engine turbo charger overhaul. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $7,284,625. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., and is expected to be completed by December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with three offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Fleet Support Command, a field activity of Military Sealift Command, is the contracting authority (N40442-09-C-1031).

Cherokee General*, Federal Way, Wash., is being awarded $5,724,265 for firm-fixed price task order #0008 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N44255-08-D-3016) to repair the Reserve Training Building at Naval Operational Support Center, Portland, Ore. The work to be performed provides for all labor, materials, equipment, and associated costs to modernize, refurbish, and upgrade the center. Work will be performed in Portland, Ore., and is expected to be completed by November 2010. American Recovery and Reinvestment Acts funds are provided. Contract funds will not expire at the end of this fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest, Silverdale, Wash., is the contracting activity.

Burlington Apparel Fabrics, Greensboro, N.C., is being awarded a maximum $29,755,200 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for army service uniforms. Other locations of performance are in Raeford and Cordova, N.C. Using service is Army. This proposal was originally Web solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the first option year. The date of performance completion is Aug. 23, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-09-D-0045).

Skytronics Incorporated*, El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $6,322,715 firm fixed price contract for actuates A/C stabilizer trim mechanism. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is the Air Force. There was one proposal originally solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sept. 10, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Okla., (SPRTA1-09-D-0055).

Science Applications International Corp., Fairfield, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $9,765,873 firm fixed price, sole source contract for axle assembly. Other locations of performance are Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and France. Using service is the Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 7, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Warren (DSCC-ZG), Mich., (SPRDL1-09-C-0132).

L-3 Communications Geneva Aerospace of Carrollton, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $250,000,000, one year with four option year periods, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the Expeditionary Unmanned Aircraft System in support of U.S. Special Operations Command Program Executive Office - Fixed Wing. The contract minimum is $5,000,000 which will be met at contract award with issuance of the first delivery order for $6,612,100. The work will be performed primarily in Carrollton, and is for one year from the date of contract award. This contract was awarded through full and open competition. The contract number is H92222-09-D-0051.

Air Force Strengthens Nuclear Deterrence Operations

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - New initiatives underway within the Air Force to consolidate commands, modernize systems and strengthen personnel emphasize nuclear security. "Nuclear deterrence underpins all of our freedom of movement everywhere," Maj. Gen. Donald Alston, the service's assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration told bloggers and online journalists yesterday during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

More than a decade ago, the strategic focus of the Defense Department turned to conventional forces and, more recently, to expeditionary operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Alston said.

"I think we took active measures to reduce emphasis on nuclear because there was an opportunity that seemed to be present there in the early 90's, that you could take it off the front burner because the Cold War was over," he said.

However, the geopolitical situation has become complicated in ways that were unforeseen in the 1990s, Alston said.

"All the other countries in the world that have nuclear programs have active nuclear weapons development capacity and programs with one notable exception, and that would be the United States," he said.

The growth of the number of states that have or are developing nuclear weapons has prompted changes, Alston said, including the creation of the Global Strike Command, which stood up on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., last month.

"This was principally (done) to put in one command, with one commander, responsibility for nuclear operational forces; for one commander to set conditions, expectations and impact a culture," he said.

The Air Force also has revamped its education programs by reviewing and updating training courses. Alston also is working on a personnel plan to increase expertise that will help sustain the nuclear security mission. Another initiative fortifies the inspection process, he said.

"We've improved the quality of our inspectors by having common training for all nuclear surety inspectors," the general said. "We have a certification program for all the inspectors, and we have a core team of 20 guys that accompany every inspection team." The teams aim to bring consistency of interpretations and an even application of standards, he said.

Alston emphasized that the Air Force already has high standards that new programs serve to enforce the mission of deterrence for the future.

"We are doing this to ensure that those who are (asking themselves) on some regular basis, 'Is today the time that we should challenge the United States?'- that the answer continues to be, 'Not today,'" he said.

Alston added that the level of focus on the Air Force nuclear program has probably never been greater than it is today.

(Judith Snyderman works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

First Lady, Dr. Biden Ask Americans to Support Military Families

Special to American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appear in a new Entertainment Industry Foundation public service announcement that praises the contributions of military servicemen and women while asking Americans to assist veterans and military families who need help. The PSA is scheduled to premiere in Major League Baseball stadiums across the country today as part of its Welcome Back Veterans initiative, and will air on major broadcast networks starting this fall.

The PSA is the first in a series created by EIF as part of its newly launched "I Participate" initiative designed to inspire a new era of volunteerism and community work in America. As a centerpiece of this multiyear campaign, the major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC – and others will include the theme of service in programming in more than 60 shows for the full week of October 19 -25.

"I've made it a personal priority to ask all Americans to join me in the cause of supporting our military families," said Obama. "We must all remember that when our troops are deployed, their families are left behind with a completely different set of duties.

"Let us make a pledge to honor their service and their sacrifice by doing more to serve them in our own communities," she said. "Whether it's just being a good neighbor or it's volunteering at a local organization that supports military families, please join us in taking the time to honor those who sacrifice for all of us."

"As the mother of a National Guardsman who is serving in Iraq, this is personal," said Biden. "I share the concerns, the anxieties, and the pride that come with being a member of a military family, and I have also seen first-hand what a difference it makes when people reach out to show support, whether in school, in the neighborhood, or in the workplace. Each of us has the power to make a difference in the life of a service member or his or her family."

In April, President Obama signed the bi-partisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and reauthorizes the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Federal agency that oversees the Administration's call to service. The bill also represents the largest expansion of federal support for service in history, bringing critical new resources to national service programs, volunteer management efforts and social innovation.

Each of EIF's PSAs will highlight one of five key areas where volunteers are needed most: support for military families; wellness; community health; financial security; and environmental conservation; all were directed by Jesse Dylan.

The PSAs include information about which is designed to make it easy for people to search for volunteer opportunities in their communities and discover new ways to give back. The website features include calendars of events, maps, digital tool kits and uses the power of social networking vehicles like Facebook, making it easy for people to join the movement and recruit friends. Information about the programs can also be found at and

"With the collective impact of the parties involved in "I Participate", we are confident this important initiative will make a significant impact on the country," said Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer and veteran. "Welcome Back Veterans has been an important program for Major League Baseball over the last two seasons and by becoming a major part of "I Participate", we expect to be able to significantly increase our ability to address the post traumatic stress needs of veterans and their families."

The number of Americans who volunteer regularly has not increased in 40 years and has generally remained around 26%, according to an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While volunteerism usually declines during periods of economic distress, volunteerism is currently on the rise in America, particularly among young people, according to the CNCS.

"As an industry of storytellers who shape popular culture through film, television and music, we have a unique opportunity to bring service to the fore of American consciousness," said Lisa Paulsen, President and CEO of EIF. "We are so honored to have Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden appear in this important PSA about how we can assist our military men and women and their families."

National Security Archives

Previously Classified Interviews with Former Soviet Officials Reveal U.S. Strategic Intelligence Failure Over Decades

1995 Contractor Study Finds that U.S. Analysts Exaggerated Soviet Aggressiveness and Understated Moscow's Fears of a U.S. First Strike

For more information contact:
William Burr - 202/994-7032

September 11, 2009 - During a 1972 command post exercise, according to top Soviet generals interviewed by Pentagon contractors at the end of the Cold War, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev "trembled" when he was asked to push a launch button, asking Soviet defense minister Grechko "this is definitely an exercise?" During the excercise, leaders of the Kremlin listened to a briefing on the results of a hypothetical war with the United States, in which a U.S. attack killed 80 million Soviet citizens and destroyed 85 percent of the country's industrial capacity.

This story appears in a recently declassified two-volume study on Soviet Intentions, 1965-1985, prepared in 1995 by the Pentagon contractor BDM Corporation, and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive. Based on an extraordinarily revealing series of interviews with former senior Soviet defense officials -- "unhappy Cold Warriors" -- during the final days of the Soviet Union, the BDM study puts Soviet nuclear policy in a fresh light by highlighting the leadership's recognition of the catastrophe of nuclear conflict, even while it supported preparations for fighting an unsurvivable war.

BDM's unique interview evidence with former Soviet military officers, military analysts, and industrial specialists covers a wide range of strategic issues, including force levels and postures, targeting and war planning, weapons effects, and the role of defense industries. BDM staffers compared this new evidence with mainly official and semi-official U.S. interpretations of Soviet strategic policy and decision-making during the Cold War. The BDM analysts identified what they saw as significant failures of analysis, including:

* "[Erring] on the side of overestimating Soviet aggressiveness" and underestimating "the extent to which the Soviet leadership was deterred from using nuclear weapons."

* Seriously misjudging Soviet military intentions, "which had the potential [to] mislead ... U.S. decision makers in the event of an extreme crisis."

* "Serious[ly] misunderstanding ... the Soviet decision-making process" by underestimating the "decisive influence exercised by the defense industry." That the defense industrial complex, not the Soviet high command, played a key role in driving the quantitative arms buildup "led U.S. analysts to ... exaggerate the aggressive intentions of the Soviets."

* The BDM study also shows that Soviet military high command "understood the devastating consequences of nuclear war" and believed that nuclear weapons use had to be avoided at "all costs." In 1968, a Defense Ministry study showed that Moscow could not win a nuclear war, even if it launched a first strike. Although Soviet ideology had insisted that survival was possible, no one in the leadership believed that.

During the 1970s, Team B critics of CIA intelligence analysis argued that the Soviets believed that they could win a nuclear war. According to William Burr, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, "these previously secret interviews show that inflated notions of the Soviet 'present danger' -- such as the Team B exercise -- were wrong, but that more conventional U.S. analysis -- Team A -- also misunderstood Soviet nuclear thinking and decision making."

Please visit the Archive's Nuclear Vault for more information.

Defense Leaders, Colleagues, Friends Honor Ken Bacon

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - Kenneth Hogate Bacon was a man of great integrity and humanity. He was first and foremost a newsman — endlessly inquisitive, continually seeking accuracy and clarity. He sought knowledge and truth. He upheld the public's right to know. After a career as a reporter, editor and columnist at the Wall Street Journal from 1969 to 1994, he accepted an appointment as the assistant defense secretary for public affairs at the Pentagon. In 2001, he became president of Refugees International, a non-profit organization that advocates for the world's 12 million displaced people.

Bacon, 64, died of melanoma on Aug. 15. Two former defense secretaries and about 900 colleagues and friends turned out for a memorial service in his honor at the Washington National Cathedral in northwest Washington, D.C.

Bacon's daughters Katharine and Sarah paid tributes to their father, followed by Eugene Carlson, an editor and weekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and noted actor Sam Waterston, who serves on the board of Refugees International.

William J. Perry, defense secretary from 1994 to 1997, paid tribute to his former spokesman, noting that he'd learned much from the man he had chosen as his top public affairs advisor. Perry, accompanied to the service by his wife Lee, said he offered Bacon the job because he was the best defense correspondent he knew.

Perry recalled that after his first live television press interview with the late Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press, Bacon commented that the new defense secretary certainly knew how to make news. "It slowly dawned on me that he didn't mean it as a compliment," Perry said, drawing soft laughter from the mourners.

With Bacon at his side, Perry traveled to 67 different countries and logged about 700,000 miles in military aircraft ranging from C-20 passenger jets to C-17 Globemaster cargo planes. They visited the war torn Balkans and the former Soviet bloc nations.

Perry said he believes a trip the two men made together sparked Bacon's desire to serve the world's refugees.

In 1996, after the war in Rwanda ended, a million refugees mostly Hutu were in three or four refugee camps just across the border in Zaire, When cholera broke out in the camps and about 5,000 people a day were dying.

"Only the United States had the combination of water purification equipment, skilled engineers and the airlift that could move them in a matter of days," Perry said at the time. "Two days after the president gave me the order, we had that purification equipment over there. Three days after, I went over myself and saw it up and operating, and in that short amount of time, the cholera epidemic was stopped cold."

When Perry left office, Bacon stayed on to serve as William S. Cohen's public affairs advisor and spokesman. The travels continued and Bacon visited refugee camps in Macedonia following the conflict in Kosovo, deepening his concern for the plight of refugees.

Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen also paid their respects to Bacon's family by attending the memorial service. They joined several former defense officials who served during Bacon's time at the Pentagon, including Rudy DeLeon, deputy defense secretary; Tori Clarke, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; Jan M. Lodal, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, 1994-1997; Jim Bodner, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, 1998-2001.

Three who served as Bacon's deputies also attended: Clifford Bernath, Doug Wilson, Dennis Boxx and Willie Blacklow; as well as retired Adm. Mike Doubleday, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; Bob Tyrer, Cohen's chief of staff; Celia Hoke, director of community relations and public liaison; and Liz Bailey, DoD's White House Liaison.

Current Pentagon officials included Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; Marine Col. Dave Lapan, director of press operations; and Vince Ogilvy, deputy director of entertainment media.

Some of the former and current Pentagon correspondents who attended include: Washington Post's George Wilson; CNN's Barbara Star and Jamie McIntyre; CBS's David Martin; Associated Press' Bob Burns; and NPR's Guy Raz.

Many of the lower-level worker bees from Bacon's days at the Pentagon also attended the service. They came to honor the man they knew as a strong but kind leader. Bacon made it a point to understand and value each employee's contribution, and he ensured those who did the work got the credit they deserved.

When Helene Stikkel, a 35-year veteran military and Defense Department photographer, asked Bacon to conduct her retirement ceremony in 2008, he returned to the Pentagon's briefing room. He took the opportunity to acknowledge by name several people in the audience who had worked with him. They weren't senior defense officials, they were clerks, secretaries, writers, public affairs officers.

He spoke of Stikkel's worldwide travels with him and Perry, and the way her photos were used as part of Perry's international diplomacy. He said Perry maintained a row of Helene's photos of his travels in his office. Whenever a foreign dignitary visited the Pentagon, Perry moved the foreign VIP's photo to the front of the line and used it to spark recollections of their last meeting.

Stikkel was among those who paid their respects to a great man we will not forget.

Company Closes Ranks to Support Guardsman

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - When Army National Guardsman Sgt. Michael Scaglione announced he was being deployed to Iraq, he knew he could count on his family. His mother and brother would be looking after his two girls, Myca, 13 and Marissa, 11. And his extended family, also known as his colleagues, would be looking after all of them.

"We are a small company and pride ourselves on being a family. Michael Scaglione is part of our family," said Steve Dickert, general manager of North Carolina-based AeroDyn Wind Tunnel. "As such, we take care of his needs like anyone else in the family. It just so happens that for this period of time, his needs are much greater than some of our other family members."

The company pays the difference between his civilian and military salaries. It also covers 100 percent of the premiums to maintain his medical insurance. But that's just the beginning of the list of what AeroDyn, a company with just 15 employees, about 25 percent of whom have a military background, has done for Scaglione and his girls.

"AeroDyn has taken on the responsibility to make sure all of the 'mechanical' things regarding his home and infrastructure remain in good repair and operational," Dickert said.

And that was enough to prompt Scaglione to nominate AeroDyn for a 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The award recognizes public and private employers for going above and beyond what's required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve manages the award.

The company was selected as one of the 15 recipients, an unexpected honor.

"We are extremely honored, and very surprised, to be nominated for the ... award," Dickert said. "We continue to feel that we are just doing what is right by our soldier and our company [and] it is beyond us why any company would not do the same for any of their employees."

Scaglione, who is currently deployed, wasn't surprised AeroDyn is receiving the award, just proud. "I really feel that they deserve it," he said.

When they found out he was being deployed, the owner and bosses asked what they could do for him and his family beyond continuing his benefits and meeting his pay differential.

"But they asked to do more," Scaglione wrote from Forward Operating Base Falcon, Iraq. "So I asked if they would split a life insurance policy with me. They said it was taken care of. It doubled the max that the Army offered and I didn't have to split the cost."

Even then company official weren't satisfied that they were doing all they could to support Scaglione, so they closed the company, a 24-hour-a-day operation, for one night and threw him a going away party.

And still the surprises kept coming.

"They had purchased over $2,000 in gift cards so my two daughters could keep doing what we did as a family while I was gone," he said. "They also purchased myself and the girls Web cams so we could stay in touch.

"The [Information Technology] guy ... just went to my house to help the girls with their computers," Scaglione added. "During my deployment, the guys have taken my girls out to eat and called to check on them many times."

After learning the company had been selected for the ESGR award, AeroDyn officials asked Scaglione if they could take his daughters to Washington for the Sept. 17 award presentation. Then the owner's wife took them shopping for special outfits for the big night.

"This deployment has been hard on my mother and my two girls, but thanks to AeroDyn Wind Tunnel they haven't had to do without things they normally have when I was home, and you can't ask for much more than that," Scaglione said. "I do look forward to this all being over and getting back to my family, my job and my old unit, but till then I know AeroDyn Wind Tunnel has my back."

Teams Begin Taping Holiday Greetings Overseas

American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - Three, three-person Joint Hometown News Service broadcast teams have begun to tape video greetings from servicemembers and their families stationed overseas. The greetings will be aired on commercial TV and radio stations in the United States and its territories throughout the holiday season.

The Holiday Greetings Program is one of the most recognizable in America and always begins months before halls are decked and wreaths hung.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the program.

Servicemembers from all branches of service, their family members and Defense Department civilians are eligible to participate, said Erich Schwab, who is coordinating the program this year.

The teams will travel to the Pacific, Europe and Southwest Asia to collect greetings from more than 60 locations. Partner military broadcast organizations will collect greetings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The News Service is offering a few pointers and guidelines for those wishing to participate:

-- Bring address books as family members' names, city, state and phone number are needed. No street address is needed this year, but station managers need a phone number to let families know when the greeting will air.

-- Servicemembers need to be in uniform, though a work uniform is fine. Family members should accompany their sponsor, unless their sponsor is deployed -- and don't forget the props. Santa hats, pets, banners and Christmas attire are encouraged.

-- Certain locations may have a wait and lunch time and after work normally are prime times. Try to break away for a few minutes during mid-morning or mid-afternoon and avoid the rush.

-- There aren't a lot of rules while on camera, but there are some tips to make the experience go smoothly. The top three are: relax, relax and relax.

-- Try to be cheerful and in the holiday spirit. It doesn't show well on camera if a servicemember's teenage daughter looks like she'd rather be at the mall than wishing Grandma happy holidays.

-- Try to keep hand gestures to a minimum and when giving a greeting, don't say "Happy Thanksgiving." Most greetings will begin to air on Thanksgiving Day and will quickly become obsolete.

-- Try writing down main points on a 3-by-5 card. People will have 15 to 20 seconds per greeting, more than enough time to get in holiday wishes, but sometimes nerves can cause a bout of forgetfulness. Jotting down family members' names and a few key points can be helpful.

-- People who have family in more than one area can do several greetings.

When the teams return to San Antonio in late October, production will run 24/7, Schwab said. Video and audio greetings are separated by state, and in some of the more populated states such as California, Texas, Florida and New York, stations will receive the tapes or DVDs based upon region.

Stations usually begin running greetings on Thanksgiving and continue through New Year's Day. Many greetings air multiple times during the holidays and usually on more than one station, Schwab said.

Joint Hometown News Service

World War II Veteran Lives to Make Them Laugh

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - If, as the saying goes, all the world is a stage, then Alyce Dixon is the headlining comedienne. "You've got to laugh a little bit," she said. "I've been telling jokes up until now. I tell them all the time."

The birthday girl, who describes herself as fresh, forward and sassy, and who turns 102 today, has found humor a useful tool throughout her life. It helped her build rapport with clients when she worked as a civilian in requisitions at the Pentagon.

"I was able to buy everything from pencils to airplanes," she said with a smile. "I became a good buyer. I dealt with all the stores here in Washington that sold office supplies. I always knew all the salesmen.

"They seemed to like to come and talk to me," she added. "I cut up with them and they liked that."

But back then, she refused to share her wit with the other girls in the office who discovered her secret but didn't have the knack. She told them she was going to keep her jokes to herself.

Now she shares them freely.

She retired from that job at the Pentagon in 1972, but she'd walked the hallowed halls for many years before that, starting in 1940, before the building was even complete.

Born Sept. 11, 1907, in Boston, Alice Lillian Ellis was the third oldest of nine children. The six that came after her gave her all the experience with raising children that she ever wanted.

"I said when I get married I don't want any children," Dixon remembered. "I've done it already."

Her marriage to George Dixon wouldn't take place until 1930, when she was 23, but she stuck to her guns about raising her own family.

Dixon's family moved to Washington in 1924. It was her father's home and they'd originally come just for a visit.

"We came to visit my grandmother and never left," she said. "I went to Dunbar High School here. That was one of the best schools ... and I graduated from Dunbar in 1925."

A few years earlier, Dixon had changed the spelling of her given name "Alice" to "Alyce." She was 16 and had seen actress Alyce Mills in the movie "A Bride for a Knight."

"The lady had it and I liked it," Dixon said. "I liked that spelling. I thought it was pretty and a 'y' and an 'i' are the same, so I changed it."

After high school, Dixon began classes at Washington's Howard University. Her college career would be short-lived, however.

She overheard her father talking about his struggles to raise six children on his $25 a week salary. She felt that helping her family was her first priority. So she decided to quit Howard, get a job and go to night school.

"I got a job here at the Lincoln Theater," Dixon said. "That was one of the Negro theaters. I became the first secretary at the Lincoln Theater for $15 a week."

He friend asked her what she was going to do with the princely sum her salary paid. Three dollars a week went to savings, $5 went to her mother, she said.

"I had $7 to eat and dress with," she recalled. "[My friend] should be living now. You can't even hardly get a loaf of bread [for that.]"

A subsequent job with the Census Bureau garnered a hefty raise, $105 a month.

"I never saw $2,000 [a year] until I was getting ready to retire in 1972," Dixon said.

Dixon may not have seen big salaries during her career, but she had many memorable experiences thanks to Uncle Sam.

By 1940, Dixon was working her first tour at the Pentagon as a civilian. She came to the building to become a secretary, which she eventually achieved. What she hadn't come to the building for was to endure racism, which she encountered.

She was part of a secretarial pool that waited for placement every day.

"There were five of us and they were placing all the white girls every day," Dixon said. "I said to one of [my friends], 'Let's go and talk to Mr. Fred ... and ask him what happened.'

"We went in and I said, 'We've been sitting here now a whole week and you haven't placed us. What's wrong?'" Dixon remembered, recounting that the man told them he was trying to find them a spot. "I said, 'What, are you trying to find us a 'black' spot?'"

He denied this and quickly found the two ladies a position typing for the Air Force.

"It infuriated me. God made us all and we can't help what we are," she said. "I didn't like that at all. God made us all. We all eat and sleep and bleed alike. It don't make sense."

From then on the work came more regularly until 1943 when the military started taking women and Dixon joined the WAACs, the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps.

A year later, the WAACs became the WACs, the Women's Army Corps.

Dixon said she joined the military because she figured they could do something about her vitiligo, a condition that causes skin depigmentation.

"When I went to dermatology I was crying," she said. "I said, 'I hope you can remove these spots.'

"[The doctor] said, 'Oh, don't worry about it. One day you'll be white,'" Dixon said. "I said, 'Make me white now. Why do I have to wait?'"

The doctor's prediction came true -- her skin is pale now.

She still doesn't understand why she was the only one in her family who was afflicted, she said.

"I was supposed to be white, I think," she chuckled.

Despite the Army's inability to help cure her skin condition, it was able to help satiate her travel lust.

As a writer for the military, her try-out piece, "The Long and Short of It," drew unwanted attention. The story was about herself and her bunkmate. Dixon was a petite 5-foot tall. Her bunkmate measured a full foot taller.

The story found its way to many posts and camps.

"All the short men wrote me a letter. A lot of [them] came to see me," she remembered. "I hated short men."

As the Army went about selecting 1,000 black women for a tour overseas, Dixon was working for a general who was so pleased with her typing skills that he put her on the men's roster so he could give her a rank.

"I [typed] a couple of letters and then I saw the general running up and down and I said, 'Oh God, what did I do?'" Dixon said. "He said, 'This is the first letter that's gone out in two months without any erasure or misspelled words. I'm keeping you.'"

The general's joy was short-lived as Dixon was chosen as one of the 1,000 black women who would form the 6888th Postal Battalion. The battalion was charged with clearing a backlog of mail in London before turning their efforts to a similar predicament in France.

The backlogs had occurred when mail was unable to be distributed because of large battles, which meant frequent troop movements.

"Some of the mail was very hard to send because a lot of people from the South ... addressed their letters 'Junior U.S. Army,'" she said. "We had to find out what place it came from and we knew every man had a number, so we had to search and find it" by matching the city with the name and a number.

Since the military couldn't help with her skin condition and she'd earned enough points to leave service, she did. It was December 1945.

She went back to work at the Pentagon until she retired in 1972.

Her life has been full of experiences and memories, some good, some not so good.

For instance, she's traveled to Europe, Africa and Bermuda, but her 13-year marriage ended over the cost of a week's worth of groceries.

When the couple lived in New York, her husband was in the habit of turning over his weekly pay check to her to pay the bills and buy groceries. He found out, however, that she regularly sent things to her family and asked her where she got the money.

"I said, 'I save it from the food money. I know where to shop where things are cheap,'" Dixon recalled.

Her husband then decided to handle the bills himself and give his wife just enough for groceries: $18 a week. The plan backfired after a month and Dixon let him know so just before he left for a business trip.

"I said, 'Well, I don't like that arrangement. So, when you come back, find yourself a room because we're not going to stay together because I don't want to be with you,'" she recalled.

As usual, the feisty Dixon moved on and continued to live life as she always had: on her own terms. She lived on her own until she was 93, moving into the Washington DC VA Medical Center in 2000. There, she's the oldest resident.

She's also the oldest of the three living members of the 6888th Postal Battalion.

Dixon has lived a long life and seen a great many things.

She's lived through the Great Depression and six major wars, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Theodore Roosevelt was president when she was born, and she's seen 18 more elected since, including the first black president, whom she describes as brilliant.

"I saw ... a black president. I never thought," she said. "And he's not really black. He's half white. His mother's Irish.

"That's what's so mixed up," she added. "Nobody knows what they are anyhow. It's a crazy world."

In her lifetime, the Berlin wall was constructed and fell, man walked on the moon and the world's first test tube baby was born. And for the first time since her war, America was attacked at home and her adopted home of New York was among the scars left behind.

In a life spanning a century there are some regrets, but also plenty of fond memories and laughter. In Dixon's case, she's created much of that laughter.

"I've enjoyed myself," she said. "I've had a good life."

The VA Medical Center is hosting a birthday party for Dixon today, which she refers to as "Terrorist Day." She said the attacks eight years ago have taken some of the shine away from her special day, but for Dixon, life goes on with gusto.

Military Nurses Honored at Arlington Ceremony

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 11, 2009 - Army, Navy and Air Force nurses participated yesterday in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Nurses Memorial to honor their comrades who gave their lives in the line of duty. Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart laid a wreath at the memorial, which pays homage to the dedication and sacrifice of military nurses from all services and through the ages.

Jim Sims, national commander of the veterans' service organization, noted in his opening comments that the annual event provides the opportunity to salute not just nurses, but all military medical personnel.

Sims paid tribute to "all of those who made it possible for us to be nurtured back to health and made it possible for us to come back home."

He also lauded "nurses in field hospitals, on field ships, or manning evacuation aircraft; the hospital corpsmen and medics in the field, taking care of wounds or injuries, or performing life-saving measures to get soldiers, Marines or airmen back to duty or ready for evacuation; the doctors who patched us up; the lab and X-ray technicians and pharmacy personnel who helped ensure diagnoses were complete and accurate."

Air Force Maj. Gen. Kimberly A. Siniscalchi, assistant Air Force surgeon general, urged those at the ceremony to pause in a moment of silence to remember the "sacrifice, dedication and devotion" of military nurses.

"Nurses have had a lasting impact and presence in all military conflicts, from the beginning of the American Revolution through today, as we continue to serve our warfighters," she said. "We are valiantly performing in combat operations, natural disasters and responding to humanitarian calls. We are the nation's health care ambassadors across the globe."

The Nurses Memorial is nestled on a hill in Arlington National Cemetery's Section 21, known as the "Nurse's Section." A 10-foot-tall, white marble statue of a military nurse looks out over rows of headstones that mark the final resting place of Army, Navy and Air Force nurses.

Among them is Dr. Anita Newcomb McGree, who helped found the Army Nurse Corps and became a leader in the movement to have the monument built, then placed in Arlington. The statue was unveiled at the cemetery in 1938.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA is a congressionally chartered service organization formed in 1932 to represent servicemembers and veterans who have received the Purple Heart medal after being wounded in combat.