Military News

Friday, September 18, 2009

Medal of Honor Recipient Memorialized in Hall of Heroes

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 18, 2009 - The father of Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor, remembered his son today as a person defined by selflessness. Monti, then a staff sergeant, was killed June 21, 2006, after making several attempts to rescue a fellow soldier wounded while battling Taliban insurgents in Gowardesh, Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan.

"I think Jared received more in his life than anybody I can think of. But he never got anything for himself, because no matter what we sent him, he gave it away," Paul Monti said, referring to the care packages his son received in Afghanistan, the contents of which he routinely doled out to Afghan kids.

"In the end," the soldier's father continued, "he gave his life for someone else."

Monti risked his life on a rocky ridge in Afghanistan, where his 16-man patrol found itself under attack by 50 Taliban insurgents. He quickly called in artillery support when he noticed that one of his soldiers was wounded and in danger. He twice braved massive enemy rifle and rocket fire in attempts to reach his wounded comrade lying on the ground some 20 yards away.

Forced to turn back both times and taking shelter behind a rock, Monti contemplated his next move. He decided to give it another try, but he was killed in that final attempt.

Those fateful decisions earned him a posthumous promotion to sergeant first class and the Medal of Honor that President Barack Obama presented to the heroic soldier's family at a White House ceremony yesterday.

"Faced with overwhelming enemy fire, Jared could have stayed where he was behind that rock," Obama said during the ceremony. But, he said, "that was not the kind of soldier Jared Monti was."

Friends, family and fellow soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., were on hand today as Defense Department and military leaders once again honored Monti and added his name to the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

Army Secretary Pete Geren recounted tales about Monti's childhood in Raynham, Mass., where the he is remembered for the selflessness and humility he displayed even as a young man.

"From his earliest days, Jared had a heart for the needy and less fortunate," Geren said. "At age 17, he learned of a family in Raynham who didn't have a Christmas tree. So he chopped one of the trees down in his own front yard and gave it to that family."

Later, as a soldier in Afghanistan, he distributed the gifts he received from back home to the Afghan children he met. This show of generosity earned him popularity among the Afghan youth. "The Afghan kids knew Jared by name," Geren said. "'Mr. Monti' they called him – and they would rush up to him whenever came by."

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said that in losing Jared, the Monti family had endured a loss few will ever know.

"Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti: we salute him, we honor him, and we will always remember him," he said.

Monti's name will appear alongside the 3,447 other troops to receive the Medal of Honor of since Congress established the highest military decoration in 1862.

New Missile Plan Better Suited Against Iran, Gates Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 18, 2009 - The new U.S. missile defense plan will offer better protection than a previous proposal even if intelligence forecasts on Iran prove wrong, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. As opposed to earlier plans to build ground-based components in Poland and the Czech Republic, the new sea-based approach is better suited to intelligence on Iranian threats and would provide protection sooner, the secretary said.

Going a step further, Gates -- a former CIA director -- said the new arrangement is preferable even if U.S. intelligence assessments that indicate Iran is more focused on developing short-range missiles over long-range capabilities prove incorrect.

"I probably am more familiar with the risks of over-reliance on intelligence than anybody, because I've seen how often it's wrong," he said. "If the intelligence is wrong, and the Iranians develop a capability sooner than the intelligence is saying, this architecture gives us a better chance of being able to cope with it than the [previous program], just because of the new technologies that are available that give us more flexibility."

The defense secretary appeared before Pentagon reporters with his Czech counterpart, Martin Bartak, following a meeting that included discussion of the new missile defense system in Europe that President Barack Obama announced yesterday.

In December 2006, Gates recommended to then-President George W. Bush that the United States should put advanced radars in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. That was when intelligence officials gauged the development of Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile as the foremost threat to the United States and its allies.

Now, intelligence reports paint a different picture – that the country is moving faster to develop its shorter-range missiles.

"The original program that I recommended would have had no capability against short- and medium-range missiles until probably 2018," Gates said today. "What the new system provides is some capability beginning in 2011 that will grow steadily each year in terms of its sophistication and its coverage of Europe. The next phase would begin in 2015."

A drawback to the previous plan was that ground-based interceptors designed to deal with no more than five enemy missiles at once were prone to being overwhelmed by a larger salvo fired simultaneously, Gates said.

"What we have seen with the Iranians is that they're producing and deploying significant numbers of short and intermediate missiles, and so [a salvo like that] could overwhelm even when the 10 interceptors were in place," he said, though he added that research will continue on the ground-based system.

After much deliberation, Gates told reporters, his recommendation to Obama was to begin phasing in a missile defense system that puts radars and missiles in place sooner that are more suited to protect against the current threat. Plans are then to continue building on the system to increase its range of defense capabilities.

Deploying the Navy's ships equipped with the Aegis weapons system to the region by 2011 drives the new plan's initial phase. Their Standard Missile 3 interceptor has passed several tests in the past two years, and forward-position Army radar systems will support them.

This will give the military a smaller range of detection and protection, but is enough initially to protect U.S. troops and allies against Iran's shorter-range missiles, officials said.

Deputy Defense Secretary Calls Employer Support Critical

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 18, 2009 - The military is fortunate the nation offers its unbridled support and backing to its military employees, the deputy defense secretary said last night. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn leads the honors for 15 winners of this year's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at the annual award ceremony in Washington, Sept. 17, 2009. DoD phot by Samantha L. Quigley

"The partnership between the civilian employers and our members of the Reserve and National Guard is critical to our nation's success in almost every endeavor the department undertakes," said William J. Lynn, during his address to those gathered here for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve's annual award ceremony.

The ceremony honored 15 employers with the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for offering their military employees support above and beyond what the law requires.

"There are three interrelated and mutually dependent elements to our success," Lynn said. "First, our talented and dedicated servicemembers. Second, their loving and supportive families. But third, their awesome civilian employers who we're here to honor tonight.

"It's the knitting together of all three that binds together the strength of our force," he added.

This year was a record-breaker for nominations of outstanding employers. More than 3,000 were received across the three categories: large businesses, small businesses, and public-sector employers.

"It sounds like nearly all of them nominated their employers for this award, which is just terrific," Lynn said.

A few of the servicemembers who submitted nominations this year expressed their appreciation for their employers at the ceremony.

Army Reserve Maj. Tom Castellano, a technology specialist with Microsoft, has served two tours in support of operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.

"I want to thank Microsoft publically for their outstanding support," he said. "I nominated [them] for their dedication and their commitment to military families on an individual [level].

"At my own personal level, Microsoft provided differential pay and benefits for the entire year I was supporting the war efforts," he added. "It was my first tour [since starting] with Microsoft ... in military terminology; they were pretty much protecting my ... 6 o'clock position.'

Microsoft also supports the USO, the Fisher House program and Hire America's Heroes. In 2007, the company donated $3.7 million to the National Guard Youth Foundation.

Louisiana Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Brent Barnett said he was proud to work for Jackson Parish Police Department's Sheriff Andy Brown who, even though he'd never worn the uniform, epitomizes the qualities of a military noncommissioned officer, he said.

"The opening statement of the creed of the noncommissioned officer says that, 'No one is more professional than I,'" Barnett said. "It's an honor to work for a person of his character."

Brown is a staunch supporter of the Louisiana National Guard, supports family unit activities with equipment and K-9 demonstrations, attends field training exercises and has toured Guard facilities and installations.

"He's gone as far as, during state emergencies, to lend out department equipment, mobile field units, to support our movements throughout the state of Louisiana," Barnett said.

Small employers may have it the hardest when it comes to temporarily losing a military employee to deployment, said Leon Harris, the master of ceremonies and a local ABC news anchor.

That didn't stop AeroDyn Wind Tunnel from going beyond above and beyond, according to the company's nominator, Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Scaglione.

"I've been at AeroDyn about six years and I don't think I have enough time tonight to tell all they've done for me," Scaglione said with a smile. "When they found out I was getting ready to deploy for Iraq, they had one question: What do I need? I asked for more life insurance."

Scaglione got the life insurance and a whole lot more, he said, including peace of mind that his two girls wouldn't be jolted out of their routine. During his going-away party, hosted by the company -- a 24/7 operation that shut down for the event -- his girls got a big gift.

"They gave my daughters over $2,000 in gift certificates so they could to the movies, they could go out to dinner, go shopping and do whatever they needed for the year I'm gone," Scaglione said. "That was remarkable to me."

Even more remarkable, someone from the company calls the girls each school morning to make sure they're up and ready for school, just like Dad did before he deployed, which he will be for at least another four months.

His command agreed to extend his two weeks of rest and recuperation leave so he could attend the ESGR event.

Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, addressed the crowd before dinner was served. The ceremony concluded with the presentation of 15 crystal eagle statues to the employers deemed the "best of the best" by this year's award selection committee.

MILITARY CONTRACTS September 18, 2009

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Supplycore, Inc., Rockford, Ill.* is being awarded a maximum $525,000,000 Maintenance, Repair & Operations (MRO), indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for supplies. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, federal civilian agencies and the Defense Logistics Agency. The original proposal was Web solicited with eleven responses. This contract is exercising the fifth option year period. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 17, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-02-D-0122).

Parker-Hannifin Corp., Irvine, Calif. is being awarded a maximum $16,570,224 firm fixed price, sole source, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for augmentor spray bars. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is 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 September 18, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond (DSCR-ZBAB), Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, Okla. (SPRTA1-09-D-0059).

Bijan's Protective Equipment, Santa Rosa, Calif.* is being awarded a maximum $5,617,400 firm fixed price, total set aside, fixed quantity contract for knee and elbow pads. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There were originally four proposals solicited with four responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is October 3, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-09-C-0031).

NAVY
Hensel Phelps Soltek Joint Venture, Greeley, Colo., is being awarded an $116,920,072 firm-fixed price contract for design and construction of four Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The BEQ's will house a total of 1,600 Marines in the standard 2+0 configuration and will include a multipurpose community area and laundry facilities. The contract also contains four planned options, which if issued, would increase cumulative contract value to $125,916,472. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by July 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 website,with 16 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-09-C-1601).

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services, Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $76,000,000 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-06-D-0038) to exercise an option for engineering, analytical and manufacturing services to support various aging aircraft. Work will be performed in various locations throughout the United States (80 percent) and Rockville, Md. (20percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a $44,289,514 firm-fixed-price job order for 62 each U.S. Navy H-60 helicopter configuration multi-spectral targeting units (MTSs). The MTSs will be installed on U.S. Navy UH-60R and UH-60S models to enhance their sensor capabilities. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by November 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The job order was awarded on a sole source basis. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Ind. is the contracting activity (N00164-06-G-8555).

DRS Systems, Inc., Parsippany, N.J., is being awarded a $13,818,940 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, performance-based contractfor a modernized integrated voice communications system for AEGIS cruisers and destroyers. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $59,161,146. Work will be performed in Johnstown, Pa., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. If all options are exercised, work could continue until September 2014. Contractfunds willnot expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract wascompetitively procured by full and open competition via the Federal Business Opportunities website, and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website, and threeoffers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity (N65236-09-D-5190).

Greenhut Construction Co., Inc., Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded a $10,598,586 firm-fixed-price contract for the design, repair and modernization of Administrative Building 1500 at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Work will be performed in Pensacola, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2011. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 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 10 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-09-C-6339).

HDR Architecture, Inc., Alexandria, Va., is being awarded $6,500,000 for firm-fixed price task order FNZ0 under a previously awarded multiple award architect-engineering contract (N62470-09-D-9044) for preparation of a design build Request For Proposal document for a Naval Hospital, parking structure, surface parking and associated development of access roads at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2010. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 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.

AIR FORCE
Boeing Co., Long Beach, Calif., was awarded a $72,486,194 contract which will incorporate a flying hour engine cycle adjustment based on terms set forth in the basic C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 730 ACSG/GFKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (FA8614-04-C-2004, P00516)

DTS Aviation Services, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas was awarded a $41,111,000 contract for contractor logistics support for the C-21 aircraft, consisting of maintenance, repair and support functions. At this time, no money has been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKA, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. (FA8106-05-C-0001/P00153)

EDO Corp., of North Amityville, N.Y., was awarded a $39,267,458 contract which will provide BRU-57 bomb release units and related spares applicable to F-16 aircraft. At this time, $10,713,728 has been obligated. 782 CONS, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (FA8520-09-D-0004)

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. of Herndon, Va., was awarded a $38, 646,488 contract for the Commander U.S. Forces Command asymmetric warfare and improvised explosive device defeat readiness through survivabilityvVulnerability analysis, assessment, training and education. At this time, $6,450,554 has been obligated. 55 CONS, LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity. (SP0700-03-D-1380, DO:0314)

DynCorp International, LLC of Fort Worth, Texas was awarded a $31,276,841 contract which will provide for acquisition of aircraft maintenance services for the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. AETC/CONS/LGCK, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas is the contracting activity. (FA3002-09-C-0024)

Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $28,349,190 contract for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test develop, and deliver engineering/analysis reports, test plans and or procedures, investigation reports, technical management work plans, safety assessment reports and technical reports for the F-15 avionic reliability, sustainability and Refreshment Program requirement. At this time $13,155,399 has been obligated. 55 CONS, LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity. (HC1047-05-D-4005, DO 0110)

McDonnell Douglas Corp., Long Beach, Calif., was awarded a $20,000,000 contract which provides for the development of integrated software and hardware upgrades to the C-17 aircraft via multiple projects. At this time, no money has been obligated. 516 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (F33657-01-D2000, P00022)

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded a $13,665,951 contract which will conduct data collection, assessment, evaluations, and studies associated with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material systems. At this time, $205,797 has been obligated. 55 CONS, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity. (SP0700-00-D-3180, DO:0615)

L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, of Madison Miss., was awarded an $8,561,632 contract which will provide contractor logistics support for the C-12 aircraft for Pacific Air Force, Air Force Material Command, Defense Intelligence Agency and Defense Security Cooperation Agency; consisting of maintenance, repair and support functions for the first six months of the 2010 fiscal year. 727 ACSG/PKC, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. (F34601-00-C-0111, P00542)

ARMY
Balfour / S&P Joint Venture, Dallas, TX, was awarded on Sept. 17, 2009 a $46,437,194 firm-fixed-price contract. This work is for the construction of the Lackland Airman Training Center Dormitory # 1 (first of eight). Work is to be performed at Lackland Air Force Base, TX, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 10 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District, Fort Worth, TX, is the contracting activity (W9126G-09-C-0054).

John J. Kirlin Special Projects LLC., Rockville, Md., was awarded on Sept. 17, 2009 a $9,255,853 firm-fixed-price contract. This project consists of the renewal of the Nutritional Care Directorate at Evans Army Community Hospital. Work is to be performed at Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Four bids solicited with four bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville District, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W912DY-08-D-0023).

General Dynamics lands Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Sept. 17, 2009 a $ 7,218,657 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for logistic support for the Saudi Arabia M1A2S Abrams Tank conversion. Work is to be performed in Warren, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2012. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0095).

Black Horse Group LLC., Watertown, N.Y., was awarded on Sept. 17, 2009 a $6,628,600 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a fire station. Work is to be performed at Fort Drum, Leray, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 8, 2011. Approximately 169 bids were solicited with 10 bids received. U.S. Corp of Engineers, CENAN-CT, New York City, N.Y., is the contracting activity (W912DS-09-D-0004).

Sun Star LLC., San Diego, Calif. was awarded on Sept. 16, 2009 a $24,973,773 firm-fixed-price construction contract. This project is for the design and construction effort to correct structural walls and floor slabs in 179 military family housing units. Work includes replacing partition walls, window wells, caulking floor slab perimeter, installing drain systems with sump pump under floor slab, topsoil and sod replacement for surface and drainage. Additionally, construction will correct surrounding pavements and utilities that have been damages and require repair. Work is to be performed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912DW-09-C-0028).

Hanco Corp., Hattiesburg, Miss., was awarded on Sept. 16, 2009 a $8,174,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This project is for the construction of a 3 story 89 room barracks, warehouse, and 3-each three bedroom houses. Work is to be performed at Camp Shelby, Miss., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 24, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 12 bids received. U.S. National Guard Bureau, United States Property & Fiscal Office, Jackson, Miss., is the contracting activity (W90FYQ-09-C-0009).

Camelbak Products LLC., Petaluma, Calif., was awarded on Sept. 16, 2009 a $5,966,953 firm-fixed-price research and development contract. This project consists of 77,979 pairs of United States Marine Corp flame resistant organizational gear flyer's gloves. Work is to be performed in Seattle, Wash., (50 percent), and Camerio, Puerto Rico., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 01, 2010. Twenty bids were solicited via GSA EBUY with three bids received. U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command Contracting Center, Natick Contracting Division, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (GS-07F-0127K).

Pentagon Ceremony Salutes Former POWs, Missing in Action

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 18, 2009 - A group of senior U.S. officials today paid homage to servicemembers who have been prisoners of war or are listed as missing in action during an observance ceremony on the Pentagon's River Terrace parade field. Proclaiming today as National POW/MIA Recognition Day, President Barack Obama issued a statement urging Americans "to observe this day of honor and remembrance with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

The Pentagon ceremony, which featured a passing-in-review by troops of all services and aerial flyovers, is part of nationwide activities observing National POW-MIA Recognition Day, typically held annually on the third Friday of September. About 88,000 U.S. servicemembers are recorded as missing or unaccounted for since World War II.

"We pause today to remember, honor, and show solidarity with our troops who have been captured or gone missing in America's wars," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said, "and to affirm that we will never forget our duty to bring them home."

Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired Navy Rear Adm. Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., a former U.S. senator from Alabama and a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, joined Gates at the reviewing stand.

"No nation in history has gone to such care, expense or effort to locate its fallen," Gates said. U.S. government dive-and-salvage teams, forensic scientists and investigators travel worldwide seeking a full accounting of missing servicemembers, he said.
For example, Gates said, the remains of three previously missing servicemen -- Air Force Lt. Col. Earl Hopper, who died in 1968; Army Pvt. David Woodruff, captured in Korea in 1951; and Army Air Force Staff Sgt. Jimmy Doyle, who died in 1944 -- were returned to their families this year and buried with full military honors.

And, Gates said, the remains of missing Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher were discovered last month in Iraq and returned to his family for burial. Speicher was an aviator who was shot down over Iraq in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War.

The work continues to find missing servicemembers and return them to their families, Gates said.

"We do it mindful of what we owe POW/MIAs and their loved ones," he said. "And, we do it in affirmation of our strongest belief as a people: that every life is precious."

Cartwright, too, pledged that the nation will do all that's possible to find its missing servicemembers.

"Our lessons learned from past conflicts provide opportunities to improve accounting efforts for the future," Cartwright said. And, he said, advances in forensics technology and technique will be passed along to future generations of searchers.

Gates and Cartwright both saluted Denton's service to the nation and his sacrifice. A naval aviator, Denton was shot down over North Vietnam on July 18, 1965. His captors frequently tortured him during his nearly eight years as a prisoner. They released him Feb. 12, 1973.

During his imprisonment in North Vietnam, Denton gained fame and enduring respect from his fellow Americans during a television interview arranged by the North Vietnamese, who thought the captured Navy pilot would support their cause.

Denton instead refused to denounce U.S. efforts in the war and repeatedly blinked his eyes in Morse Code, spelling the word, "T-O-R-T-U-R-E." The interview was broadcast on American TV on May 17, 1966, and was the first confirmation that the enemy was torturing U.S. POWs in Vietnam.

Gates praised Denton's "courageous resistance" to his captors' aims. Denton received the Navy Cross upon his release from captivity.

Denton spoke of his pride for the men and women in the military; and he touched upon the death of his wife of 61 years, Jane Maury Denton, who passed away on Thanksgiving Day 2007.

Denton praised his wife's steadfastness and loyalty to the nation during his years of captivity, noting that she, like him, didn't "want to swap any means that was advantageous to the enemy to get us home."

America's servicemembers, Denton said, belong to a unique class.

"Our men and women in uniform have answered the call and have shown and continue to show that they're willing to defend our country at the risk of their lives," Denton said. "All of us here today salute POWs, MIAs, their families and all veterans."

Without such service, Denton said, the United States "could not remain the land of the free and the home of the brave."

The black-and-white POW-MIA banner, according to a White House news release, will be flown today over the White House, the Capitol, the departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs and at a number of other U.S. government-managed agencies and institutions.

"Our nation maintains a solemn commitment to leave no servicemember behind," Obama said in the release. "Our men and women in uniform uphold this pledge every day, and our country further upholds it as we honor every man and woman who serves, particularly those taken as prisoners of war or missing in action.

"We will never cease in our mission to bring America's missing servicemembers home; we will never forget the sacrifices they made to keep this nation free; and we will forever honor their memory," Obama said.

Commercial Airline Hijack Procedures

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

On October 8, 2009, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a former Naval servicemember and retired Commercial Airline Pilot
Steve A. Reeves on commercial airline hijack procedures.

Program Date: October 8, 2009
Program Time: 1700 hours, Pacific
Topic: Commercial Airline Hijack Procedures
Listen Live:
www.americanheroesradio.com/commercial_airline_hijack_procedures.html

About the Guest
Steve A. Reeves started flying airplanes from a dirt strip located adjacent to a cotton field in northeast Arkansas. He took great pride in his ability to chase rabbits down the plowed rows of the fields - and live to tell about it. However, it didn't take long for him to realize that chasing rabbits didn't pay very well. He packed his bags and headed to the University of Kentucky. Upon graduating from college, he accepted a commission in the United States Navy. After one tour of duty, he thought that he'd had enough of flying and returned to the civilian world to pursue a career in construction management. One day while standing in the middle of a job site, Steve looked up in the sky to watch a commercial airliner fly over. The attraction was too powerful - he knew that he had to return to the sky. Twenty-one years later, Steve A. Reeves has logged over 12,500 hours in civilian, military, and commercial aircraft. He is a captain for a major airline and resides in Texas with his wife, Stacy, and their two daughters, Keegan and Kayleigh. Steve A. Reeves is the author of Squawk 7500 Terrorist Hijacks Pacifica Flight 762.

According to the book description of Squawk 7500 Terrorist Hijacks Pacifica Flight 762, “This fiction thriller is based on the real life experiences of a commercial pilot and gives you an exciting insider view of what it takes to fly a jet while managing crew, passengers—and a terrorist! Captain Mike Rendell started out his workday like all the workdays before – just another normal day of flying. After spending a raucous night partying with his crew, he and his first officer were looking forward to a nice relaxing flight to the West Coast.”

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

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

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
www.americanheroesradio.com/commercial_airline_hijack_procedures.html

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

'Second Lady' Lauds Employers for Support of Military Employees

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 18, 2009 - The self-proclaimed "second lady" of the United States commended 15 employers yesterday who, despite tough economic times, went above and beyond what the law requires to support their military employees. "Tonight we celebrate your good works and we thank you for the powerful example you set for all Americans," Jill Biden said during the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award dinner here. "You have taken the extra steps by extending full pay to deployed personnel, by continuing health and education benefits to servicemembers and their families."

The ESGR's Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest award given by the government to employers for their exceptional support of employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve. Each year the organization presents the award to 15 employers in the large and small employer categories, and public-sector employers.

Biden noted that each of the employers has supported its employees throughout every stage of their mobilization. Employers -- like three of this year's recipients: AstraZeneca, Consolidated Electrical Distributors and Louisiana's Jackson Parish Sheriff's Department -- organized, among other things, deployment and welcome-home events, sent care packages to employees, and initiated clothing and toy drives for children in Iraq.

Biden said she's seen firsthand the power of this type of support and the effect it has on servicemembers and their families. She pointed out the example of Delaware Boots on the Ground, an organization that started as a group of military moms and spouses to support Delaware National Guard members and their families.

"Those of you receiving awards tonight have made a difference. You have shown appreciation and support for our troops and their families, and you have raised awareness in your own communities of their sacrifices and duty," she said. "I want all of you to know that we are grateful for your special service and commitment to our nation. You embody the ESGR's slogan, 'We all serve.'"

Last night's ceremony was personal for Biden, who spoke on behalf of the president and first lady, and her husband, who's visiting troops in Iraq. The Bidens' son is a National Guardsman currently serving in Iraq.

"I look across the room and ... I feel as though we are family," Biden told the crowd gathered for the ceremony. "We share the same concerns, the anxieties, the sense of duty and the pride that comes along with being a military family.

"Like all of you gathered here tonight, my family worries about our son and looks forward to the day he comes back to us," she said. "Our family also knows what a difference it makes when people reach out to show support, whether in school, in the neighborhood or in the workplace."

The following companies also received the Defense of Freedom Award:

-- AeroDyn Wind Tunnel;

-- The City of Cambridge Fire Department;

-- First Data;

-- FMC Technologies, Inc.;

-- Law Offices of Marks, O'Neill, O'Brien and Courtney, PC;

-- Microsoft Corporation;

-- The Mid America Kidney Stone Association, LLC;

-- NetJets;

-- The Ohio Department of Public Safety;

-- Perpetual Technologies, Inc.;

-- The Santa Ana [Calif.] Police Department; and

-- TriWest Healthcare Alliance.