Military News

Friday, October 02, 2009

Command Continues Aid Efforts in Pacific

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - U.S. Pacific Command continues to help in coordinating humanitarian relief operations in American Samoa, Indonesia and the Philippines, the command's top officer said today. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating said Pacom officials are keeping a watchful eye on Typhoon Parma, now approaching the northern Philippines, and Typhoon Melor, which is threatening Guam, Tinian and Saipan.

The command has sent five C-17 Globemaster III transport jets to American Samoa, which was hit by an earthquake-triggered tsunami Sept. 29. Officials said more than 160 people died in the disaster, and that thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. The C-17s, from the Hawaii Air National Guard and the Air Force, deployed from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The planes carried search-and-rescue teams, mortuary affairs specialists and vehicles. "The aircraft carried a lot of equipment and some food supplies," Keating told Pentagon reporters via telephone from his office in Hawaii.

Pacom is standing by to fly two or three more C-17 missions filled with Red Cross personnel and supplies to the island. In addition, the USS Ingraham, a Navy frigate, is in the waters off American Samoa. The ship has two helicopters that will help with damage assessment and search and rescue efforts. In all operations in American Samoa, the command is acting in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the admiral said.

Tropical Storm Ketsana struck the Philippines on Sept. 25, killing more than 250 people in Manila, the capital city, Philippine officials reported. Thousands are homeless. "About 20 personnel with the Joint Special Operations Task Force went up to Manila to help the armed forces of the Philippines in any way they could," Keating said.

But even as Manila residents assess the damage and bury their dead, Typhoon Parma is bearing down on the country's northern islands. The storm is expected to miss Manila, Keating said, but it still could cause tremendous damage. Forecasters are saying the storm – still off the coast – could intensify and become a super typhoon.

"We have moved two amphibious ships – the USS Harpers Ferry and the USS Tortuga – off the coast of the Philippines," Keating said. The ships have a Marine complement aboard and will stand by to provide whatever aid the Philippine government requests.

In Indonesia, an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport has delivered supplies to the area around Padang. U.S. special operations forces -- who were on their way to the country for an exercise when the earthquake hit Sept. 30 -- were able to set up communications with Pacom headquarters and help Indonesian and American officials assess the damage.

Thousands of people are reported to be trapped in pancaked buildings. The command is sending a Navy rear admiral to the region to help in coordinating U.S. military efforts with the Indonesian armed forces. "The USS Denver, with three heavy-lift helicopters, is on its way to Indonesia," Keating said.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Melor is approaching Guam, Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas Islands. The USS Bonhomme Richard is east of the islands and is prepared to offer assistance to the residents there if needed. Weather reports say Melor will have winds in the 50- to 75-knot range. Navy submarines and Air Force aircraft have left Guam, and islanders are battening down the hatches.

"We're watching it, but it is a normal weather pattern for this time of year, and we're cautiously optimistic there will not be a significant blow," Keating said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS - October 2, 2009

AIR FORCE
United Launch Services of Littleton, Colorado was awarded a $927,720,071 contract to provide the Fiscal Year 2010 Evolved Expendable launch Vehicle Launch Capability effort for the Delta IV and Atlas V families to launch vehicles. At this time, $16,000,000 has been obligated. SMC/LRSW, El Segundo, California is the contracting activity. (FA8816-06-C-0001, FA8816-06-C-0002, P00149)

McDonnell Douglas Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri was awarded a $51,900,000 contract to provide Massive Ordnance Penetrator Integration on B-2 test aircraft. At this time $32,150,000 has been obligated. 708 ARSG/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida is the contracting Activity. (FA8681-09-C-0280,P00002)

General Dynamics C4 Systems of Scottsdale, Arizona was awarded a $17,500,000 contract to provide for the modification of the KG-327 End cryptographic unit design baseline to develop and deliver five production representative development models. At this time, $5,800,000 has been obligated. HQ CPSG/PKA, San Antonio, Texas is the contracting activity. (FA8307-06-C-0010)

Technical Ordnance Incorporated of Maple Plain, Minnesota was awarded a $9,794,350 contract which will provide for BBU-35 cartridges. At this time, no money has been obligated. 784 CBSG/PK, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity. (FA8213-09-D-0009)

Pacific Scientific of Hollister, California was awarded a $9,794,350 contract which will provide for BBU-35 cartridges. At this time, no money has been obligated. 784 CBSG/PK, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity. (FA8213-09-D-0010).

ARMY
Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $128,124,103 cost-plus-award-fee contract. This contract is for the Distribution Management Center (DMC) support services required by the United States Army Sustainment Command (ASC), DMC within and outside the continental United States (CONUS and OCONUS) in support of Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN). This support will enable the Government to continue establishment of and perform DMC functions at Headquarters ASC and at selected locations CONUS and OCONUS to establish a unity of effort providing a centralized common operating picture. Work is to be performed in Fort Bragg, N.C., (9.41 percent), Fort Campbell, Ky., (3.80 percent), Fort Carson, Colo., (3.32 percent), Fort Drum, N.Y., (4.46 percent), Fort Hood, Texas., (9.57 percent), Fort Lewis, Wash., (5.64 percent), Fort Riley, Kan., (3.76 percent), Fort Stewart, Ga., (4.06 percent), Fort Sill, Okla., (1.74 percent), Fort Bliss, Texas., (3.25 percent), Fort Huachuca, Ariz., (0.73 percent), Fort Benning, Ga., (2.31 percent), Fort Wainright, Ark., (3.78 percent), Fort Richardson, Ark., (3.04 percent), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii., (4.54 percent), Fort McPherson, Ga., (2.51 percent),and HQ, Rock Island Arsenal., (34.08 percent), with an estimated completion date of Mar. 27, 2014. Full and Open bids were solicited with four bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0053).

Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., Greenville, S.C., was awarded on Sept. 25, 2009 a $66,783,359 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Gulf Region District life support services. Work is to be performed in various locations throughout Iraq, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Programs Center, CETSC-CT-U, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-09-C-0057).

Andritz Hydro, Charlotte, N.C., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $63,984,916 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract. This is a contract for the McNary main unit stator winding replacement contract replaces ten stator winding in hydropower generation units #1-4 and 7-12 at McNary Dam in Umatilla, Oregon. Work is to be performed in Umatilla County, Oregon., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Walla Walla, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912EF-09-C-0039).

The Ross Group, Tulsa, Okla., Blackhawk Constructors, San Antonio, Texas, JAMCO Ventures, LLC., San Antonio, Texas., HJD Capitol Electric Inc., San Antonio, Texas., and Dorado Services Inc., Sanford, Fla., were awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $50,000,000 multi-award task order contract for design –build service. The MATOC pool of contracts are for design-build, design-bid-build and construction services to meet the requirements and time constraints for military missions, civil projects, and IIS customers of the Southwestern Division, primary the Fort Worth District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Work is to be performed in various cities across the US with estimated completions date s of Sept. 27, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 14 bids received. U.S. Army of Engineers, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-09-D-0088 (The Ross Group), W9126G-09-D-0089 (Blackhawk Constructors), W9126G-09-A-0090 (JAMCO Ventures), W9126G-09-D-0091( HJD Capitol Electric Inc), And W9126G-09-D-0092 (Dorado Services Inc).

Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc., Gaithersburg, Md., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $42,874,000 firm-fixed-price contract to design/build Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Facility, Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware. Work is to be performed in Dover, Del., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. Ninety bids were solicited with seven bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-09-C-0063).

M.A. Mortenson Company, Minnesota, Minn., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $14,690,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the design and construction a standard COF for one company with an integrated admin module. The six companies COF includes a 16,120 square feet admin module, a readiness storage building totaling 45,118 square feet, including arms storage building of 9,405 square feet, and covered canopy area of 11,340 square feet. The COF includes a 4,990 square foot admin module, a readiness storage building of 9,405 square feet, and a covered hardstand of 2,328 square feet. Work is to be performed in Fort Hood, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2011. Three bids solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0021).

Russell Construction Inc., Davenport, Iowa., was awarded on Sept. 27, 2009 a $13,034,600 firm-fixed-price contract for the renovation of building 68 for First Army at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. Work is to be performed in Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via FedBizOpps with 10 bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0086).

Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., Greenville, S.C., was awarded on Sept. 25, 2009 a $12,307,936 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for operations and maintenance, Victory Base Complex, Baghdad, Iraq. Work is to be performed in Bagdad, Iraq., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 21, 2011. Ten bids were solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Programs Center, CETAC-CT-U, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-04-D-0004).

Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $11,720,873 cost-plus-award-fee contract. This contract is for the Distribution Management Center (DMC) support services required by the United States Army Sustainment Command (ASC), DMC within and outside the continental United States (CONUS and OCONUS) in support of Army Force Generation. This support will enable the government to continue establishment of and perform DMC functions at Headquarters ASC and at selected locations CONUS and OCONUS to establish a unity of effort providing a centralized common operating picture. Work is to be performed in Fort Bragg, N.C., (8.69 percent), Fort Campbell, Ky., (3.51 percent), Fort Carson, Colo., (3.06 percent), Fort Drum, N.Y., (4.10 percent), Fort Hood, Texas., (8.84 percent), Fort Lewis, Wash., (5.21 percent), Fort Riley, Kan., (3.47 percent), Fort Stewart, Ga., (3.75 percent), Fort Sill, Okla., (1.60 percent), Fort Bliss, Texas., (3.00 percent), Fort Huachuca, Ariz., (0.68 percent), Fort Benning, Ga., (2.13 percent), Fort Wainright, Ark., (3.49 percent), Fort Richardson, Ark., (2.81 percent), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii., (4.19 percent), Fort McPherson, Ga., (2.32 percent), HQ, Rock Island Arsenal., (31.46 percent), with an estimated completion date of Mar. 27, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0053).

J & J Contractors, Lowell, Mass., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $11,417,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an Army reserve center, organizational maintenance shop, and unheated storage building, Kingston, N.Y. Work is to be performed in Kingston, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via FedBizOpps with 10 bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0088).

Bid D Construction Corp., Salt Lake City, Utah., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $10,882,320 firm-fixed-price contract. Work on this project consists of construction of a single story, single bay 38,300 Square feet maintenance hangars. The project includes construction of the primary hangar facility and associated roadways and utilities; reinforced concrete foundation and floor slabs; steel frame with metal sheathing, masonry veneer, standing seam metal roofing, fire protection, airfield paving for approach apron; parking areas, lighting, electrical, site and communications infrastructure. Work is to be performed at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 28, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 15 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District-CESPA-CT, Albuquerque, N.M., is the contracting activity (W912PP-09-C-0034).

Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC., Dallas, Texas., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $10,239,989 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is to design and construct a standard design medium tactical equipment maintenance facility (TEMF) for the Patriot Battery. This TEMF will include an organizational parking area, an organizational storage building, a POL storage building, a hazardous waste storage building, special foundations and information systems. Support facilities include site utilities to TEMF. Work is to be performed in Fort Hood, Texas., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2011. Five bids solicited with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-D-0022).

American International Contractors, Incorp., Arlington, Va., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $9,972,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the construction of the SOF Training Range at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The work consists of the construction of a two-story shooting house, an indoor range, breach and storage facilities a test fire bunker and bunker road, and related site work and utilities. Work is to be performed in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Forty bids were solicited with 14 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Programs Center, CETAC-CT-M, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-09-C-0055).

R.C. Construction Company, Inc., Greenwood, Miss., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $8,852,400 firm-fixed-price contract. This project includes the demolition, hazardous material abatement, repair, and renovation of the nine buildings one story Old Bowley School complex. Renovated space will be provided for administrative space; a combination of open office space and private offices will be utilized. Work is to be performed in Fort Bragg, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 3, 2010. Six bids were solicited with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-D-0011).

Arviso Construction Company, Inc., Fort Wingate, N.M., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $8,720,690 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of a child development center. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with nine bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-09-C-0048).



M-C Industries, Incorp., Topeka, Kan., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $8,500,000 firm-fixed-price contract to procure 730 chemical protective patient warp kits. Work is to be performed in Monticello, Iowa., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 15, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center, Rock Island, CCTA-AR-C, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52H09-09-C-0125).

McTech Corp., Kansas Vity, Mo., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $8,478,549 firm-fixed-contract. This contract is for the design and construction of a small 31,200 square foot standard design Brigade Headquarters Facility. Primary facilities include parking, building information systems, connection to energy monitoring control systems and installation of intrusion detection system, supporting facilities include utilities; electric service; exterior lighting, fire protection and alarm system, paving, walks, curbs, and gutters, parking; erosion control, storm drainage; site grading and contouring; information systems, site improvement, and power distribution extension service. Work is to be performed in Fort Hood, Texas with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2011. Four bids were solicited with one bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0026).

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $8,126,971 firm-fixed-price contract for the maintenance dredging, Station 99+000 to Station 250+440, inland waterway, Delaware River to Chesapeake Bay, Delaware and Maryland. Work is to be performed in Chesapeake City, Md., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 20, 2010. Nine bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-09-C-0058).

Raytheon Company, El Segundo, Calif., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $6,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The contractor shall provide services in support of testing & evacuation, repair & return of inoperative gunner's integrated tow sight and turrent components for government of Kuwait Desert Warrior vehicles, in support of the government's Foreign Military Sales program with the government of Kuwait. Work is to be performed in El Segundo, Calif., (54 percent), Carlsbad, Calif., (1 percent), and Canada (45 percent) with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2014. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-G-0003).

Bancroft GS, Inc., Wilmington, Del., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $5,868,500 firm-fixed-price contract for the design-build skills development center and car wash, Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware. Work is to be performed in Dover, Del., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. Ninety One Bids were solicited with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-09-C-0062).

Scrufari Construction Company, Inc., was awarded on Sept. 28, 2009 a $5,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of a community activity center/dining facility. Work is to be performed in Niagara County, Niagara Falls, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2011. Fifty bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0092).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
U.S. Foodservice, La Mirada, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $60,979,048 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity indefinite delivery sole source contract for full line food distribution. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. Contract funds will 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, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM300-09-D-3312).

NAVY
BAE Systems, Land & Armaments L.P., U.S. Combat Systems, Minneapolis, Minn. is being awarded a $18,461,700 Not-To-Exceed (NTE) modification to previously awarded contract for the fy09 canister production requirements for MK-14 MOD 2 canisters to support integration of the TOMAHAWK missile into the MK 41 vertical launching system. Work will be performed in Aberdeen, S.D., (73 precent), Odessa, Mo., (16 precent), and Minneapolis, Minn., (11 precent) and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5317).

Army Establishes Program Executive Office Integration to Support Modernization

The Department of the Army announced to today that it established the Program Executive Office (PEO) Integration to support current and future acquisitions programs. This office supports the April 2009 Secretary of Defense decision to cancel Future Combat Systems (FCS) and restructure the program in accordance with guidance by the Defense Acquisition Executive to the Army outlined in the June 2009 Acquisition Decision Memorandum.

PEO Integration will oversee several project and product management offices which focus on the Ground Combat Vehicle, the Network, and Brigade Combat Team (BCT) modernization.

"It is important for the Army to establish a new PEO," said Acquisition Executive and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Dean G. Popps. "We are moving forward with efforts to improve our ability to equip brigade combat teams, and to modernize the Army consistent with the Army force generation model. PEO integration will enable better portfolio management."

As part of the Army's transition to a new modernization strategy, this new PEO will enhance the Army's ability to develop and deliver improved warfighter capabilities needed in current and future contingency operations, such as identifying threats from standoff positions, gathering and disseminating real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information down to the soldier level, removing soldiers from potential danger by using unmanned systems and providing the BCT with a 40-kilometer precision-strike and all-weather capability.

For more information, please contact Maj. Jimmie Cummings, Army Public Affairs at (703) 697-7591.

Pentagon Efforts Target Preventable Accident Reduction

By Jessica E. Andrews
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - Accidents on and off duty pose a greater threat than combat to U.S. servicemembers' lives, and Defense Department leaders continually strive to eliminate them. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has challenged the department to step up its investment in safety technologies, incorporate best safety practices of the corporate world and hold leaders accountable.

"We have no greater responsibility than to take care of those who volunteer to serve," Gates said.

Since July 2003, the Defense Safety Oversight Council has worked to reduce preventable accidents in the military, which affect operational readiness and cost the department more than $3 billion annually.

Military officials regularly review statistics examining preventable accidents across the board for all services, including civilian "lost day" rates, private vehicle fatality rates, injury rates and aviation Class A accident rates – those that result in loss of life or aircraft damage of more than $1 million.

A data-driven approach established metrics to show which areas were doing well, and which needed greater prevention efforts -- information that routinely is presented to Defense Department leaders so they can see where improvement is needed and focus efforts in that direction.

In fiscal 2002, civilian "lost day" rates, or days in which an employee missed work due to an injury, cost the department almost $200 million, with 157,337 lost work days. In fiscal 2008, the department had 74,681 fewer lost days, saving more than $90 million.

Officials credit the improvement in part to programs such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program, which the Defense Department adopted. VPP is a recognition program managed by OSHA for work sites with world-class safety and health management systems.

The VPP Center of Excellence helps military installations set performance-based safety and health management criteria for management commitment, employee involvement, hazard recognition and mitigation and employee training. Success in implementing these criteria results in reduced workplace injuries, illnesses and lost work days.

For example, Marine Corps Base Barstow, Calif., went from having the worst lost work day rate in 2005 to one of the best in 2008. The number of Defense Department VPP Star sites has risen dramatically over the past year; the department now has 25 VPP Star sites, with seven pending review with OSHA this year.

The department also is reducing private vehicle accidents, which were down 32 percent in fiscal 2009, compared to fiscal 2002. The Navy's fatality rate reduction was the highest, with a 60 percent decrease, and the Air Force had the best continuous reduction rate, with an overall 31 percent decrease.

With initiatives such as the Travel Risk Planning System, or TRiPs, and the Civilian Driver History Profile Pilot, department officials are focusing on potential risks before they become fatalities.

TRiPs is a Web-based tool used to identify active duty servicemembers who might be at risk for a motor vehicle accident while traveling on leave or pass. The Driver History Profile Pilot monitors off-base driving records and prepares customized reports to leadership, who can direct at-risk people to training and other interventions.

A task force focusing on private vehicle accidents identifies root causes and hazards through in-depth data analysis; the results determine the thrust of safety media campaigns.

To address military injuries, the officials have focused on serious vehicle accidents and sponsored initiatives such as an alert device to reduce Humvee rollovers. The military training task force also sponsored an initiative that successfully demonstrated a brace that can prevent and reduce ankle injuries by parachuters in training jumps.

Sports-related injuries also receive attention. The Leadership Injury Prevention Training distance-learning course gives leaders information and tools to prevent injuries at their level of influence. The online courseware recently earned the prestigious Bronze Omni Intermedia Award for outstanding media production that "engages, empowers and enlightens."

"Safety is about preserving our combat assets," said Joseph Angello, the Defense Safety Oversight Committee's executive director. "In the middle of a war, we prevented needless loss of life and equipment, and are continuing on that downward trend. DSOC metrics show that overall accidents have been reduced every year since 2002.

"There is significant improvement based on where we were," he continued. "Accountability and leadership are essential in achieving our safety goals."

Defense Department officials have embraced technology that makes military equipment safer and have initiated programs to raise awareness of preventable accidents.

Class A aviation accidents, for example, have seen a 45 percent reduction from 2002 to 2009.

After Air Force Col. (Dr.) Peter Mapes, a pilot-physician for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, briefed Navy Vice Adm. Thomas Kilcline, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Naval Air Force, on the importance of using a GPS system onboard any military service helicopter to reduce accidents the military labels as "controlled flight into terrain."

Kilcline made using a GPS system a top priority for naval aviation. Such accidents are the leading cause of death among Army and Air Force helicopter crews, claiming an average of six aircraft and 10 people per year.

"Every single life costs us dearly as a nation," Mapes said. "This GPS system is remarkable in detecting weather hazards and other dangers that could easily save a pilot's life."

(Jessica E. Andrews works in the readiness programming and assessment directorate in the office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.)

Captain Provides Glimpse Into Relief Effort

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - A physician assistant from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing provided his unit at Hickam Air Force Base with a first-hand account from tsunami-torn American Samoa. An 8.4 magnitude earthquake struck near the Samoa Islands Sept. 29, causing 15-to-20-foot-high waves to crash inland in the island chain that includes American Samoa, a U.S. possession.

Capt. Nathaniel Duff is a member of the medical team embedded with the CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package that was on the first C-17 Globemaster III sent to American Samoa Sept. 30. CBRNE stands for the various threats the special force package is specially trained to meet: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive.

The medical team's mission is to perform medical triage and initial treatment, provide emergency medical treatment, stage for military and civilian evacuation and provide medical support to patient decontamination and search and extraction teams.

This is the text of an e-mail that Duff sent to his unit once he arrived in the tsunami-torn territory:

"Just finished de-briefing Day 1. Today, we broke our medical search and extraction teams into two groups. I was the designated medical team leader for the group that was deployed to the west side of American Samoa in a small village called Leone.

"Capt. [Jason] Iyomasa and Team 2 went toward Pago Pago. It was a simple fishing village that looked much like rural villages in southern Thailand. We contacted the village chief, who had been waiting since the tsunami hit for help. We were the first contact his village had with any government relief agency.

"The village included at least 30-50 families, a school and a temple/church. Very beautiful spot with clear water and a beach surrounded by lush, verdant forest covered mountains. It was absolutely devastated.

"Most of the village was in rubble and washed deep into the tropical mangrove forest up toward the mountains. Entire contents of homes, boats, full-size pick-up trucks and cars carried through the forest and up the mountainside. It must have been a tremendous wall of water to create that much damage.

"After talking with the village chief, we learned that a small, six-year-old boy was missing from his village and an 11-year-old girl was missing from an adjacent village. We set up an organized search grid and went out in five-man teams lead by a local villager into the hot, humid mangrove swamp. The entire area was easily over a mile wide and half-mile deep.

"The air stunk with human and animal excrement, hundreds of dead fish and animals, and rotting food and debris. It was very treacherous wading through knee-deep swamp and climbing over sharp debris with rusty nails, sheet metal, glass and all manner of house debris. We found over-turned trucks 500 yards deep into the jungle upside down in trees.

"The villagers all welcomed us and were grateful that we cared to stop and help, even though we were unsuccessful at locating their child today. The more seriously injured villagers had already been transported to the one hospital in the main town, so we provided basic first aid to any walking wounded, including a big, 300-pound muscular Samoan, nicknamed "The General," who was injured saving his wife from being washed away. He had three broken ribs and his left leg was swollen with infection from open sores and scrapes.

"We've planned two separate missions tomorrow. First, we'll be sending our search and extraction component along with more equipment for heavy lifting, search cameras, mapping equipment, communications, etc., back to Leone tomorrow.

"Second, we've stripped all gear from one CERFP trailer and restocked it specifically for a large medical mission north of Pago Pago. Capt. Iyomasa and Team 2 located a shelter apparently housing about 200 displaced villagers. We'll be setting up a field triage and first-aid station with the majority of our medical team including myself.

"Looks like we also may be hooking up with at least two Navy corpsmen to make this a joint medical effort. The Coast Guard also has a fairly large presence on that side of the island helping to manage the ocean and port damage and hazardous waste, etc.

"Things have been pretty chaotic, since we were essentially in the first wave of 'boots-on-the-ground.' It was very cool to know that we have been able to effectively operate our CERFP mission essentially within 24 hours of being called to duty from Hawaii.

"Logistics and communications have been difficult, to say the least, but everyone in our unit has risen to the challenge in unique ways. You should be very proud to see how mature and professional the CERFP team has performed, but especially our own 154th Medical Group team despite the long hours, heat, stress and emotional exhaustion."

(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Program Offers Housing Assistance for Servicemembers

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - Concerns about housing have been prevalent since the mortgage crisis struck more than a year ago, but servicemembers and certain eligible civilians in the Defense Department can get some help when they're required to move. Joseph Sikes, director for housing and competitive sourcing in the office of the deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, spoke today during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable about a recent Defense Department announcement of temporary expansion of the Homeowners Assistance Program.

The program, which began in the 1960s, will use $555 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to partially reimburse eligible military personnel, surviving spouses, and federal employees whose service to the nation has required them to relocate and sell their primary residence at a loss.

"We think this is really important in the department, because it's hard to concentrate on defending your country if you're worried about your house being foreclosed upon back home," Sikes said. "It's great to be able to actually start to take care of some of those families that are out there right now."

To be eligible for the aid, both the value of the applicant's home and the housing market in the area has to have dropped by at least 10 percent. Sikes said the program doesn't want to buy a lot of houses that are on rocky mortgages, but neither does it want to cull out those who are far behind on payments.

"The theory behind [the base requirement] is that if somebody is in a great market and their house is screwed up, ... they're not going to end up qualifying," he said. "It has to be looked at on an individual basis, because markets are not exactly homogenous."

The aim, he said, is to help those who are going to have trouble selling their home because of the local market and the value of the house itself.

Sikes acknowledged that concern exists that the program is underfunded because the $555 million was an estimated amount included in the stimulus bill. The program's administrators budgeted the funds so they can properly distribute the money through Dec. 31 for permanent-change-of-station moves, he explained, while they continue to seek more funding to continue the program.

"We've set aside money to make sure that we would always be able to take care of the wounded warriors and the surviving spouses, and also to take care of our required [base realignment and closure] moves, which could go out to 2011," he said.

Though some feared initially that BRAC moves would take up the bulk of the program's available funds, Sikes said, 80 to 90 percent of the applications submitted so far have been for permanent changes of station.

"This may be because many of the BRAC moves aren't occurring until 2010 and 2011, but it looks like most of our applications have been related to permanent-change-of-station moves," Sikes said.

About 4 or 5 percent of the applicants have been wounded warriors or surviving spouses. But because no "end" is planned in the program for servicemembers and families in those categories, money already was set aside to accommodate surviving spouses or wounded warriors.

"If anything, we may have done that conservatively, so there could actually be extra money there," Sikes said. "But for now, we're making sure we can pay for people in that awful situation."

As more claims come in and more data can be gathered, Sikes explained, estimates for funding will become more accurate. The program has received 4,000 applications for assistance so far, which Sikes said should be within the program's current budget.

(Ian Graham works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Army Balances Physical, Mental Fitness Training

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

Oct. 2, 2009 - Being "Army Strong" means more than simply being physically fit. Through the Army's recently launched Comprehensive Fitness Program, Army leadership aims to improve all aspects of soldier fitness. Building strong minds and bodies will lead to an overall more resilient force, Army Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, the program's director, said yesterday.

"[The program] is intended for the Army to look at psychological health and fitness historically, the same way the Army has looked at physical health in terms of assessment training," Cornum said in a roundtable discussion with military reporters here. "We need to look at psychological health the same way we look at any other risks."

Active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, as well as Army civilians -- soon will be required to take an online self-evaluation that measures psychological strengths. The Global Assessment Tool is available on the Army Knowledge Online Web site now. The official order to take the assessment should be ready sometime this month, Cornum added, making it mandatory throughout the service.

Every member of the Army -- soldiers and civilian employees -- will be required to take their initial assessment within the next 12 months, and then every two years thereafter. Members will be reminded through a tracking system on their AKO accounts, which is similar to how the Army tracks medical, dental and deployment readiness.

The assessment records individual information pertaining to physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family strengths. Each component is graded on a 1-to-5 scale, 5 being the highest, to determine levels of follow-on training. The training will be done online individually or in groups at the unit level and will include online vignettes and or interactive group sessions, Cornum said.

People shouldn't be discouraged by a low score, Cornum said, noting that no one will be referred to a therapist or chaplain based on the initial assessment. It's simply a tool to give soldiers an idea of their resiliency and educate them on how to improve or help others improve, she explained.

"There is no pass-fail grade," the general said. "We maintain confidentiality, because it is a self-assessment. We just want to teach people to have confidence in themselves. It is intended to improve resiliency through education and training." Everyone will be recommended for follow-on training, Cornum said, which will be available Nov. 1 for each component of the program.

She explained that soldiers who score low or in the median range will be directed through the online system to attend training to improve their weak areas. Those who score very high will be directed to seek training that will help them help others improve.

Each of the program's various dimensions, at the very least, will have follow-on online vignettes to accommodate everyone's situation, Cornum said. Additional follow-on training modules will become available as they are proven effective and endorsed by the Army.

The idea behind the program is "prevention is better than cure," Cornum said.

"It's not a reasonable thing to have a training program for every single problem a person may face," she explained. "It would make much more sense to have sort of a global problem-solving skill set that you could apply to any problem, whether it's personal, within your family or at your unit."

Those skills will be taught early on in soldiers' careers. Formal resiliency training and interactive practical applications are being worked into basic training for enlisted soldiers as well as for new officers attending the Basic Officer Leader's Course.

Master resilience trainers are one of the more important aspects to the program's overall success, the general said. Eventually, every unit down to the lowest echelon will have qualified trainers.

"The best way to train someone is at the junior level," Cornum said. "Just like we don't have sports psychologists or physical therapists leading [physical fitness training] in the morning, we're not going to have subject-matter experts teaching these basic skills and principles. But we are going to give people who are tasked to train it the ability and the knowledge and the tools to train."

So far, 100 soldiers -- mostly noncommissioned officers in drill sergeant positions -- have attended the 10-day course and received certification, Cornum said, and 1,800 more trainers are expected to be certified within the next year.

Army officials are working on making the assessment and follow-on training available to family members. Several Army installations with high operations tempos now offer some sort of resiliency training to families. The families at such posts have expressed positive feedback on the training, saying that it helped reduce deployment stress felt by the families, the general said.

The program shows great promise and has the potential to have a very positive impact on soldiers' lives, Cornum said. Soldiers deal with stress from every aspect of their lives. Repetitive deployments cause stress at home as well as at work. Reducing stress among soldiers and their families will improve the Army's overall mission through retention, increased resiliency and enhanced soldier performance, she added.

"I think we will see a more resilient, self-confident, better-performing Army," she said. "This program is not militarily unique, but it will give people even better tools to actually implement the warrior ethos in the rest of their lives."

American Samoa Relief Efforts Continue

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - The medical support situation in American Samoa has stabilized amid ongoing U.S. relief efforts after a massive tsunami devastated the area this week, a Defense Department official said today. Medical triage, casualty care, shelter and bedding are being administered to those affected by the disaster, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

"It does appear as if the situation is stabilizing a bit -- at least the medical support situation has stabilized," he said. "The hospital there is open, [and] the [Veterans Affairs] clinic on the island has been providing some additional assistance in the treatment of injured there."

An 8.4 magnitude earthquake struck near the Samoa Islands region Sept. 29, causing devastating 15-to-20-foot-high waves to cascade inland across the South Pacific archipelago, including the eastern side of American Samoa, a U.S. possession.

Three C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes flew from Hawaii to deliver personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, food and water, and mortuary-affairs assets. A fourth flight is expected to arrive soon, and two other C-17 flights are being coordinated, Whitman said.

"It's the very basic types of things that you need when people are all of a sudden without any shelter and all of a sudden need assistance with the basic necessities," Whitman said. "Food, personal hygiene items, that type of [assistance]."

Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers and subject-matter experts are working on power regeneration and handling issues related to debris and waste water.

The request for Defense Department assistance in providing medical triage, hazardous material response, mass casualty care and strategic airlift came from FEMA.

FEMA maintains well-stocked warehouses in Guam and Honolulu and is deploying resources to support 70,000 survivors in American Samoa survivors over the coming week.

Former WAC Serves in Iraq

By Chanel S. Weaver
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - Some people turn to reference books or the Internet for a lesson in military history, but the personnel at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division in Iraq have another option. They simply can have a conversation with Pat Riley. Riley enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in June 1973. She was a member of the last all-female basic training class at Fort McClellan, Ala. Thirty-six years later, she still serves her country, but this time as a Gulf Region Division civilian.

Riley said a lot has changed for women in the Army since the 1970s. She enjoys telling stories of her early days in the Women's Army Corps.

"When I joined the Army, a woman had only two career choices: she could either enter the medical or clerical field," she said.

Women not only had few career choices in the 1970s, but also had classes in applying make-up during basic training, but no classes in soldiering skills, Riley said. Sexual harassment, she added, was prevalent in the Army during the 1970s.

"One boss literally chased me around the desk and made continuous sexual innuendos," she recalled.

Today, Riley is pleased to see sexual harassment prevention classes are mandatory for all Army personnel. She also is amazed to see the diverse career opportunities now available for women in the Army.

"I think it's just wonderful to see that women have progressed so much in the military," she said. "Today, a woman can choose almost any career field she wants. Women are truck drivers and mechanics, among many other things. For example, when I flew to Iraq from Kuwait, the crew chief was a female. We have come a long way."

Riley said believes today's female servicemembers stand on the shoulders of the brave women who served before them. She's not the only one in her family with a history of serving her country; her sister is a Navy veteran.

"I think women like my sister and I paved the way and opened the door for the women of today," she said.

Both Riley and her sister served during Operation Desert Storm as well as the present operations in Iraq. Riley said their mother once remarked, "You know the world has changed when you are buying kitchen gadgets for your sons and worrying about whether your daughters are going to war."

Riley, a Colorado native, is permanently assigned to the Alaska District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She volunteered for a six-month assignment to support the Iraqi reconstruction effort a few months ago. "After the attacks on Sept. 11, I wanted to do something patriotic," she said.

Her wish was granted when she was selected for a position as a realty specialist with the Gulf Region Division. She ensures that land leased by the U.S. government is returned to its original owners and processes claims for landowners to be compensated for the U.S. government's use of their property.

Although Riley no longer is in uniform, she said, her job as a civilian is rewarding.

"GRD has an important mission in rebuilding Iraq," said Riley. "The work here is very interesting, and I am pleased to be a part of it."

The Gulf Region Division has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. government and the government of Iraq. Since 2004, the division has completed 5,257 projects throughout Iraq valued at more than $8.9 billion, and has 361 projects ongoing.

(Chanel S. Weaver works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division in Iraq.)

Marines, Sailors Bring Aid to Philippines

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - The U.S. military is providing critically needed disaster-relief supplies to mitigate suffering and prevent further loss of life in the wake of Tropical Storm Ketsana, which struck the Philippines on Sept. 25. "Marines and sailors are working with the Philippine government to rapidly deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the areas the Philippine government deems most in need," said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, spokesman for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

U.S. military personnel are delivering relief supplies to remote areas by way of air and ground, providing limited medical and dental care and establishing long-range communication capabilities for relief efforts.

A team of about 100 3rd MEF Marines flew from Okinawa to the Philippines Sept. 29 to assess the situation. The next day, U.S. Navy ships USS Denver, USS Tortuga, and USS Harpers Ferry, with embarked Marines and sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, set sail from Okinawa toward the Philippines.

Yesterday, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, commander of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, flew to the Philippines from Okinawa to lead planning and humanitarian assistance efforts.

Medical personnel attached to the MEU set up a medical civil affairs program at an elementary school in Marikina City yesterday that provided care for more than 760 medical and dental patients. A food-distribution mission yesterday provided more than 2,400 meals for Quezon City residents.

C-130 transport aircraft from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing already have delivered humanitarian relief aid to the region. U.S. forces temporarily deployed in Zamboanga provided 20 personnel, a helicopter and
four Zodiac inflatable boats to move food and medical supplies and conduct initial rescue operations in the Manila area.

A 3rd MEF humanitarian assistance support team will arrive today to assess the operation and request additional support the areas hardest hit by the storm may need.

(From a 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force news release.)