Friday, October 23, 2009

Defense Department Takes Aim at Drug Abuse

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - "Drug Free is the Key" for the Defense Department's Red Ribbon Week this year as it works to raise public awareness and mobilize communities to combat tobacco, alcohol and drug use among military personnel, civilians and families. The observation of Red Ribbon Week begins today and continues through Oct. 31.

"Looking forward, there's a lot of challenges in front of us," Army Col. Ronald Shippee, director of the Drug Testing and Program Policy for Tricare Management Activity, told those gathered here today for the event's kickoff. "Right now one of the biggest problems we're facing is the abuse of prescription drugs. The whole country is facing this problem. We're not alone."

Shippee's program encompasses more than just drug testing, he said. "To run a successful program, it's got to be drug testing, education, prevention."

Shippee has seen the affects of substance abuse on the military. He was assigned to a unit in Vietnam affected by drug abuse, but didn't realize how pervasive the problem was until he got to the U.S. Army War College.

"At the War College in Carlyle [Pa.], they'll tell you that was a near-death experience for the U.S. Army," Shippee said. "In '73, [the department] had an amnesty program; 16,000 guys came forward with a heroin problem."

Today, there's a threat of a repeat of the heroin problem as servicemembers fight in Afghanistan, Shippee said. The country's main crop is the opium poppy, from which heroin is produced.

"We're in Afghanistan where there's heroin everywhere," he said in an earlier interview. "We've taken an extremely aggressive approach. We now screen every [fluid sample] for heroin.

"We do 4-and-a-half million tests a year," he added. "The operative term in our program is deterrence. We know we don't catch everybody with deterrence. That only comes from an aggressive drug-testing program and an education and a treatment [program]."

The message may not be getting out as strongly as it needs to overall, said Peggy Sapp, National Family Partnership president. Though casual drug use in America dropped by half from 1980 until 1991, it's inching back up.

"The grassroots, the people who really have to deliver the message, maybe don't really have the message as strongly," Sapp said during the kickoff. "We have a lot of work to do. The fight is not over."
The National Family Partnership created Red Ribbon Week in 1988 as a way to honor Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena, who was kidnapped and murdered by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Defense Department officially has participated in Red Ribbon Week since 1990. It's also a chance to recognize department entities that promote the anti-substance abuse message.

The department presented the 19th Annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award to six units and agencies. The award recognizes those with the best programs for reduces the demand for drugs.. The awards went to:

-- Stuttgart Army Substance Abuse Program, U.S. Army Garrison, Stuttgart, Germany;

-- Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Drug Demand Reduction Campaign, Camp Pendleton, Calif.;

-- Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Drug Education for Youth, Norfolk, Va.;

-- Tyndall Air Force Base Drug Demand Reduction Program, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.;

-- Alabama National Guard Counterdrug Program, Drug Demand Reduction, Montgomery, Ala.; and

-- National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Drug Demand Reduction Program.

The 2009 Secretary of Defense Fulcrum Shield Award, which recognizes the best youth-based programs affiliated with a U.S. military service, defense agency or the National Guard, went to the Tehama County Young Marines of Red Bluff, Calif.

Red Ribbon Week also is a chance for the department to highlight programs that are important for the military and defense agencies throughout the year and to extend its outreach.

The programs are in place for servicemembers, as well as their families. Tricare officials urge beneficiaries dealing with substance abuse issues, their own or those of a loved one, to take advantage of the many available options to treat substance abuse and disorders, according to a Red Ribbon Week news release. Services include detoxification, rehabilitation and outpatient group and family therapy.

Some of the programs include the award-winning "Quit Tobacco. Make Everyone Proud" smoking cessation campaign. Users can develop a personalized plan for quitting, play games, listen to podcasts, connect to online cessation programs and chat with a trained cessation counselor seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.

"That Guy," is another program targeting 18 to 24-year-old servicemembers. It highlights social disapproval of excessive drinking by featuring embarrassing consequences.

More information about Red Ribbon Week and the drug demand reduction programs offered by the department and Tricare can be found on the Red Ribbon Week Web site.

Mullen Vows Continued Support for Korean Military

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

Oct. 23, 2009 - As South Korea's military transitions to full operational control, it's important to remember the past 60 years of U.S. commitment to the country and to not waver in that support, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen talked yesterday with servicemembers and defense civilians at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, Korea.

He spoke about his earlier meetings with his South Korean counterpart, citing "tremendous change" on the horizon. The Korean military is expected to assume a larger defense responsibility there in April 2012.

The alliance will only get stronger, the chairman said, with continued commitment from the United States.

The U.S.-South Korea alliance dates to the Korean War in 1950. An armistice was signed in July 1953 with North Korea, unofficially ending the war. The United Nations and U.S. military have maintained a presence in South Korea since then.

"Sometimes you don't think about this, but you are here as a part of that, and sometimes we don't think about how significant that alliance is in terms of preserving the freedom, preserving the democracy that is here in the Republic of Korea," Mullen said. "We are very much supportive of executing and sustain that alliance."

Mullen spent the previous two days with his Korean counterparts reviewing the changes and specifics of their alliance. For the U.S. military stationed there, that means a smaller U.S. footprint. Within the next 10 years, the 28,000 servicemembers that make up U.S. Forces Korea will be cut roughly by 14,000. However, there will be more command-sponsored families and new infrastructure to accommodate them, he said.

In December, about 1,700 U.S. troops with families were there. The number has since grown to 3,100. The chairman said that by the end of 2010 there would be about 4,500 families, noting that the Defense Department is planning to normalize three-year tour lengths there.

"That's a big undertaking, and it's difficult," the admiral said. "We've got to get the schools in, we've got to get the housing in, [and] we've got to have the entire infrastructure in the peninsula upgraded to make sure that we are ready for that transition."

Mullen also talked about changes occurring with the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. and NATO forces are in their ninth year of fighting in the Middle East, but where there was once doubt in Iraq, security is sustained and Iraq now can focus on building its government capacity, he said.

"Most of what's left in Iraq, quite frankly, is politics," he said. "When they have the elections in January, we start a pretty rapid drawdown in the March timeframe ... from 120,000 troops to about 35,000 to 50,000 less than a year from now.

"There was no group that made a bigger difference than men and women in uniform," he said of the progress made in Iraq. "I'm extremely grateful for your service, for the difference ... and the sacrifices that you make.

He added that all U.S. forces will be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, allowing more focus on securing and building a democracy in Afghanistan.

Families also share in the sacrifices servicemembers make in the name of freedom and democracy, the admiral said. Mullen's wife, Deborah, met with spouses there during their visit and also is meeting with spouses of troops in Japan today.

"We try to do this wherever we go to understand what the challenges are for the families," he said. "We couldn't do it without family support, so [family] is a big focus for me."

Mullen credits leadership at all levels within the military for its ability to adjust to the persistent conflicts throughout the world. America values the combat experience of today's military, and maintaining that knowledge is critical to the future armed forces, he said.

"If we don't do that well, we will in fact be in a much more difficult situation at a time where things are changing and the pace will continue for the foreseeable future," he said. "Lead exceptionally well. It's an enormously challenging time."


The Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $853,305,629 cost-plus-incentive-fee/cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPIF/CPFF) contract to provide support in the Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed system support (C4 and D5) in an undefinitized contract action. The contract type will be CPIF/CPFF for this contract only and mature production efforts will transition to fixed-price-incentive in FY11. The place of performance is to be determined pending definitization of the award. Work is expected to be completed Dec. 30, 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $284,965 will expire at the end the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-10-C-0100).

Gulf Copper Ship Repair*, Corpus Christi, Texas (N55236-10-D-0001); JCI Metal Products, Inc.*, Lemon Grove, Calif. (N55236-10-D-0002); Marine and Restaurant Fabricators*, San Diego, Calif. (N55236-10-D-0006); Miller Marine, Inc., National City, Calif. (N55236-10-D-0003); Pacific Ship Repair and Fabrication, Inc.*, San Diego, Calif. (N55236-10-D-0004); and Tecnico Corporation*, Chesapeake, Va. (N55236-10-D-0005), are each being awarded an firm-fixed-price multiple award five-year term contract. The total maximum ceiling amount value for all six contracts combined is $202,000,000. Contract will provide for sheet metal repair and fabrication services onboard Navy ships and other government vessels within a 50-mile radius of San Diego, Calif. These six contracts shall compete for delivery orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. Each contractor shall provide all personnel, management, administrative and production services, material, tools, equipment, and required support to accomplish sheet metal repair and fabrication services. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by October 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $18,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with 12 proposals solicited and six offers received. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Former Draftee to Hang Up Uniform

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - The Army Reserve's top enlisted soldier retires this month from an Army that's vastly different from the one he was drafted into almost 40 years ago. "The Army Reserve has finally arrived," Command Sgt. Maj. Leon E. Caffie said. The Army has learned hard lessons, he added, and the Army Reserve now is on equal footing with the active component. The sergeant major is a big man with a big voice, and he has used that voice to speak - often forcefully - for Army Reserve soldiers throughout his career.

Caffie is one of the last draftees still in uniform. The nation drafted the young Floridian on April 2, 1970.

"I went through the induction center at Jacksonville, Fla., and eventually ended up at basic at Fort Jackson [S.C.] and advanced infantry training. I came home, and 11 days later my Dad drove me to the airport and I was shipped out to the Republic of Vietnam," he said during a recent interview. "When I went in, it was at night and there were tracers coming in and tracers going out. That has a tendency to focus your attention."

The sergeant major served with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam's Central Highlands. He earned his Combat Infantryman's Badge and his first Bronze Star in Vietnam.

In 1972, Caffie went back to Florida and entered the inactive reserve. He used the GI Bill to go to college, and in 1974 joined an Army Reserve unit in Gainesville, Fla.

"It was an eye-opening experience," he said. "It was a typical Army Reserve unit of the time. There were no expectations. You just showed up, they called your name, [and] you sat around and killed two days.

"Did you accomplish anything?" he continued. "Nothing. It was a true test of being a highly motivated reservist."

That era was the low point for the Army Reserve, he said. The United States was coming out of an unpopular war. Society was going through its own changes. Americans looked down at the Army Reserve – indeed, at all military services.

The mission of the Army Reserve was to be the strategic reserve in case of a Soviet attack against Western Europe. "But there was little training and little equipment," the sergeant major said. Still, he stuck with the service and took on more responsible and demanding jobs. Even when serving undercover for a civilian law enforcement job in Florida - Caffie wore a beard while training troops - he continued to serve.

And the Army Reserve itself began changing.

"The Reserve became more professional, and better at choosing personnel and keeping them motivated," he said. Army leaders also refined the Army Reserve mission, placing more of the combat support and combat service support in the component.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and reservists all over America got called to active duty. Some Army Reserve units did very well, Caffie said, while others needed more training once they reported.

"Overall, the Army Reserve accomplished its mission, but it woke up leaders about the problems," he said.

Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm really changed the Army Reserve, he said. "It made us have a specific interest in how we train soldiers and what data we collect," he explained.

In the 1990s, Army reservists served in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Africa, Asia and Central and South America. They performed real jobs, affecting real missions, Caffie said. "The military could not operate without the reserves," he said. Most of those soldiers were volunteers.

With the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001, the lives of reservists again changed. By then, Caffie was a sergeant major, and he plunged into preparing his units for mobilization.

He deployed as the command sergeant major of the 377th Theater Support Command based in Belle Chasse, La., in November 2002.

"That was another eye-opening experience for me when we deployed to Fort Polk, La., for the mobilization," he said. "It was insulting." The mobilization deployment highlighted the shortcomings in the process, Caffie said.

Many of the reservists weren't trained for their jobs.
Many had not qualified in their weapons. Many members of the unit were disqualified because of medical troubles "that they knew about, but we didn't," the sergeant major said.

"But the most disheartening thing was to be placed in inadequate barracks on north Fort Polk," he said. "There were holes in the floor, with weeds growing up through. That just showed me the lack of respect that they had for Army Reserve soldiers. I'm not one to stay quiet about what I perceive to be unfair, and I voiced my opinion."

It remained a learning experience even once the unit got to the desert.

"We needed to train a multitude of people to do certain jobs rather than just relying on the indispensible person," Caffie said. "If that person got hit by a bus, what do you do then?" The unit also had to fire people for being grossly incompetent.

But the service has learned its lesson, Caffie said.

"Today is another story, and I always say the United States Army Reserve has arrived," he said. "It's very difficult, if not impossible, now to distinguish our reserve soldiers from active duty."

Troops are trained at the units, qualify with weapons and understand the requirements for deployment, he said. Units come together and go through realistic scenarios alongside active-duty counterparts. Leaders understand what information is important and how to collect it. "We still have a way to go - because you can always get better - but we have arrived," he said.

On Aug. 29, 2006, this former draftee was sworn in as the command sergeant major of the Army Reserve.

"In Kabul or Baghdad, we have soldiers volunteering to do tremendous things," he said. "These young men and women are always going beyond the expectations. They are truly American heroes. I do everything in my power to ensure that their voices are heard, and we need to tell their stories."

Caffie also is a spokesman for Army Reserve families. While the service is addressing the problems that are unique to the service, he said, more needs to be done because the service was so far behind. Reservists are dispersed around the country; they are not gathered on Army posts, and benefits need to be dispersed to where they live, he said.

"When we mobilize an Army Reserve soldier, we not only mobilize the soldier and the family, but the neighborhood and the town," he said. "We need to do a better job of telling these friends and neighbors what incredible things their soldiers are doing."

The sergeant major said he decided to retire simply "because it's time." He will travel for a bit with his wife, and will move back to Gainesville, where he expects to get involved in helping local reservists and other pet projects.

Gates Finds Broad Support for New Missile Defense Approach

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - NATO defense ministers are expressing broad support for the new U.S. approach to missile defense in Europe and the opportunity it may offer to make Russia a partner in the effort, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. Speaking to reporters during a NATO defense ministers conference here, Gates said he's hearing "quite broad support for the new approach," as well as "interest in extending our hand to the Russians to invite them to partner with us in this."

Gates reported widespread agreement that the proposed changes "will provide for more capable and flexible missile defense systems sooner than was the case under the previous plan, and with a greater capacity to adapt as threats evolve."

The new approach will make it easier for the United States to connect its systems to the allies' radars and antimissile capabilities, as well as those of Russia, should it decide to participate, he said.

"We have said for a long time that we would welcome Russia" as a partner in missile defense, Gates said.

A radar system based in southern Russia "would be a real asset to the overall defense of Europe, particularly from Iranian missiles," he told reporters. "This new system would make tying it in easier."

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters the plan "puts missile defense more in a NATO context," and that it will provide defense against "a real and growing" missile threat.
Much of today's conference focused on NATO's role in Afghanistan, Gates said. The ministers discussed the need to reform the International Security Assistance Force's operational culture, to improve its ability to counter improvised explosive devices and to support the Afghan security force training mission.

Gates said he noted several NATO milestones during his discussions. The Kosovo security force obtained its initial operating capability, thanks in large measure to NATO's role there, he said. In addition, NATO's new, dedicated heavy airlift wing performed its first mission, resupplying Swedish forces in Afghanistan.

And after extensive effort, the allied ground surveillance program went into effect. The program is considered an essential element in increasing situational awareness for NATO forces.

Red Cross to Distribute Holiday Cards

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - The American Red Cross again will sponsor a national "Holiday Mail for Heroes" campaign to receive and distribute holiday cards to servicemembers, veterans and their families in the United States and abroad. The card campaign includes those working and receiving care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.

A special P.O. Box address will be published the first week of November online at

In the meantime, people shouldn't send cards to Walter Reed unless they are addressed to a specific wounded warrior.

Due to security restrictions, Walter Reed cannot accept generic mail addressed to "A Recovering Soldier" or "Any Soldier." In past years, hundreds of cards were returned to senders because of generic addresses, many sent in response to misleading e-mails.

The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc. will partner for the third year to provide screening of all mail sent to the special P.O. Box address. Cards postmarked no later than Dec. 7 will reach servicemembers recovering at Walter Reed.

(From a Walter Reed Army Medical Center news release.)

Army Lab Aims to Lighten Soldiers' Load

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - Soldiers carry a heavy load, with basic body armor alone weighing about 45 pounds, not to mention firearms, ammunition, radio equipment, food and other tools they may need for a mission. The Army Research Laboratory's Electrochemistry Branch in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate is working to lighten their load by creating fuel cells that are lighter and more efficient and durable than existing batteries.

Cynthia Lundgren, chief of the directorate at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., described the benefits of fuel cell technology during an Oct. 21 webcast of "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on Pentagon Web radio.

The new fuel cells will help soldiers by lessening the number of batteries they carry for missions lasting longer than 24 hours, Lundgren explained.

Depending on their role in the battalion, some soldiers may carry up to 35 pounds of batteries with them for a 72-hour mission, she said. She'd like to see that weight reduced to 12 pounds.

"We'd like to reduce the weight a soldier carries by a third to a half," she said.

Fuel cells use a chemical reaction between air and a fuel to create energy, which in turn is harnessed as electricity. Hydrogen is the most commonly used chemical fuel, but because it's very reactive, it can be dangerous to carry around. It's also difficult to create and make available for soldiers' use.

"Hydrogen is a pretty energy-dense fuel, but it's a gas, so it has to be condensed ... and it's not very convenient," Lundgren said. "Logistically, it's not a very friendly fuel. And carrying hydrogen-gas bottles around isn't exactly something soldiers want to do."

Lundgren is trying to find fuel chemicals that will have an efficient electrochemical reaction with as few safety issues as possible for its carriers.

"If a lithium-ion battery is punctured, lithium is incredibly reactive and will react with moisture in the air," she said. "Anybody who's seen or heard of battery fires from laptops will appreciate that. We're trying to make those batteries last longer, be lighter and be safer."

Lundgren's team has been testing fuel cells using propane and simple alcohols like methanol to act as power sources for mobile, portable equipment. Fuel cells are being built and designed to handle power usage as high as megawatts -- the kind of power needed for a large vehicle like a submarine or aircraft carrier -- and as low as microwatts.

Their primary focus with higher wattage cells right now is allowing for "silent watch," when a vehicle can be turned off but the electronics can still run at full power. Fuel cells providing this capability generally run from 10 to 40 kilowatts, but the Army requires JP8, a jet fuel, to be used to reduce the logistics burden to supply the fuel.

"Small, portable fuel cells ... run pretty much like a battery [the fuel is prepackaged and can be exchanged like a battery]," she said. "But once you get over a kilowatt, it becomes harder to sustain logistically.

"Part of our reformation research is how to convert JP8 into a fuel that a fuel cell can use," she continued. "This is mostly geared for auxiliary power units .... The efficiency of [a fuel cell] is much higher than the vehicle using its own fuel in an internal combustion engine, and it allows for silent watch."

Soldiers and researchers are testing new ideas, ideally giving warfighters a lighter load to carry and greater operational capacity in the field, whether it's powering a small navigational tool or allowing them to silently run unmanned vehicles.

McChrystal to Brief as NATO Ministers Focus on Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and his fellow NATO defense ministers will hear today from the commander of the alliance's International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal will offer his on-the-ground assessment of conditions and progress in building the Afghan security forces in both numbers and capability during an alliance defense ministers conference that's under way here, NATO officials said.

Gates will participate in several sessions focused on the NATO mission in Afghanistan. During a working lunch, he'll meet with allied ministers and their counterparts from non-NATO nations contributing troops in Afghanistan. Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and representatives of several international organizations involved in Afghanistan also will participate.

Deliberations also are expected to address resourcing, as well as a new training mission NATO plans to launch for Afghan security forces.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called yesterday for more forward momentum in Afghanistan, including a redoubling of efforts to help with reconstruction and development. But the focus, he said, also needs to include holding the new Afghan government to account, dealing with corruption and building Afghan security forces so they are strong enough to provide security in Afghanistan, with NATO in a security role.

"Afghanistan needs to be made strong enough to resist the insurgency if it is to be able to resist terrorism," he said. "It's as simple as that, and that is the essence of the McChrystal approach."

Rasmussen warned that foot-dragging in providing the needed support only will make the challenge bigger. "We have to do more today if we want to be able to do less tomorrow," he said.

"To my mind, it is clear," he said in a statement issued before yesterday's opening session. "Hoping that Taliban extremists will never again host al-Qaida is not a strategy. They did it in the past. We can only assume they will do it in future."

As Gates participates in the ministerial conference, he said he's buoyed by a renewed sense of purpose he's detected within the alliance.

"Frankly, since the NATO summit last spring, I have seen more energy and more commitment on behalf of both the military and civilian leadership in the alliance than I have seen in the previous two years that I was in this job," Gates told reporters before arriving here last night.

Gates said both he and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have sensed the shift during meetings and telephone conversations with their NATO counterparts.

"There seems to be a renewed commitment that we have to do this and get this done right," he said.

"This is an alliance issue," he emphasized.

Collaboration Drove Earthquake Relief, Commander Says

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 23, 2009 - In the aftermath of last month's devastating earthquakes in Indonesia, rapid response and cooperation led to a successful humanitarian relief effort there, a Navy commander said. Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, commander of the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet based in Okinawa, Japan, described the operation, lessons learned and his use of social media to keep the public informed during an Oct. 22 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.

Landolt was tracking seasonal storm activity when a series of powerful earthquakes and aftershocks erupted in and near Sumatra, Indonesia, on Sept. 30. While the USS Denver, which already was under way to the Philippines, and the USS McCampbell headed to the region, Landolt flew in with a humanitarian assistance and survey team.

"There was some benefit in not having forces at the ready, because it allowed us the opportunity to really focus them when they got there, by allowing that [humanitarian assistance and survey team] to survey and decide where help was needed," Landolt said.

When he arrived, Landolt said, three out of four hospitals were leveled in Padang, a city of about 1 million people. In the countryside, virtually all structures and roads were destroyed. The 353rd Special Operations Group out of Kadena Air Base, Japan, quickly set up communications, and a newly operational Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Ready Response Team turned a soccer field into a hospital.

Good cooperation took place among the Indonesian government, the U.S. Embassy and international relief organizations, including a team from Australia that brought reverse osmosis water purification units, Landolt said.

These factors contributed to a successful operation that offers positive lessons for relief operations, he noted.

One lesson learned is to take care of densely populated urban areas before moving to the countryside, he said.

"If you have water, sanitation, hygiene and people living in tents, they are not going to migrate; they are not going to become refugees or internally displaced people," Landolt said.

As an experiment, Landolt augmented his daily meetings with officials by keeping the public informed via the social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

"I tried to use Twitter as a way to try to talk to somebody, say in the fifth grade, he explained. "As I learned something that I thought was useful, I would [send a 'tweet'] out and post it; a factoid on what we were doing or what kind of capacity a CH-53 helicopter has, for instance."

Quick and coordinated actions to provide essential aid in Padang stabilized the situation and prevented what could have been an outbreak of infectious disease. When the USS Denver arrived Oct. 8, Landolt said, they immediately were able to focus on airlifting tents, water and food to people in remote areas.

Within four days, he said, they delivered more than 100,000 pounds of cargo to people in need.

In the midst of relief operations, it can be difficult to discern when conditions have improved enough to wrap up work, Landolt said. He received some good, light-hearted advice on the subject from a member of another relief team, which he shared in his final Twitter update.

"You always want to leave when they're still smiling at you and waving at you with all five fingers," Landolt said, repeating his 'tweet'.

The social networking updates have garnered positive feedback and now serve as a permanent record of what went right during the relief operation, Landolt said. The full account is available on the "Amphibious Force SEVENTH Fleet" Facebook page.

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

1 Dead, 8 Wounded in Army-Navy Exercise

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

Oct. 23, 2009 - One military member was killed and eight were injured last night after an Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed into a Navy ship off the coast of Fort Story, Va., just north of Virginia Beach. The crash occurred on the flight deck of the USNS Arctic around 8 p.m., and involved the Army helicopter and members of an East Coast-based naval special warfare unit, according to a statement released by the Navy's Fleet Forces Command.

Another Army Black Hawk flew the injured servicemembers to a Norfolk, Va., hospital for treatment, the release said. The USNS Arctic returned to Naval Station Norfolk with the damaged helicopter on board.

Both Fleet Forces Command and officials from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., declined to comment further on specifics about the crash.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. More information about the soldiers involved may be available as early as today, an Army spokesman at Fort Bragg told American Forces Press Service.