Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obama Visits Alaska, Pledges Commitments

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - President Barack Obama told servicemembers in Alaska today he will not risk their lives without a clear mission, the equipment they need and the strategy required to succeed. Obama stopped at Elmendorf Air Force Base on his way to meetings in Asia. The president told the crowd that he has no greater honor than serving as commander-in-chief.

Obama told the servicemembers he will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or the nation's vital interests. "But I also make you this promise: I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America's vital interests," he said. "And if it is necessary, the United States of America will have your back. We'll give you the strategy and clear mission you deserve. We will give you the equipment and support you need to get the job done – and that includes public support back home. That is a promise I make to you."

The president praised servicemembers for their spirit and service in a time of war. "That's a sense of responsibility on your part: The belief that the blessings we cherish as Americans are not gifts that we take for granted, they are freedoms that are earned," he said. "It is your sense of unity – coming from every corner of he country, from every color and creed and every faith and every station – to take care of each other and to succeed together as Americans."

The United States has the finest military in the world because the nation has the best personnel, the president said.

Obama thanked the servicemembers and their families for their sacrifices, noting that airmen from Elmendorf and soldiers from neighboring Fort Richardson are serving in harm's way around the world.

The president assured servicemembers that the American people appreciate their sacrifices and they are grateful for their service. "They honor you," he said, adding "just as you have fulfilled your responsibilities to your nation, your nation will fulfill its responsibilities to you."

Obama detailed his commitment to servicemembers and their families. "We will make sure you can meet the missions we ask of you," he said. He cited the increase in funding for the Air Force and Army in the recent Defense budget.

He also promised that the nation will have the right force structure, noting that his administration halted the downsizing of the Air Force and has increased the size of the Army.

"We will spend our defense dollars wisely," he said. "We're cutting tens of billions of dollars in waste in projects that even the Pentagon says it doesn't need, money that's better spent on taking care of you and your families and building the 21st century military we do need."

As troops serve around the world, Obama promised to take care of the families at home. "Your family is a priority for our family," he said. "We're increasing pay, we're increasing child care, we're increasing support to help spouses and families deal with the stress and separation of war."

Finally, the president vowed that the nation will be there for servicemembers when they come home. He pointed to care for those with traumatic brain injuries, or suffering from post-traumatic stress.

"We're funding the Post 9/11 GI Bill because we want to give you and your families the chance to pursue your dreams," Obama said. "We're making the biggest commitment to our veterans – the largest percentage increase in the VA budget in more than 30 years."

The country's obligation to the military "is a sacred trust, that we are honor-bound to uphold" he said.

The president left here to fly to Japan for meetings with the new government there. He will then go to Singapore where to participate in the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and meet with Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He then is scheduled to go on to China, where he will meet with President Hu Jintao. Finally, Obama is to visit South Korea where he will consult with President Lee Myung-bak.

Officer Overcomes Family's Skepticism to Serve

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - When Coast Guard Lt. Hannah Bealon was growing up, she was intrigued by the stories of her uncles' courage and sacrifice in the Vietnam War. "At an early age, I knew I wanted to volunteer for military service," she recalled yesterday in remarks at a Veterans Day event here at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

But when Bealon told of her family of her dream to join the military ranks, she was rebuffed.

"I remember one of my uncles said, 'Being a woman in the military is quite difficult, and men won't respect you," she recalled. Adding insult to injury, he told her that if she married a military person, she would have great health-care benefits.

"You could only imagine how heartbroken I was," Bealon continued. "This was the same uncle who told me I could do anything a man could do."

But Bealon persevered in the face of her family's skepticism that a woman could succeed in a military career, and started weighing her options. Unsure of which branch and in which capacity she wanted to serve, she found herself inside a Coast Guard recruiter's office when she read the writing on the wall -- literally.

"When I entered the Coast Guard recruiter office, there was an old, worn sign on the wall," she recalled. "The sign had a woman who said, 'In the Coast Guard, the only place I can't go is in the men's restroom.'" She said she knew right then and there that the military had a path to progress that she wanted to follow.

After considering all service branches, Bealon chose the Coast Guard. Of its 68,000 employees, 40 percent are women, she noted. Also, it is the only service that allows women to hold all ranks and positions – including its top post of commandant, she added.

In her Veterans Day remarks yesterday, Bealon mentioned some of the trailblazing Coast Guard women who helped create gender parity, including Capt. Eleanor L'Ecuyer, the first female captain; Janna Lambine, the service's first female aviator; and Colleen Cain, the first woman killed in the line of duty.

"To my beloved veterans: Thank you for your service, devotion, duty, and sacrifices. You will not be forgotten," she continued. "For I am your legacy, and my children will be your future."

Gatesville Citizens Embrace Reservists Affected by Shooting

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - The citizens of the "Spur Capital of Texas" here opened their arms and hearts to Army Reserve soldiers affected by the Nov. 5 Fort Hood shooting by hosting them for dinner at a local restaurant Nov. 8. "It is absolutely wonderful to see all these folks together and to show our appreciation for what they do daily," said Carla Manning, a military affairs representative for the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce. "They sacrifice daily, and they've been through some rough days recently."

The soldiers are assigned to the 1908th and 467th Medical Detachments, reserve units from Kansas and Wisconsin respectively, but include soldiers from other states as well. Members of the two detachments have been preparing at Fort Hood, Texas, for deployments. Together, the units have fewer than 70 members, and of those five were fatally shot and 25 were injured when a lone gunman opened fire Nov. 5 at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center on Fort Hood. Eight of the wounded soldiers remained hospitalized the night of the dinner.

"Most of the time you see loss on the battlefield," said Spc. Thomas Vecera, a mental health specialist with the 467th Medical Detachment. "This incident just took everyone by surprise, but we were still able to pull together and be strong. (The dinner is) exactly what the soldiers needed. Getting out like this is great. The community is great."

Gatesville Chamber of Commerce president Gail Shelton said the Army, is a very important and worthy partner with her community, which has a population of about 15,000 and is located just outside the North Fort Hood gate.

"Everybody has wanted to chip in in this community in any way to help these soldiers in their time of need," Shelton said.

Gatesville hosted the soldiers at the Prima Pasta restaurant, which is owned by Jashar Hoti. "I don't think we could ever do enough for the Soldiers, compared to the sacrifices they make for us and our country," he said.

The meal provided a semblance of home to soldiers away from their loved ones, said Staff Sgt. Nicolle Brossard, a mental health specialist with the 467th Medical Detachment.

"I feel that few people genuinely get to experience (the love that has been given to us) in their lifetimes," Brossard said.

"To have an outpouring from a community that cares for us ... in this tragic incident ... is just phenomenal. I am so appreciative for their kindness."

(U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback is assigned to the 1st Army Division West Public Affairs office.)

Vietnam, Iraq Vets Recall War Experiences

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - Generations of American servicemembers braved and survived the din, destruction and uncertainty of war to return home to enjoy the freedoms they helped to preserve for their fellow citizens. Yet, returning veterans also can experience troubling wartime memories after the shooting stops. Robert H. Shumaker, a tall, erect 76-year-old retired Navy rear admiral with a shock of silver hair and bright blue eyes, is a famous U.S. military veteran who coined the term "Hanoi Hilton" when he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

Shumaker was shot down Feb. 11, 1965, while flying his F-8 Crusader jet during a combat mission over North Vietnam. A faulty parachute caused him to break his back upon reaching the ground, and he was captured by the North Vietnamese.

Over the next eight years, Shumaker said, he and other captive American servicemembers were held in several prisoner of war facilities, where they experienced beatings and torture. He was released on Feb. 12, 1973, and retired from the Navy in 1988.

Shumaker was at George Washington University's Marvin Center on Veterans Day yesterday, watching volunteers write letters to servicemembers and their families and assemble care packages for troops.

"It is really uplifting seeing the patriotism of people and the compassion of people to do this," Shumaker said. The event was sponsored by military-support organization Blue Star Families and ServiceNation, a national campaign that encourages volunteer service, in partnership with Target and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Shumaker said he is participating in a PBS documentary series that looks at how people, including military members, deal with stress and depression to achieve resilience and happiness in their lives. Titled "This Emotional Life," the PBS series is slated to premier at 9 p.m. Jan. 4-6. Check local listings, as the time may vary in different markets.

"I'm in the happiness and resiliency" portion of the documentary, Shumaker said, noting he appears in the last segment of the program.

Another of the human stories presented in the six-hour series, Shumaker said, involves the emotions experienced by a couple who lost their daughter in the April 16, 2007 shootings on the Virginia Tech campus.

Shumaker was asked how he was affected by his experiences in North Vietnamese prisons.

"It was pretty tough," Shumaker said, noting that he and his fellow prisoners -- who at one time included U.S. Sen. John McCain -- "were tortured a lot." He acknowledged he'd undergone counseling to deal with the psychological repercussions of his wartime imprisonment.

"I think professional people can assist that [healing] process and speed it up a lot," Shumaker said. People with traumatic memories and injuries, he said, require "a lot of understanding by the people that surround them to bring them back into the fold."
Any person –- civilian or military –- who thinks they may have emotional problems should seek professional help, he said.

"I think for too many years we've viewed psychiatric disturbances with aversion -- you know, as a kind of a scar you don't want to reveal," Shumaker said. "I think through the years, and particularly now, we're starting to emerge" from that mindset.

At age 26, former Marine Sgt. Brian Friend considers himself "one the luckiest men alive," having avoided death during two duty tours in Iraq. He served 20 months in Iraq during his four-year enlistment.

Friend now attends Portland State University in Portland, Ore., on the Post-9/11 GI Bill. He recounted his hair-raising Iraq experiences on Veterans Day to an audience at George Washington University during his monologue in "The Telling Project" performance that features military veterans and family members.

Since February 2008, The Telling Project has produced 10 performances across the Pacific Northwest. Friend said he became aware of the project through his school's student veterans organization.

Friend came away with a concussion and a ruptured eardrum after experiencing 19 enemy improvised explosive device attacks during convoy duty over the last six months of his final deployment in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

"I'm still alive. I'm still in one piece. And, for the most part, I am still me," Friend told the audience.

Upon his military discharge in September 2007, Friend took a year off to assemble funding to complete his college degree. He also discovered that he carried psychological wounds from his Iraq service.

"During that time, I actually went through one-on-one counseling and group therapy for [post-traumatic stress disorder] for nightmares and stuff," Friend said.

Participating in Telling Project performances, Friend said, has helped him to deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder. The monologues also educate people about what veterans can experience after they return from war, he added.

"It is like a weight off my shoulders," Friend said, when he shares his war experiences with audiences. "It is very therapeutic."

School Officials Cite Prevention in Curbing H1N1 Flu

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - When it comes to H1N1 flu, the Department of Defense Education Activity's primary focus is to prevent a serious outbreak in any of its 191 schools worldwide. "First of all, awareness and prevention are the most important things," said Frank O'Gara, the activity's senior public affairs officer. "We're not overly worried about it, but we're concerned about it and we're watching it and we're tracking it."

Individual DoDEA schools have been tracking their own cases since the start of the school year. Last month, officials requested that schools report their numbers to headquarters here.

Last week, 62 students and six staff members were out with flu-like symptoms. The week before, 56 students and six staff members were out. It's unknown, however, if any of those cases are H1N1 flu, as the activity isn't differentiating between the different strains of the virus since they're treated with the same medication.

The second piece of the activity's plan involves an aggressive program to promote good hygiene. This is a constant push, but it's been ramped up as of late.

"The No. 1 thing that everybody can do is wash their hands, use [tissues] or cough in your sleeve," O'Gara said, noting those are the measures recommended by officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mary Patton, DoDEA's coordinator for pupil and personnel services, said the big push is on using soap and water to wash hands thoroughly.

"The principals are making sure that the soap dispensers are filled continually," she said. "We do have [alcohol-based hand] cleaners in our schools, however the CDC says that in order for the hand cleaners to be effective, they need to be 60 percent alcohol, which is sometimes a problem with sensitive skin."

But beyond soap and water, the school children are proving to be DoDEA's greatest weapon in the battle against the flu.

"I saw a child say, 'Do not sneeze in your hand! Sneeze in your armpit,'" Patton said. "He meant his elbow, but they know what they're talking about."

Students not only put pressure on each other, but also practice what they preach, greeting each other with fist bumps instead of shaking hands, she added.

"Kids used to say, 'I don't want your cooties,'" Patton said. "Now it's, 'I don't want your germs.'"

As for what to do if a child exhibits flu-like symptoms, Patton said common sense applies -- they should be kept home. And if they start feeling bad while in school, Patton spelled out the protocol.

"Students are sent home any time they have a temperature of ... over 100.6. That, or any time there are flu-like symptoms or bronchial type coughing," she said. "Any time a child says they're sick, and it's obvious that they are sick, they're sent home.

"If they can't be picked up, they're isolated," she added.

Children should remain out of school until their symptoms are gone and they've been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of fever reducers.

While DoDEA officials aren't overly concerned about the onset of an epidemic in their schools, plans are in place should a school need to be shut down to prevent further spread of the flu.

"We're in no way threatened by [a shutdown] at this point," Patton said, adding that garrison commanders make the decisions to close the schools, not DoDEA. "But if it should happen, the schools now have a plan as to how they will [continue] to educate our students."

Local military treatment facilities have information about receiving a flu vaccination seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations.

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 12, 2009

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Nov. 10, 2009, a $438,440,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 1,000 of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) and associated basic items of issue (BII) with an option for 400 M-ATVs and BII. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center AMSTA-TAC-ATBC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

ManTech International Corp., Chantilly, Va., was awarded on Nov. 9, 2009, a $286,541,415 cost-plus-award-fee contract for the scientific and engineering support services in support of the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground, Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Work is to be performed in Fort Huachuca, Ariz. (70 percent), Fort Lewis, Wash. (15 percent), and Fort Hood, Texas (15 percent), with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center, Division C, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., is the contracting activity (W91RUS-10-C-0001).

Kiewit Louisiana Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $194,463,128 firm-fixed-price contract for Lake Pontchartrain & vicinity Hurricane Protection Project, fronting protection and breakwater modification, Jefferson lakefront, Pumping Stations No. 1 through 4, Jefferson Parish, La. Work is to be performed in Jefferson Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 12, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0007).

Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $171,640,345 firm-fixed-price contract for 783 petroleum/oil/lubricant trucks and 59 water trucks. Work is to be performed in West Point, Miss., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, AMSCC-TAC-ADBA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-D-G097).

Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $127,348,595 firm-fixed-price contract for 905 each of general transport trucks. Work is to be performed in West Point, Miss., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, AMSCC-TAC-ADBA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-D-G097).

Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $48,557,110 firm-fixed-price contract for 181 recovery (wrecker) trucks. Work is to be performed in Ooltewah, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, AMSCC-TAC-ADBA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-D-G097).

Longbow LLC, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $29,962,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of mast mounted assemblies for the National Guard. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Command Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-06-C-0134).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $20,252,889 firm-fixed-price contract for 44 heavy equipment tractors (HETs), 44 Fontaine 635NL trailers, 9 spare engines for HETs, and ancillary services for the above mentioned vehicles, trailers, and engines. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis. (71.15 percent), Springfield, Ala. (27.54 percent), and Egypt (1.31 percent) with an estimated completion date of Aug. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center AMSTA-TAC-ATBC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-C-0594).

J.D. Abrams, LP, Austin, Texas, was awarded on Nov. 4, 2009, a $14,971,608 firm-fixed-price contract. This work consists of confined levees to be repaired and renovated, drop-outlet structures to be repaired or replaced, and road repair. Work is to be performed in Jefferson County, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. Thirty-two bids were solicited with eight bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Galveston, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912HY-10-C-0005).

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $11,123,996 firm-fixed-price contract for a minimum of 20 and a maximum quantity of 135 gas turbine engines (model 250/C30R/3) to support the OH-58D Kiowa safety enhancement program. Work is to be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-D-0190).

APS Contracting, Inc., Patterson, N.J., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $10,368,000 firm-fixed-price contract to complete as outlined in the plans and specifications for the construction of the new guns and weapons laboratory and building 3350 at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. Work is to be performed in Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 25, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CENAN-CT, New York, N.Y., is the contracting activity (W912DS-10-C-0001).

Homeland Contracting Corp., Chesapeake, Va., was awarded on Nov. 5, 2009, a $7,450,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for the design and construction of the child development center located at Fort Eustis, Ga. This project includes site design and construction outside the five-foot line, facility design and overall building construction complete to the five-foot line. Work is to be performed in Fort Eustis, Va., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2011. Three bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Norfolk, (CECT-NAO), Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-08-D-0070).

Manson Construction Co., Seattle, Wash., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2009, a $6,976,300 firm-fixed-price contract for the Mississippi River, Cubit's Gap and Southwest Pass, Hopper Dredge Rental Contract No. 11-2009, Plaquemines Parish, La. Work is to be performed in Plaquemines Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of July 24, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0014).

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury, Mass., is being awarded a $241,270,876 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for completion of Total Ship Computing Environment software for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program to meet lead ship integration and construction schedules. There are two major components of the scope for this effort: re-planning of Release 6 software development to align with detail design and integration software schedule Revision F (Revision F re-phased the software development schedule; providing for increased efficiency, productivity, and overall affordability of the DDG 1000 Class); and additional required software development efforts for Release 6, implementation of engineering control/damage control human computer interface for distributed contract work stations, Release 4 and 5 software maintenance, and implementation of required changes to support both land based test site testing and ship activation software deliveries needed to maintain shipyard schedules. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Mass. (64.7 percent), Moorestown, N.J. (27 percent), Indianapolis, Ind. (2.7 percent), Burlington, Mass. (1.5 percent), and the remaining 4.1 percent will be performed at the following locations: Marlborough, Mass., Falls Church, Va., King George, Va., Fort Wayne, Ind., Aurora, Colo., and Marlborough, Mass. Work is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Agusta Westland, Inc., Reston, Va., is being awarded a $17,349,173 modification to definitize a previously awarded undefinitized contract action (N00019-09-C-0011) to a cost-plus fixed-fee contract. This contract provides depot level maintenance for three H-3 helicopters, Mk-2 variant, for the government of Egypt under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Hagerstown, Md., and is expected to be completed in December 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.

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $10,760,468 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0010) to exercise an option to provide in service support for F/A-18 aircraft of the governments of Switzerland, Australia, Finland, Canada, Kuwait, Malaysia and Spain. This effort will include, but is not limited to, program management, engineering and logistics support. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the governments of Switzerland ($2,690,117; 25 percent); Australia ($1,614,070; 15 percent); Finland ($1,614,070; 15 percent); Canada ($1,614,070; 15 percent), Kuwait ($1,076,047; 10 percent); Malaysia ($1,076,047; 10 percent); and Spain ($1,076,047; 10 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Systems command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Southern Counties Oil Co., dba SC Fuels, Orange, Calif.*, is being awarded a minimum $19,228,200 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was web solicited with 48 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sept. 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-10-D-4519).

LaBatt Food Service, San Antonio, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $9,000,000 firm-fixed, indefinite-quantity contract for full line food distribution. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army and Air Force. There were originally five proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the third year option period out of four one-year options. The date of performance completion is Nov. 13, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM300-08-D-3212).

ITT Corp., Systems Division, Cape Canaveral, Fla., was awarded a $6,970,000 contract which will purchase interim supply support for Eastern and Western Range fiscal year 2010 3080 projects. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. SMC SLG/PK, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity (F04701-01-C-0001, P00602).

Harris Corp., of Rochester, N.Y., was awarded a $6,883,000 contract which will provide for 152 handheld radios, 104 repeater adapters and 380 single vehicle adapters. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 653d ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8726-10-F-0001, GS35-F-0163N).

Fort Hood Offers 24-Hour Grief Counseling

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joy Pariante
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - In the aftermath of the Nov. 5 shootings here that left 13 dead and 38 wounded, soldiers, family members and civilians who work on post are looking for answers, and for help in grieving. Following any loss, individuals and communities go through a grieving process which can be complicated, unpredictable and long-term. Fort Hood leaders have set up a Grieving Center at the Spiritual Fitness Center within the Resiliency Campus that is being staffed 24 hours a day with chaplains and Military Family Life counselors to help anyone in need.

Since the massacre, the Spiritual Fitness Center has doubled the number of chaplains and Military Family Life counselors on duty to ensure there are enough to meet with all the people who need someone to talk to, , said Chaplain (Maj.) David Waweru, on-site coordinator of the Spiritual Fitness Center.

Although the shooting was over in a matter of minutes, the grieving and healing process will take much longer to run its course, Army chaplains said. "An event takes a second, but the complete ramifications can take months or years to show the strain it's put on people," said Chaplain (Capt.) Edward Harris, 4-4 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion.

The five-stage grieving process model developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, which she and David Kessler have written about, is widely accepted as a standard list of steps taken by someone who is moving through a healthy process of grieving, according to the National Institute of Health.

The first stage of grief is denial and denial, along with shock, helps to numb people to the event and enable them to keep moving through each day. Stage two is anger, where the individual lashes out at many different people in an attempt to channel all the denied feelings into something tangible. Stage three is filled with "If only" and "What if" statements. The bargaining stage deals with people trying to "make a deal" in order to make the pain stop.

Stage four of the grieving process is one of the most widely known stages of grieving – depression. This is when a person truly deals with their feelings of loss. While painful, it is a necessary step towards healing. The final stage of the grieving process is acceptance. It doesn't mean that you're all right with losing someone; it just means that you've learned to live with the event. People can move on and begin to enjoy the activities and people in their lives again. It is necessary to reach this final stage in order to fully cope with a traumatic event or loss.

While it seems structured, the process isn't actually a checklist and there is no timeline for how long each stage will last. "People will grieve differently," Waweru said. "The process of getting back to normalcy is different from one to another. There is no time limit. Some will be done as soon as this week, but others will take longer.

"The Fort Hood family is dealing with a tragedy, which is initially accompanied by shock and, later, denial," Waweru said. Following the initial period of four or five days, most likely after the memorial ceremony ... people will start processing how the incident affected them personally, he said.

"Everyone is holding up together right now, but as time goes by you'll start seeing the individual reactions," he explained. "Unfortunately, many soldiers are used to these kinds of tragedies in combat."

One of the best ways to better cope with the feelings and issues arising from an incident like this is to try and return to a regular schedule, Waweru said. Getting involved in hobbies and interests again is a good way to help readjust to life following a traumatic event, he explained.

Soldiers are encouraged to look out for themselves and others in the coming weeks to make sure everyone is learning to cope with these tragic events. According to Harris, difficulty sleeping, withdrawal, depression and coping difficulties are signs that indicate that soldiers are having issues with the grieving process.

"Everyone knows himself; if you feel you're not where you're supposed to be, that should be a red flag to seek help," Waweru said.

Following the initial adjustment period, the Spiritual Fitness Center staff will be working with brigade and battalion elements to ensure that soldiers having coping issues receiving long-term help and care, Waweru said.

(U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joy Pariante is assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, III Corps.)

Americans Aid Salvadoran Flood Victims

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - American personnel based in Central America are deploying to aid flood victims in El Salvador, U.S. Southern Command officials said today. A total of 37 Joint Task Force Bravo personnel left Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, yesterday to aid assessment efforts in El Salvador, where torrential rains have caused mudslides and flooding.

One mudslide killed 124 people in a village 30 miles outside the capital of San Salvador.

The task force personnel are bringing four helicopters – an HH-60, a CH-47 and two UH-60s – and a command and control package. They will meet up with a team of U.S. Army engineers to conduct damage assessments in the area.

Southern Command officials are working closely with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, said Southern Command spokesman Jose Ruiz. Though American assistance has not formally been requested, the deployment is "under the commander's authority to save life and limb," Ruiz said.

"Joint Task Force Bravo will play a critical role by providing air capability to the damage-assessment team," said the mission commander, Army Lt. Col. Curtis Anderson. "With help from our helicopters, the assessment team will be able to get a broad, bird's-eye view of the damage done by the recent storm."

El Salvador declared a state of emergency Nov. 9 as rain storms ahead of Hurricane Ida had saturated the Central American country. In addition to the deaths, thousands of people are homeless and seeking shelter in Nicaragua, Mexico and other areas in El Salvador.

Experts Answer H1N1 Questions Online

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 12, 2009 - Experts did their best to answer questions and allay fears over H1N1 flu and the associated vaccine during a Nov. 10 online town-hall meeting hosted by the Military Health System. Questions -- submitted via a special Web site -- included concerns such as whether it's possible to distinguish between seasonal or H1N1 flu based on symptoms. The answer, provided by Army Col. (Dr.) Ted Cieslak, the Defense Department's liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was simple.

"You cannot differentiate seasonal flu from H1N1 based on symptoms," he said. He later emphasized that it's tough to make a claim that one version of the flu is more dangerous than another.

"'Dangerous' can be defined in many different ways," Cieslak said. "This particular strain does not appear to produce more severe disease in most people, but it does affect certain subgroups [such as pregnant women and people with some underlying medical conditions] disproportionately.

"Moreover," he continued, "susceptibility to the H1N1 strain is almost universal in persons under 50 years of age, which is not always the case with seasonal flu."

The topic of alcohol-based hand sanitizer versus good old soap and water as a way to keep from preventing the spread of H1N1 was broached, as well. Soap and water wins out, one doctor said, because that method removes and kills organisms.

"Alcohol-based hand gel can and should be used when soap and water are not available," said Navy Capt. (Dr.) Tanis Batsel Stewart, director of Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Support for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "Use enough to fully wet your hands, and rub them together."

Some participants were concerned with the content of the H1N1 vaccine and its safety overall, especially for children.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Tom Shimabukuro offered assurances that the vaccine is safe, contains no squalene, and was licensed in the same way that seasonal flu vaccines are licensed every year. Squalene, a substance found in some vaccines, has been the subject of some controversy, with opponents to its use claiming a link between the substance and Gulf War Syndrome.

"The H1N1 vaccines were licensed as a strain change to an existing biologic license application with the [Food and Drug Administration]," he said. "There was no fast track or waiver provided to the vaccine manufacturers, and the vaccine is not experimental. H1N1 vaccines are licensed flu vaccines, and [people should] expect them to have a safety profile similar to regular flu vaccines."

Shimabukuro is the pandemic influenza vaccine coordinator for the immunization services division of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Army Col. (Dr.) Wayne E. Hachey addressed the effects the H1N1 vaccination might have on small children in response to a participant's question about the controversy over childhood vaccinations and links to autism.

Hachey, director of preventive medicine and surveillance in the Military Health Affairs force health protection and readiness division, said no evidence exists that the H1N1 vaccine -- in either its injectable or mist forms -- poses a threat to the neurodevelopment of children.

The experts also provided guidance on the spacing of vaccinations for the seasonal flu and H1N1, and age restrictions for the mist version of the vaccine.

A person can receive two injectable flu vaccines or one nasal-spray vaccine and one injectable vaccine at the same time, Shimabukuro said. But someone who gets nasal spray vaccines for both strains should separate those vaccines by at least 28 days, he added.

The nasal vaccine is available only to people age 2 to 49, said Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Philip Gould, chief of preventive medicine operations for the Air Force Medical Support Agency. "There are three injectable vaccines," he added, each with different ... age limits: one from 6 months and older, one from 4 years and older, and one from 18 years and older."

Those over the age of 49 must get the injectable vaccine, he added.

A replay of the town-hall session is available on the Military Health System's Web site. The Military Health System is a worldwide partnership of medical educators and researchers, health-care providers and support personnel, including Defense Department and military officials, combatant command surgeons and Tricare providers.

Nation's Capital Hosts Throngs for Veterans Day Memorials

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 11, 2009 - The nation's capital today hosted throngs of people paying tribute to men and women who currently or previously wore the uniform of the U. S. military. At the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall here, where more than 58,000 names of fallen troops are etched into the granite partitions, attendees of a veteran's day ceremony placed flowers, wreaths and other mementos by the names of loved ones.

Standing a few feet from the carved granite wall was Daniel Hernandez of Galveston, Texas, who fought in Vietnam 40 years ago.

"I know a lot of people on this wall," said Hernandez, a former Army specialist in the 1st Cavalry Division.

As a chaplain's assistant during the war, one of young Hernandez's duties was to help with memorial services for troops killed in action – from junior enlisted servicemembers to the most senior ranking in his chain of command, including Gen. George Casey, the father of the current Army Chief of Staff.

"There's joy because I'm here, the joy of being here with fellow soldiers who served," he said of the day's event. "And there's of course the heavy heart of sadness for those that we lost and those that we'll never see again."

Designed by architect Maya Lin and built in 1982, the memorial consists of two black walls sunken into the ground, with a rolling mound of earth behind it sloping toward a heavily trafficked street.

On the one hand, the design serves a practical purpose of separating the visitor from the noise and the traffic of Constitution Avenue and the noise of the city. But according to architects familiar with the designer's vision, the wall also was intended to appear as a rift in the earth.

The memorial was one landmark that retired Army Master Sgt. Archie Ellinger said he wanted to visit before it was too late.

"For many years I haven't been able to come up here," said Ellinger, who made the trip from Kentucky. "I'm getting old, and I wanted to come up here and honor those veterans. Before I die, I wanted to do it that one time."

Ellinger, who served as an aviator assigned to the 227th aviation battalion of the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, also was in town for a reunion with his battle buddies in nearby Crystal City, Va. But thoughts of those unable to make the reunion were not far from his mind.

"There's many of them," he said, referring to names on the wall that belonged to his fellow servicemembers, "probably about a dozen or so."

Walking the grounds today was a cross-section of military society, from Vietnam veterans wearing leather jackets with POW/MIA patches sewn on, to Gold Star Mothers – women whose servicemember sons or daughters died in war. Soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, where this week tragedy struck when a gunman fatally shot 13 people and wounded 38 others on base, also were recognized in the course of the memorial event.

One surprise guest speaker was Ken Salazar, the secretary of the Department of Interior, who later participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of the wall. Salazer, addressing an audience gathered at the wall, expressed gratitude to U.S. servicemembers.

"Thank you to all of you who are here making sure we never forget those who have made sure we are free in America, and the sacrifices they have made," Salazar said.

Observing the activity near the wall was Diane Carlson Evans, founder and president of the Vietnam Women's Memorial – erected 16 years ago as an homage to the nurse corps comprised of female servicemembers who deployed to Vietnam.

As she watched veterans pay tribute to the names of their fallen troops, Evans, who served as an Army nurse during the war, discussed the enduring bond wounded troops have with their medical caretakers even long-after their recovery is complete.

Many years after her service in Vietnam, in an odd twist of fate, Evans ended up in the same town – River Fall, Wis. – as one of the wounded troops she treated during the war.

"We were neighbors for about five years and he didn't know I was in Vietnam and I didn't know I had been to Vietnam," she recalled. The neighbors realized their connection during a conversation about the memorial wall when it was being built some 27 years ago.

"He was wounded in March 1969 and went to 71st evacuation hospital and I was his nurse," she said. "He remembered he had a red-headed nurse from Minnesota and her name was Carlson.

"And I said, 'Well, my name was Carlson, I'm from Minnesota and I have red hair,'" Evans said, referring to her maiden name. "And we have kept up a friendship ever since."

Across the Potomac River, a memorial stands with the express purpose of recognizing contribution of women like Evans. At the foot of the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., where President Barack Obama honored the nation's fallen today, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial today hosted it's a separate veteran's day event.

Addressing the audience gathered inside the memorial was a panel of female servicemembers representing of each branch, including Lt. Hannah L. Bealon of the U.S. Coast Guard.

In her remarks, Bealon said she was inspired by two of her uncles who served in the Vietnam War and wanted to follow their footsteps into service. But upon hearing her decision, one of Bealon's uncles discouraged her from joining because she was a woman – he suggested instead that she marry a servicemember and reap the benefits.

"It did not matter; I knew I wanted to serve," she said. "Their life experiences and their long-time friends inspire me to serve my country and to have great respect for Veteran's Day."

"To my beloved veterans: Thank you for your service, devotion duty, and sacrifices. You will not be forgotten," she continued. "For I am your legacy and my children will be your future."