Military News

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Thank You to Vietnam Vets from a Marine in Iraq

A guy gets time to think over here and I was thinking about all the support we get from home. Sometimes it's overwhelming. We get care packages at times faster than we can use them. There are boxes and boxes of toiletries and snacks lining the center of every tent; the generosity has been amazing. So, I was pondering the question: "Why do we have so much support?"

In my opinion, it came down to one thing: Vietnam. I think we learned a lesson, as a nation, that no matter what, you have to support the troops who are on the line, who are risking everything. We treated them so poorly back then. When they returned was even worse. The stories are nightmarish of what our returning warriors were subjected to. It is a national scar, a blemish on our country, an embarrassment to all of us

After Vietnam, it had time to sink in. The guilt in our collective consciousness grew. It shamed us. However, we learned from our mistake.

Somewhere during the late 1970's and into the 80's, we realized that we can’t treat our warriors that way. So, starting during the Gulf War, when the first real opportunity arose to stand up and support the troops, we did. We did it to support our friends and family going off to war. But we also did it to right the wrongs from the Vietnam era. We treated our troops like the heroes they were, acknowledged and celebrated their sacrifice, and rejoiced at their homecoming instead of spitting on them.

And that support continues today for those of us in Iraq. Our country knows that it must support us and it does. The lesson was learned in Vietnam and we are better because of it.

Everyone who has gone before is a hero. They are celebrated in my heart. I think admirably of all those who have gone before me. From those who fought to establish this country in the late 1770's to those I serve with here in Iraq. They have all sacrificed to ensure our freedom.

But when I get back, I'm going to make it a personal mission to specifically thank every Vietnam Vet I encounter for their sacrifice. Because if nothing else good came from that terrible war, one thing did. It was the lesson learned on how we treat our warriors. We as a country learned from our mistake and now treat our warriors as heroes, as we should.

I am the beneficiary of their sacrifice. Not only for the freedom they, like veterans from other wars, ensured, but for how well our country now treats my fellow Marines and I. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice.

Semper Fidelis,

Major Brian P. Bresnahan
United States Marine Corps

Tankers enable mission accomplishment

By Airman 1st Class David Dobrydney
379th Air Expeditionary Wing

(12/5/09) -- Even the most advanced military aircraft needs fuel in order to be of use. For the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron here in Southwest Asia, its mission is to support other aircraft so they can fulfill their mission of supporting troops on the ground.

"We supply most all the refueling capability in [Operation Iraqi Freedom] and about a third of the capability in [Operation Enduring Freedom]" Lt. Col. Bret Frymire, 340 EARS commander, said. "We refuel every unit operating in the field right now, to include our Coalition partners."

To maintain its 24/7 support, the 340 EARS' operations tempo is very fast paced, with more than 20 sorties daily.

"We have a [KC-]135 taking off or landing every hour of the day," said Lt. Col. Bill Stowe, 340 EARS director of operations. As the DO, Stowe is charged with scheduling the missions to meet that tempo.

"We have so many taskings with only so many crews; it's sometimes like putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle," he said. To solve that puzzle, Stowe will periodically pilot a mission to see where the scheduling process can be improved.

While Stowe is deployed here from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., the rest of the crews come from several different places. "We have guard, reserve and active-duty, not just from [Air Mobility Command] but also [Pacific Air Forces], [U.S. Air Force in Europe], etc.," he said. Frymire is deployed from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, and said the majority of flying squadrons deploy as units. "As far as flying squadrons, we are unique in that regard," he said.

Regardless of where they deploy from, the 340 EARS Airmen coalesce into a single unit in pursuit of mission accomplishment. "The plane flies the same no matter what, so everyone works together and the mission goes off without a hitch," Stowe said.

The mission is accomplished even though the KC-135 aircraft here have been plying their trade now for decades. The newest KC-135 currently on the ramp was built in 1963. "We are flying a classic airframe," Stowe said. "Trying to keep them airborne is always a challenge but the maintainers do an outstanding job. We couldn't support the mission without the support we get from the maintainers."

With that support underneath them, the tankers continue to fly eight to 10 hour sorties, providing 50,000 to 120,000 pounds of fuel on a typical mission. Master Sgt. Jeff Van Nortwick, an in flight air refueling boom operator deployed from the Nebraska Air National Guard, is the one who monitors the release of that fuel.

When performing refueling maneuvers, such as 'yo-yo' operations where one aircraft will come up for fuel while another provides support for ground troops and then rotating, Van Nortwick's job is made just a little easier by the experience of the pilots. "What I've noticed in my time here is that the receivers are very stable," he said, meaning he is able to smoothly connect the boom to the receiving aircraft. "They have the experience and it shows," Van Nortwick said.

For Van Nortwick, the pace of missions obligates crew members to remain flexible. "You're not necessarily always flying from 8 to 5 -- it rotates as the taskings come," he said. "Sometimes it just happens where you're flying daytime missions and your day starts later and later until eventually you're flying at night."

However, Van Nortwick considers his job very rewarding. "It's extremely gratifying to know when you give gas to a fighter who's covering a troop convoy, that [convoy] will make it from A to B," he said. "We're directly supporting troops on the ground, which makes their job a lot easier when they have an aircraft overhead providing top cover."

Air Force, ANG chaplains reflect on milestones

By Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

(12/4/09) -- More than 100 chaplains and chaplain assistants from throughout the Air Force attended the Chaplain Corps Summit here recently, in part to celebrate 60th anniversary of the Air Force Chaplain Corps and the 100th anniversary of the chaplain assistant career field. The summit began with an interfaith worship service, included a review of Chaplain Corps history and concluded with a Heritage banquet.

"We reminisced over years of service and fellowship in our past and looked ahead to the role of the chaplain corps in meeting current and future mission needs," said Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Cecil R. Richardson, chief of chaplains.

Richardson related the chaplain corps' rich and storied history. Chaplain Charles I. Carpenter, the Army Air Corps' "Air Chaplain," emphasized the need for pastoral identity of chaplains with the people they served.

After successfully persuading senior leaders that the Air Force should have its own chaplaincy, Chaplain Carpenter helped ensure the drafting of the transfer order on May 10, 1949.

Predating the Air Force Chaplain Corps, the "chaplain assistant" position was established 40 years earlier on Dec. 28, 1909. Paragraph 1 of the General Order by the War Department stated, "One enlisted man will be detailed on special duty, by the commanding officer of any organization to which a chaplain is assigned for duty, for the purpose of assisting the chaplain in the performance of his official duties."

"Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants continue to support our Airmen in today's fight as we walk where they walk and go where they go," Richardson said.

"By providing or arranging for religious observances, pastoral care, and advice to leadership, Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants ensure the free exercise of religion for Airmen and their families at every Air Force base," he added.

The general cited the Chaplain Corps' recent achievements that he said demonstrate the organization's commitment to the total force.

"In 2008, the Air Force Chaplain Corps performed more than 147,000 counselings, provided more than 50,000 worship observances and conducted more than 28,000 religious rites and observances for Airmen and their families," Richardson said.

The general added that warrior care is the Chaplain Corps' top priority and will remain so throughout the duration of the war.

"The summit was a wonderful experience and celebration for the Air Force Family," said Maj. Gen. John B. Ellington, the director of the National Guard Chaplaincy, who also participated in the event. "We have deployed and served together over the years and that has resulted in building strong lifetime relationships."

Currently the Air Force has more than 1,100 active duty, Guard and Reserve chaplains and more than 800 total force chaplain assistants, who live and work around the world in service to their fellow Airmen.

Ellington added that about 25 percent of the air expeditionary force positions are filled with Air National Guard chaplains and assistants.

"Our mandate is clear, our hearts are united, our mission is exciting and our passion for ministry to the men and women of the United States Air Force has never been stronger," Richardson said.


Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a modification for $159,500,065 under its cost-plus-award-fee contract (HQ0276-08-C-0001), contract line item number (CLIN) 0003. Under this contract modification, Raytheon will continue the Block IIA Standard Missile 3 cooperative development technology development. The work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. This award extends the existing CLIN 0003 performance period for an additional 10 months to Aug. 31, 2010. The amount obligated on this action is $4,200,000 using fiscal year 2010 Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 7, 2009, a $17,607,407 firm-fixed-price contract for 1 lot of common and long lead components to support the conversion of 15 M1A2 tanks to M1A2S tanks for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Work is to be performed at the Lima Army Tank Plant, Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-C-0002).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 7, 2009, a $14,317,682 cost-no-fee contract for material for the Iraq program to purchase 140 M1A1 Abrams vehicles. Work is to be performed at Lima, Ohio (70 percent); Scranton, Pa. (14 percent); Anniston, Ala. (10 percent); and Tallahassee, Fla. (6 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command, Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-C-0006).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., is being awarded a $14,592,978 firm-fixed-price contract for air terminal ground handling services at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, and Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. This contract contains one seven-month base period and five one year option periods, which if exercised, bring the total value of the contract to $124,866,662. Work will be performed in Sigonella, Italy (70 percent), and Naples, Italy, (30 percent). Work is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with five proposals solicited and three offers received. The Naval Regional Contracting Detachment Naples, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Sigonella, Italy, is the contracting activity (N68171-10-C-0004).

BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair, San Francisco, Calif., is being awarded a $9,882,035 firm-fixed-price contract for the regular overhaul and dry docking of Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). Work performed will include dry docking the ship, ballast-tank preservation, rudder and propeller inspections, underwater hull preservation and undocking the ship. The ship provides an afloat, mobile, acute-surgical medical facility in support of U.S. deployed forces and also supports U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian assistance missions worldwide. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $11,222,382. Work will be performed in San Francisco, Calif., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Military Sealift Command, Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with one offer received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Fleet Support Command, Norfolk, Va., a field activity of Military Sealift Command, is the contracting activity (N40442-10-C-5000).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., is being awarded a $6,988,148 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity delivery order contract (N00019-07-D-0004) to exercise an option for the VH-60N executive helicopter special progressive aircraft rework aircraft induction. Work will be performed in Stratford, Conn., and is expected to be completed in February 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $6,988,148 will 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 $6,600,000 not-to-exceed order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-05-G-0026) for F/A-18 A-D Service Life Extension Program Phase B+ engineering support services. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo. (55 percent), and El Segundo, Calif. (45 percent). Work 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.

Cascade General, Inc.*, Portland, Ore., is being awarded a $6,181,068 firm-fixed-price contract for the regular overhaul of Military Sealift Command's USNS Guadalupe. Work performed will include preservation of ballast tanks; ultrasonic gauging; overhaul of a ship's service diesel generator; dry-docking and undocking of the ship; underwater hull preservation; freeboard preservation; and propeller-system maintenance. The ship's primary mission is to deliver petroleum to the Navy's carrier strike groups and other naval forces at sea. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $7,516,743. Work will be performed in Portland, Ore., and work is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Military Sealift Command, Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities web pages, with three offers received. The solicitation was set aside for small business. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Fleet Support Command, Norfolk, Va., a field activity of Military Sealift Command, is the contracting activity (N40442-10-C-1003).

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $10,492,100 contract which will provide for architecture baseline products to support the launch and test range systems. The contract will also provide a risk reduction and capability maturation program to develop and maintain the current and future architectures. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. SMC/LRSW, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8811-09-C-0006).

Annual Review of the United States Coast Guard's Mission Performance (FY 2008)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) was established by the Homeland Security Act of2002 (Public Law 107-296) by amendment to the Inspector General Act of1978. This is one of a series of audit, inspection, and special reports prepared as part of our oversight responsibilities to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness within the department. This report addresses the annual review of the U.S. Coast Guard's mission performance, as required by the Homeland Security Act of2002. It is based on interviews with employees and officials of relevant agencies and institutions and a review of applicable documents.


DoD Hosts Annual Disability Awards Ceremony And Forum

The 29th Department of Defense (DoD) Disability Awards ceremony and 22nd DoD Disability Forum was hosted today by Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Plans, Clarence Johnson, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, Md. This annual event provides an overview of DoD disability policy and initiatives, recognizes DoD organizations with outstanding affirmative action programs for people with disabilities, and highlights the accomplishments of DoD employees with disabilities.

"We are very proud of the outstanding achievements by our employees with disabilities," said Johnson, "and the department remains committed to increasing opportunities for their success."

The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Matthew A. Staton, direct advisor and staff assistant to the secretary of the Army on wounded soldier matters. Staton medically retired from the Army in 2007, following two deployments to Iraq with the 8th Infantry Regiment.

The following 14 DoD employees with disabilities received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding contributions to national security:

Noreen S. Ames, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Julia E. Becker, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Richard F. Chatfield II, Defense Information Systems Agency

Howard G. Drake Jr., National Guard Bureau

Phillip W. Gregg, Defense Commissary Agency

Greg Hare, Department of the Air Force

Michele E. Hill, Defense Contract Audit Agency

Brooke A. Larrabee, Department of the Army

Anthony L. Parish, Defense Contract Management Agency

Margaret R. Posa, Office of the DoD Inspector General

Adam G. Post, Army Air Force Exchange Service

William J. Russell, Department of the Navy

George H. Stevens Jr., Defense Finance and Accounting Service

Delfina D. Zeigler, Defense Logistics Agency

In addition, three DoD components, the Department of the Navy, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and the Defense Contract Management Agency, received secretary of defense trophies for accomplishments in their affirmative actions programs for people with disabilities during 2009.

NIH, DoD and VA Hold Conference Examining Impact of Military Service on Families and Caregivers

The Second Annual Trauma Spectrum Disorders Conference: A Scientific Conference on the Impact of Military Service on Families and Caregivers will focus on the impact of trauma spectrum disorders on military and veteran families and caregivers across deployment, homecoming, and reintegration. The term, trauma spectrum disorders, refers to any injury or illness that occurs as a result of combat or an unexpected traumatic event, and covers a broad range of psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues.

The conference is presented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and other Federal Partners led by the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), several NIH institutes and centers, and HHS agencies.

What: A Scientific Conference on the Impact of Military Service on Families and Caregivers

When: Thursday, December 10, 2009
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Conference

Where: Natcher Conference Center (Building 45), NIH campus, Bethesda, Md.

The conference will examine the needs of families and caregivers in support of military and veterans with TSD, factors related to family functioning and reintegration, and effective approaches that facilitate treatment of trauma disorders and services to families and caregivers. In addition, the conference will focus on gender and health disparities.

Patricia K. Shinseki, wife of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, and a former board member of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), will give the keynote address at the conference. She will discuss MCEC's initiative called Living in the New Normal: Helping Children Thrive During Good and Challenging Times.

Participating NIH institutes, centers and offices include: The Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Library of Medicine, and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Visit:

In addition, other HHS agencies and offices include: The Office of the Secretary, Administration for Children and Families and Administration on Aging; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Health Resources and Services Administration; Indian Health Service; and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Visit:

For registration and agenda information, visit:

The Department of Veterans Affairs VA Research and Development program is able to foster the development of patient-centered evidence for clinical care decision-making and serves as a model for conducting superior bench-to-bedside research. Research advances and solutions are applied to patient care as rapidly as possible and benefits not only Veterans, but their family members and caregivers. For additional information about the VA Research Program, please visit

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) mission is to assess, validate, oversee, and facilitate prevention, resilience, identification, treatment, outreach, rehabilitation, and reintegration programs for psychological health and traumatic brain injury to ensure the Department of Defense meets the needs of the nation's military communities, warriors and families. For more information on the DCoE, please visit

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as a focal point for women's health research at the NIH. For more information about NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health, visit:

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Soldier Seeks to Reclaim Boxing Title

By Army Spc. Michael J. MacLeod
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 8, 2009 - For the woman he loved, he became a paratrooper in the vaunted 82nd Airborne Division and eventually a U.S. citizen. With his enlistment nearly up, 6-foot, 5-inch, 230-pound Army Spc. Wenderson Jangada is ready to return to his home country of Brazil to reclaim the title of heavyweight boxing champion. Jangada deployed to Iraq's Anbar province in August as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, a unit whose battle campaign streamers from World War II read like a Stephen Spielberg movie script: Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, and the Ardennes.

It is a fitting unit for a former boxing champion who has fought and trained with boxers from Argentina, Russia, and most of Europe.

"I learn from them all -- some good, some bad. The Russians just want to kill you," he said with a laugh.

Though Jangada's enlistment expires in early 2010, he expects to be extended through late autumn, allowing him to complete the current deployment.

"I will take a couple months off, then I will train to fight again," said the 2001/2002 Transcontinental heavyweight champ. "Perhaps I will take my titles back."

At 34 in the sport of boxing, Jangada is a mature practitioner, though he has friends who have boxed professionally into their 40s. "If the boxing doesn't work out, I will open a gym with my friend Daniel Silva," he said. Jangada is considering Chicago, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Ind., as possible locations.

"I am a better trainer than a boxer," he said. "Training a boxer is a puzzle. It's like building a house. Everyone starts too fast. I started too fast, but I learned."

Jangada began his career as a muay thai fighter in the same Brazilian gym that spawned mixed martial-arts greats Wanderlei and Anderson Silva. But that's not for him, Jangada said.

"Boxing is a noble art. It's a classic. Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali are classics. Besides, I have heavy hands," he said, referring to his 38 knockouts.

Recently promoted from private first class to specialist, Jangada is stationed here, 10 miles from the Syrian border, where paratroopers are partnered with Iraqi border enforcement troops.

In his time off, Jangada coaches his battle buddies in the art of boxing. "They have heart here in the Army, much more than civilians," he said.

Army 1st Lt. Christopher Hollingsworth, Jangada's platoon leader from Ennis, Texas, takes advantage of Jangada's boxing mentorship whenever he can. The former Special Forces operator and medic from 3rd Special Forces Group said he would be stupid not to take advantage of such world-class talent.

"The training he did with such a wide range of top boxers makes him a great instructor," Hollingsworth said. "We are constantly trying to pick his brain."

Noting the great progress Iraqi security forces have made in Anbar province, Jangada said the deployment is quieter than he had expected.

"Infantry is like boxing. We are fighters. We are the war dogs. We expected to find more action, but this is not the case. But then, I am glad to see nobody hurt," he said.

His wife, Susan, a former professional volleyball player, moved back to Indiana to be near family until her husband returns from Iraq.

On the night of Oct. 24, Jangada was manning a guard tower. It was dark and cold, and the pouring rain had turned the "moondust" on the base into deep, sticky gumbo. A soldier brought him a note from the Red Cross. The details: Fergeson Jangada, born Oct. 24 in Bluffington, Ind., 8 pounds, 12.3 ounces, 21 inches, mother and baby doing fine.

Susan likes the Army for the stability and health benefits, said Jangada, who is still considering re-enlistment.

"His top end is unlimited," Hollingsworth said. "If he chooses to stay in the Army, he can do whatever he wants." In the meantime, he has eight months left in the deployment to be the best paratrooper he can be, he said.

"Sometimes we love it; sometimes we hate it, but we can never forget it," Jangada said. "No matter what I do when I get out, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division is something I'm going to bring with me forever."

(Army Spc. Michael J. MacLeod serves in the Multinational Force West public affairs office.)