Military News

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Task Force Conducts Bomb Training With Philippine Police


By Navy Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 29, 2009 - Members of Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines taught more than 40 Philippine National Police officers how to identify homemade bombs during training conducted in Zamboanga del Norte province Dec. 22 and 23. Philippine police spent the first day in the classroom learning about the materials used to make crude improvised explosive devices. On the second day, the bomb squad detonated the explosives during a live-fire exercise at police headquarters.

"The purpose of the class was to teach the bomb squads what to look for when searching a property of someone who is suspected of making explosives," Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dave Friedman, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, said. "Even typical household products can be used for making IEDs."

For the past six months task force members have been helping Philippine police improve their ability to better recognize, respond to and counter homemade bombs.

"In our job, we must understand the [chemical] mixtures that can make up these IEDs, so we can counter them," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kenneby Damsid, a bomb technician.

The joint task force ordnance disposal teams are situated at various locations throughout the southern Philippines, assisting the country's armed forces, the national police and local government units.

The U.S. teams draw upon experience working in the Philippines, and the knowledge gained through multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I am glad we can share our best practices" with the Philippine military and law enforcement officials, said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Smith, an explosive ordnance disposal technician.

(Navy Lt. j.g. Theresa Donnelly serves with Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines public affairs.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS December 29, 2009

ARMY

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $258,364,288 firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of 728 new M1075 palletized load system trucks on the existing contract. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $171,055,147 firm-fixed-price contract to produce fourteen UH-60M aircraft and convert them to the unique configuration for the United Arab Emirates. Work is to be performed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

Kongsberg Defense, Kongsberg, Norway, was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $162,208,210 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the modification of an existing contract to increase the maximum quantity of common remotely operated weapon stations (CROWS) by 3,849 units from 6,500 units to 10,349 units in accordance with FAR 6.302-2, unusual and compelling urgency, and 10 US U.S.C.2304 ( c) (2). The total estimated amount of the additional CROWS is $820,000,000. This is an undefinitized contract action with $162,208,210 or 50 percent obligated at time of award. Work is to be performed in Johnstown, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 1, 2012. One bid was solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-07-D-0018).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Missile and Fires Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $151,166,292 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract includes high mobility artillery rocket system full rate production Lot 5 launchers in support of the Army, to include 46 Army launchers; one Army launcher rebuild; launchers loader module trainer kit; product definition data package maintenance tack; new equipment training; and support equipment. Work is to be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas (40 percent), and East Camden, Ark. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of March 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-08-C-0001).

General Dynamics Land Systems Division, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $150,472,736 firm-fixed-price contract for the definization of material contract and acquisition of 140 M1A1 Abrams vehicles for Foreign Military Sales program customer Iraq. Work is to be performed in Lima, Ohio (70 percent), Scranton, Pa. (14 percent), Anniston, Ala. (10 percent), and Tallahassee, Fla. (6 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006)

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 28, 2009, an $83,930,178 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for call-up of battle damage assessment and repair services and materials required to support strykers in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Period of performance is Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2010. Work is to be performed at Doha, Qatar (64 percent), and Anniston Army Depot, Anniston, Ala. (35 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. TACOM LCMC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

BAE Systems, York, Pa., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $74,079,850 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of the forty third command and unique items, and remaining parts to support the quantity of 101 vehicles for Operation Desert Storm-situational awareness kits for the Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Work is to be performed in York, Pa., with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army, TACOM LCMC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-05-G-0005).

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2009, a $58,250,212 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the continuous technology refreshment of 124 PATRIOT PAC2 forebodies to guidance enhanced missile plus frequency generator upgrade. Work is to be performed in Andover, Mass., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 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 (W31P4Q-10-C-Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Dec. 15, 2009, a $56,430,339 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for the purchase of 207 new Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) M983A4 trucks on the existing HEMTT A4 contract. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2009, a $54,313,972 firm-fixed-price contract for the partial exercise of the option for 800 rocket propelled grenade kits and 172 explosively formed penetrator kits on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with one bid received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc., Niagara Falls, N.Y., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $49,000,000 cost-reimbursement task order modification contract. This modification is to increase the contract capability by $49,000,000 for a pre-placed remedial action services contract for Environmental Protection Agency Region II and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division that awarded four contracts under a multiple award task order contract. This congressional notification gives notice that the JTAV of $600,000,000 is increased by $49,000,000 with the sole intent to award on W912DQ-04-D-0023-0011. Work is to be performed in South Plainfield, N.J., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CECT-NWK-H/Cofer, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-04-D-0023).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $33,878,731 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for a change order modification for 2,277 Check-6 rear view sensor systems on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis. (50 percent), and McConnellsburg, Pa. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., was awarded on Dec. 15, 2009, a $33,638,976 firm-fixed-price contract for 144 Bradley reactive armor tile sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle systems. Work is to be performed in Haifa, Israel (43 percent); Burlington, Vt. (25.3 percent); Lyndonville, Vt. (16 percent); Simsbury, Conn. (11 percent); McHenry, Miss. (1.7 percent); Stoughton, Mass. (1 percent); St. Paul, Minn. (1 percent); and Fall River, Mass. (1 percent), with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions and Lethality, Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-06-C-0143).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $31,878,806 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for the change of 728 new M1075 palletized load system trucks A0 configuration to be upgraded to the A1 configuration. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2009, a $31,751,725 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for the purchase of 110 new HEMTT M977A4 trucks on the existing HEMTT A4 contract. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Dec. 16, 2009, a $28,983,970 firm-fixed-price contract for the funding of Army advance procurement funding for fifth program year of multi-year contract for Army Lot 35 for UH-60M and HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. Work is to be performed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0003)

AeroVironment, Inc.., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $28,949,041 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract exercised FY 09 supplemental options for Army Digital Data Link systems (DDL), Army DDL initial spares packages (ISPs), Marine Corps DDL systems, Marine Corps DDL ISPs, Army DDL retrofit kits and incorporated a not-to-exceed option for the family of systems proof of principle effort. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 1, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command/CCAM-AR-A, Aviation and Missile Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338).

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $28,333,431 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract in support of the Stryker family of vehicle. It is for the procurement of 474 hull protection "B" kits and associated spare parts for the 2/25-5th Stryker Bridge. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Tank Automotive and Armament Command, CCTA-IL, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $27,939,130 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is for the Land Warrior systems and engineering support. Work is to be performed in Scottsdale, Ariz., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-10-C-0028).

Point Blank Body Armor, Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $26,500,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 44,501 improved outer tactical vests. Work is to be performed in Pompano Beach., Fla., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground. Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-C-0124)

Hickory Construction, Inc., Alcoa, Tenn., was awarded on Dec. 28, 2009, a $9,728,000 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of an Army Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tenn. Work is to be performed at Chattanooga, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of March 28, 2011. Bids were solicited on the FedBizOpps Web site and eight bids were received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0025).

NAVY

Northrop Grumman Corp., Electronics Systems, Linthicum Heights, Md., is being awarded a contract modification valued at $35,449,872. The estimated cost ceiling of CLIN0001 and the target cost of CLIN0001 is increased by $35,449,872 to reflect the complete definitization of change orders to the configuration of the prime movers up through the final configuration change to the Medium Tactical Vehicle replacement with uparmor; the change of the Identification-Friend-or-Foe system from government furnished property to contractor acquired government property; and the modification and implementation of the upgraded UPX 40 as the identification-friend-or-foe into the Ground/Air Task Order Radar design. Approximately 80 percent of the work will be performed by Northrop Grumman in Linthicum Heights, Md., and approximately 20 percent will be performed by Northrop Grumman's subcontractor, Sensis Corp., located in Syracuse, N.Y. Contract funds will expire at the end of the next fiscal year. The contract modification was not competitively procured, as the contract cost increase is within scope of the current contract and is entered into pursuant to the changes clause. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-07-C-2072).

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded an $11,873,306 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to provide recurring engineering for the Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Counter Measure (SIRFC) system on the V-22 aircraft, to include replacement of LRU-2 with LRU-2B, SIRFC cable changes and antenna radome redesign. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pa. (98 percent), and Fort Worth, Texas (2 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2013. 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 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Alutiiq International Solutions*, Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a $10,210,210 ($9,884,370 firm-fixed-price and $325,840 estimated indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity) modification under a combination firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the exercise of option 1 for armed security guard services at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $14,846,486 ($13,217,286 firm-fixed-price and $1,629,200 estimated indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity). Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-D-9967).

NAVISTAR Defense, LLC, Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded for $6,999,931 firm-fixed-priced contract that will consist of CAT III technical labor hour support for the design and development of the Maxxpro Dash vehicle independent suspension system. Work will be performed in Warrenville, Ill., and is expected to be completed by the April 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-07-D-5032).

AIR FORCE

Integral System, Inc., Lanham, Md., was awarded a $13,586,952 contract, with a modification exercising option CLIN 1004, for sustainment calendar year 2010 in support of the Command and Control System-Consolidated program and includes program management; hardware and software maintenance updates; core and satellite vehicle-specific software maintenance; database maintenance; and pperations support for Satellite Operations Center block at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. At this time, $2,300,000 has been obligated. Space and Missiles Systems Center, Military Satellite Communication Systems Wing, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-01-C-0012).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $12,427,000 contract, with a task order from an existing requirements contract, to purchase 43 range safety systems necessary for decoy operational testings and miniature air launched decoy and jammer initial operational test and evaluation. At this time, $4,060,450 has been obligated. 692 ARSS/PK Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8682-09-D-0070).

SPARTA, Inc., Lake Forest, Calif., was awarded a $5,800,000 contract, with an advisory and assistance services task order, to provide technical expertise to the Space and Missile Systems Center's Directorate of System Engineering and Architecture, who provides support to all of the wings associated within the Space and Missile Systems Center. At this time, $1,050,000 has been obligated. SMC/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8802-10-F-3011).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $5,766,699 contract, exercising option year II, in support of the advanced cruise missile AGM-129A engineering services. At this time, no funds have been obligated. 327th Aircraft Sustainment Group Contracting Division, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8107-08-D-0001).

32nd Brigade Family Readiness Group among best in nation

Date: December 29, 2009
By Sgt. Andy Poquette
Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

The Family Readiness Group for the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team has been named the best in the Army National Guard for 2009, and will be one of seven reserve component family readiness groups to receive a Department of Defense award in February. "I am so thankful our Red Arrow soldiers have the best family readiness program in the nation," said Col. Steven Bensend, commander of the 32nd Brigade from Iraq. "Our soldiers did a great job over here because of the great work done to support their families back in Wisconsin."

"It's pretty exciting," said Janell Kellett, lead volunteer for the 32nd Brigade's family readiness group. "I've been calling all my volunteers."

Kellett oversees volunteers representing family readiness groups for 27 units deployed with the 32nd Brigade - including units from the 64th Troop Command and the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade - along with some additional groups representing units that provided individual Soldiers to augment the brigade.

The Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Awards were established in 2000 to recognize the top unit in each Reserve component - Army and Air National Guard, Army and Air Force Reserve, Navy and Marine Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve - that demonstrates outstanding family readiness while maintaining superior mission readiness. Each Reserve component selects its winner from among a large pool of nominees; final nominees are forwarded to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs for final approval.

Criteria to be considered for the award includes demonstrating the link between family readiness and mission readiness, such as having family points of contact and care plans; implementing programs and services that improve quality of life and support attracting and keeping Soldiers; ensuring that unit members have fair access to benefits and entitlements; and ensuring that National Guard families are seamlessly integrated with the total force, in part by collaborating with local bases or active component units and also by reducing family readiness issues that may interfere with a Soldier's deployment.

According to the Army National Guard panel which determined the final selection, the 32nd Brigade Family Readiness Group exceeded the criteria guidance.

"The incredible amount of time and effort our family volunteers gave is overwhelming," he said. "There is no award that can adequately thank them for that sacrifice," said Bensend.

Kellett said that the award shows the volunteers that their hard work has been recognized. "Our unit leads have done some amazing work," she said. "This reinforces that they've been doing phenomenal work. Everyone pitches in to have a successful program. This shows that the Army National Guard leadership here appreciates what we do. We want to serve the families; we want to serve the community."

The 32nd Brigade's Family Readiness Group launched a community service campaign, "Moving Forward, Giving Back" in May 2008 when the brigade began preparing for its current deployment. The initiative was developed to bring together families of Soldiers who have deployed in the past with families experiencing their first deployment, as well as to provide a focus outside of deployment concerns. Kellett reiterated that the program will continue after the brigade returns next year - in fact, even the homecoming will provide an opportunity for families to give back.

"We'll be doing a food pantry collection," she explained. "It's just another opportunity for military families to give back."

This award is the fourth presented to a Wisconsin Army National Guard Family Readiness Group in recent years. The 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Family Readiness Group won the award in 2005, followed by the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry Family Readiness Group in 2006 and the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery Family Readiness Group in 2007. Like the 32nd Brigade Family Readiness Group this year, those groups were serving deployed battalions during the time they won the award.

Kellett was the battalion lead volunteer for the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry when it won the Reserve Family Readiness Award in 2006, and said much of what was learned then has been applied to this family group.

"We wanted to ensure we worked as a team," she explained. "We pulled all the battalion leads together and made sure they had what they needed. They spoke to their unit leads to make sure everyone was on the same page. That's what makes the group strong and more successful."

Bensend said that lengthy Guard deployments cannot succeed without effective family programs. "When our Soldiers know their families are being supported back home, they can focus on their missions overseas," he explained. "Family readiness groups are really supporting the mission, too.

The award ceremony will be held in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes at 10 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2010. In addition to an engraved plaque and framed certificate, the unit will receive a cash award from the Military Officers Association of America.

Military Health Benefits Update

TRICARE Expanded Benefits and Customer Service in 2009

December 29, 2009: The past year has been a busy one for TRICARE with the introduction of a new Web-based counseling program and major enhancements to several other TRICARE benefits.

Introduced Aug. 1, 2009, the TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) uses today’s constantly evolving Web-based technologies to bring short-term professional counseling assistance closer to the people who often need it most: service members and veterans recently returned from overseas and their families who’ve persevered through the deployment.

TRIAP is available in the United States to active duty service members, those eligible for the Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP) and members enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select. It is also available to their spouses, no matter their age, and other eligible family members 18 years of age or older.

From the comfort of their homes, or anywhere else, beneficiaries with a computer, Webcam and the associated software can speak “face-to-face” with a licensed counselor over the Internet at any time of the day or night. Eligible beneficiaries can get more information about TRIAP and other behavioral health resources at www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth.

ECHO benefit increases

TRICARE has increased the amount it pays for certain Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) benefits. ECHO assists eligible family members of active duty sponsors who are diagnosed with moderate or severe mental retardation, a serious physical disability, or an extraordinary physical or psychological condition.

The total TRICARE cost share for training, rehabilitation, special education, and assistive technology devices was increased to $36,000 per fiscal year. This covers institutional care in private, nonprofit, public and state institutions and facilities and, if appropriate, transportation to and from such institutions and facilities. To learn more about ECHO, go to www.tricare.mil/echo.

Standard preventive care enhanced

Getting clinical preventive services can help prevent major health problems. In September 2009 TRICARE waived all cost shares for Standard beneficiaries for colorectal cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer screenings, immunizations and well-child visits for children under 6 years of age. Also, for all beneficiaries over age 6, when a visit to a health care provider includes one or more of the benefits listed above, the cost share for the visit is waived. Other services provided during the same visit are subject to cost shares and deductibles.

New Active Duty Dental Program

On Aug. 1, 2009, TRICARE launched a new dental program for active duty service members. The Active Duty Dental Program is designed for service members assigned to locations with no access to a military dental facility, and those referred by their dental treatment facility (DTF) to the civilian network for specialty care or due to unavailability of timely DTF appointments.

For more information about this new dental program, go to http://www.addp-ucci.com/

OTC meds available without copay

Due to positive feedback and cost savings, TRICARE’s over-the-counter (OTC) medication demonstration was continued. The demonstration allows TRICARE beneficiaries to substitute certain prescription drugs with over-the-counter versions for zero copay.

OTC medications are generally less expensive than their prescription versions, by as much as 400 percent in some cases.

To get the covered OTC allergy medications cetirizine and loratadine, and heartburn medications (proton-pump inhibitors) Prilosec OTC and its generic form omeprazole with no out-of-pocket costs, beneficiaries still need a prescription from their health care provider specifically for the OTC drug. After submitting the prescription at any TRICARE retail network pharmacy or through the TRICARE mail-order pharmacy, the prescription for the OTC medication is filled at no cost.

For more information about the TRICARE Pharmacy Program, go to www.tricare.mil/pharmacy
After a busy year in 2009, TRICARE is looking forward to an equally productive 2010. Keep an eye on www.tricare.mil/pressroom for news throughout the year and get benefit information direct from TRICARE via e-mail by signing up at www.tricare.mil/subscriptions

Guard Members Respond to Holiday Storms

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 29, 2009 - More than 100 National Guard soldiers and airmen responded over the holiday and through the weekend to support callouts by governors in four Midwest states hit by severe winter weather. The National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., reported that Guard members were first summoned to preposition equipment in preparation for the storm, which produced blizzard conditions in some areas and deposited record-breaking snow and ice throughout much of the nation.

Some areas closed roadways and airports. News agencies reported that at least 21 deaths were caused by roadway accidents. Localized power outages occurred and many holiday travelers were stranded at shuttered airports and slowed by snow-covered roads and accidents.

Texas officials reported that Gov. Rick Perry activated state resources, including Texas National Guard personnel, high profile vehicles and other resources to assist motorists and communities in Lubbock and the surrounding area.

Officials at the Texas Joint Forces Headquarters reported that at least 36 Guard members supported local responses to road closures, accidents and power outages in areas including Lubbock, Post and Wichita Falls.

In Nebraska, Guard members helped local emergency medical personnel access hard-to-reach areas in Lincoln by providing and operating four-wheel-drive Humvees.

At least 18 Oklahoma Guard members on Christmas Day patrolled interstates to transport stranded travelers to safety after record snowfalls closed major highways and roadways throughout the state Dec. 24.

In South Dakota, Gov. Mike Rounds declared a state of emergency Dec. 22, and at least 90 Guard members helped prepare their state for storm response.

In addition, Army Guard search and rescue crews searched for missing people in Colorado and Maryland.

Colorado Guard members flew an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter to assist emergency responders looking for two skiers in Lake County. Officials reported that the skiers were found and transported to a local command post where they were treated for cold weather injuries.

Guard Bureau officials reported that Maryland Guard members flew an OH-58 to assist emergency responders searching for an 11-year-old girl who was reported abducted from her home Dec. 25. The crew was released by the Wicomico County Sheriff that day.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves with the National Guard Bureau.)

Three Vaccines Now Available at TRICARE Network Pharmacies

December 29, 2009: TRICARE beneficiaries can now receive select vaccines with no out-of-pocket expense at retail pharmacies.For the first time ever, beneficiaries can visit TRICARE retail network pharmacies to receive seasonal flu, H1N1 flu and pneumonia vaccines at no cost. This expanded coverage is available to all TRICARE beneficiaries eligible to use the TRICARE retail pharmacy benefit.

Other vaccines must still be administered in a doctor’s office or authorized convenience clinic to be fully covered by TRICARE’s preventive health services cost-share waiver.

“Vaccines are the most effective defense against the seasonal and H1N1 flu and pneumonia,” said Rear Adm. Thomas McGinnis, TRICARE’s chief pharmacy officer. “We hope this new, convenient and affordable option encourages TRICARE beneficiaries to get their vaccinations.”

To receive the vaccines, beneficiaries can call their local TRICARE retail network pharmacy to make sure it participates in the vaccine program and has the vaccine in stock. To locate a participating retail network pharmacy, go to http://www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE or call Express Scripts at 877-363-1303.