Military News

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mullen Underscores Importance of Academy Experience

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 31, 2009 - On hand for a pair of service academy football bowl games in Texas today, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscored the symbolism of the matchups for troops around the world. But he also emphasized the importance of looking at an academy experience as a potential for launching careers as military officers.

"These games are watched around the world and the players playing in them know that so that they represent great institutions," he said in an interview before the Armed Forces Bowl here that pitted the Air Force Academy against the University of Houston. Mullen, who returned recently from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, said the games in which service academies appear resonate with military personnel stationed in the Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

"I just returned from being overseas for a week and some of the discussions I had with players were about these games," he said. "They're very proud of the teams and what they represent."

The chairman said one of the things he reminds players of is the institutions and the country they represent – a sense of scale and magnitude that young players often find hard to comprehend.

"My recollection of being at that age is you don't realize per se how special cadets or midshipmen are, and who they represent," Mullen said.

The chairman said his presence at the game here, and later at the Texas Bowl in Houston, in which the Naval Academy faced off with Missouri, was to remind them of the resonance of their mission and to show the nation's appreciation for their service.

A day earlier in a pep talk to the Air Force team, Mullen shared an anecdote about meeting a former center on the Falcon team who had planned to conclude his service in the Air Force after his stint at the academy and once his mandatory service tenure was complete. But that player, now a captain who Mullen met during his recent trip Afghanistan, decided to take another look at the Air Force as a career, he said.

"He said, 'I got commissioned, and it's probably something I'm going to do for a career,'" Mullen said yesterday, recalling his conversation with the young airman in Afghanistan. He added that it's not uncommon for troops to attend a service academy for one reason, then remain in the military for another – a model that echoes Mullen's own.

"I actually made the decision to go to the service academy without a long-term vision," he said of his decision to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. "Initially I was only going to be there two years ... of course, it worked out a little differently."

Asked what caused him to decide to remain in military for a career, Mullen cited two reasons.

"First, it would be the mission and serving your country. And then secondly, it's the people," he said. "I met the best people of my entire life when I showed up at Annapolis; it's been that way right through today: people that care, people that you want to be around, teammates just like this football team here today that really are making a difference and doing something bigger than anything for themselves, so in that regard they're a very special group, as are all the service academies."

Not trivializing the gravity of today's bowl games, Mullen predicted – accurately, it turns out – that both teams would win in exciting games.

"Yes, they're focused on a football game, there should be no other focus today," he said. "But there's also a lot to look forward to."

Military Academy Bowl Victories Shine Light on Armed Forces

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 31, 2009 - The Air Force and Naval academy football teams triumphed in their respective bowl games today, shining a spotlight on the servicemember-athletes comprising the rosters and the armed forces they represent. Military honors were replete here at the 5th annual Armed Forces Bowl, which pitted the underdog Air Force Falcons against the University of Houston in a rematch of last year's bowl game that saw the Falcons falter.

The nation's highest-ranking military officer -- who has a penchant for handing out coins bearing the insignia of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- accepted a coin at the 50-yard line for the official toss that would grant the Falcons first possession of the ball.

In a reverse of pessimistic prognostications that favored the University of Houston by more than four points, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen sounded a hopeful prediction for the Falcons before kickoff.

"We come in as underdogs routinely in games like this, and I can't think of a team that's better prepared than Air Force today to go up against this very good team, and Navy a little later on to go up against Missouri," he said, referring to a separate bowl game that played out later. "I look forward to both service academies winning."

As the Falcons took the field, their helmets shone under the lights at Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of Texas Christian University. But for today's game, the familiar lightning bolt adorning the helmet was changed from solid Air Force blue to a camouflage pattern in a show of solidarity with airmen deployed downrange.

More than a quarter of the estimated crowd of 40,000 fans comprised servicemembers and their family members who took advantage of complimentary tickets donated by Bell Helicopter, which joined ESPN as a cosponsor of the game in 2006. The sponsorship was a natural fit, said the company's top executive, since more than half of Bell's business is with military clientele.

"This is an opportunity for us to not only recognize the uniformed services, but also to recognize the families and the sacrifices the families make for the uniformed servicemembers," said John Garrison, the president and CEO of Bell Helicopter and a former Army Airborne Ranger.

During the first half, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs made his rounds throughout the stadium, greeting military personnel and civilians alike and frequently replenishing his handshake with supplies from the hulking change purse containing his military coins.

One of the troops to accept Mullen's coin-laden grip was Army Spc. Jason Williamson, who was assigned to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment when he was injured in Mosul, Iraq, in July 2008. Williamson, taking a break from his recovery south of here at Fort Hood, Texas, and his family took advantage of the complimentary tickets along with some 12,000 others.

With the Air Force taking a commanding lead at halftime, the teams retired to their locker rooms as Mullen and servicemembers representing each military branch congregated at mid-field, where the chairman accepted the Great American Patriot Award on behalf of the 2.2 million men and women in the armed forces.

After accepting the award in honor of troops already in uniform, the chairman then officially enlisted roughly 125 recruits, comprising 25 members of each service branch and a cross-section of troops that included both enlisted members and officer candidates.

The columns of young recruits repeated the oath of enlistment in lock-step with the chairman, after which Mullen told them over the audience's applause, "Welcome aboard!"

One member of the wave of America's newest troops to receive the oath of enlistment and the coin from the nation's top military officer was Army cadet Capt. Travis Barrington. The young recruit, somewhat awestruck, remarked that he'd never seen so many ribbons on one uniform.

"I've been to general promotions before," said Barrington, a student at Texas Christian University, "but I've never met someone this high up.

"I wanted to serve my country in the best way I knew how, and the best way I knew how to do that was to join the ROTC and become an officer and lead soldiers," Barrington said, describing his reason for enlisting. And in contrast to Mullen's vision upon his joining the ranks, Barrington, an aspiring transportation officer added, "I'd like to make a career out of it. Then I'd like to become a minister someday."

As a young sailor at the U.S. Naval Academy, Mullen never would have predicted he would be reading to someone like Barrington the military scripture that turns civilians into troops. In his own words, Mullen arrived at the academy with "no long-term vision" of remaining in the military for the long haul. But in hindsight, he advises young servicemembers to remain open to considering the military as a long-term career, reflecting his own serendipitous decision to stay in uniform.

Mullen's prediction for the games' outcomes proved much more accurate than the personal vision he divined as a young sailor looking into his own future. At the conclusions of today's matchups, the Air Force trounced Houston University 47 – 20, before Navy took on Missouri at the Texas Bowl in Houston, where the academy torpedoed their opponents 35-13.

Top 10 call-outs of the National Guard in 2009

By Master Sgt. Greg Rudl
National Guard Bureau

Staff Sgt. William Griffin of the 136th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion drives a Humvee on a road flooded by water from the Sheyenne River April 15, 2009, in Fort Ransom, N.D. Griffin and Spc. Jessica Sandberg, of the 132nd Quartermaster Battalion are making a welfare visit to a rural civilian resident at his home, which is surrounded by the flood water. (DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp) (Released)

download hi-res photoARLINGTON, Va., (12/31/09) - In addition to the thousands of Soldiers and Airmen currently activated for ongoing federal missions, the Guard provides significant response to planned events and unexpected contingencies. On average, on any given day, 17 governors call out their Guard to help citizens in need. Though 2009 lacked a major hurricane, wildfire or other natural disaster, it still had its moments. Here are the biggest and most memorable call-outs of 2009.

#10 Mena, Arkansas tornado

The pictures of its destruction reminded many of the 2007 F-5 twister in Greensburg, Kan., and the tornado that devastated Parkersburg, Iowa, in 2008. Soon after a powerful tornado ripped through the community of 5,700 the night of April 10, members of the Arkansas Army National Guard’s 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived. They conducted search and rescue and set up security check points. As morning broke and the destruction became more visible, more Guardmembers arrived to help.

#9 Runaway balloon

Call it a publicity stunt gone wrong, but when the Colorado National Guard got the call in October that a silver Mylar balloon was adrift with possibly a boy inside, they wasted no time scrambling UH-60 Black Hawk and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters to provide assistance to civilian authorities tracking it. As millions watched on TV, the small balloon crashed gently some 50 miles from where it started – with no one aboard.

#8 The Blizzard of 2009

The recent storm that crippled the Eastern seaboard with record snowfall had governors in affected states and the District of Columbia calling out more than 1,200 Guardmembers. The Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen responded, performing missions that included aerial reconnaissance, transporting food, water, blankets and other supplies, transporting stranded motorists and health care professionals and sheltering operations.

#7 Snow and rain in Washington

When previous heavy snowfall combined with on-going rainfall caused flooding conditions throughout the state in January, more than 400 Washington National Guard members were called out to help. They cleared snow, staffed traffic control points, used high-water vehicles to evacuate people, moved supplies and conducted door-to-door health and welfare checks, not to mention delivering 30,000+ sandbags to affected areas.

#6 Kentucky ice storms

Though the western part of Kentucky was hardest hit, this massive ice storm stretched from the Ozarks through Appalachia, paralyzing several states in late January and early February, including Arkansas and Missouri. Over 4,000 were called up in Kentucky alone – its largest in history – to clear debris, provide communications support, engineering capability, power generation, security and aviation recovery missions as well as distribute food and water.

#5 Red River flooding

Saving a town from flooding takes team work and a strong back. Guardmembers from Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Missouri and South Dakota – 2,000-3,000 of them – found that out in March and April when they helped fill and place millions of sandbags. Why? The Red River, swelled from rain and snow, was threatening the towns of Fargo and Moorhead. They also did snow removal, worked at traffic control checkpoints, helped in evacuations and assisted local law enforcement in dike and shelter security.

#4 Tsunami response in American Samoa

This call-out was memorable because of the way Guardmembers got to the scene of the disaster. Hundreds of members of the Hawaii Air National Guard climbed aboard military jets and flew thousands of miles to provide medical care and other aid to residents of American Samoa in September after a tsunami struck the region. Medical teams treated people in the capital and other troops convoyed to remote villages to support search and rescue operations.

#3 Oil refinery fire

More than 300 Puerto Rico National Guard troops responded to a massive fire that burned a refinery near San Juan in October. The Army Guard’s 215th Firefighting Team and the Puerto Rico Air National Guard worked with local firefighters to contain the blaze.

#2 G-20 Summit

Demonstrators took to the streets in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 24-25 but so did more than 2,500 Pennsylvania National Guard members to maintain order, supporting local, state and federal authorities. It was called Operation Steel Kickoff – fitting for a town with six Super Bowl Championships.

#1 Presidential inauguration

Many estimates had the Guard presence for the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration at over 10,000. They came from states near and far, by personal auto to military transport. They patrolled a packed National Mall providing security, crises response, basic first aid and medical evacuation if needed. Guardmembers manned traffic control points, facilitated communications and some even marched in the inaugural parade and played in bands at inaugural balls.

Military Contracts December 31, 2009

AIR FORCE

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc, Poway, Calif., was awarded a $266,055,622 contract for program management; urgent repairs and services; logistics support; configuration management; technical manual and software maintenance; engineering technical services; contract engineering technical specialists; contractor inventory control point and spares management; depot repair; flight; operations support; reliability/maintenance enhancements; and CAMS/REMIS/CEMS data collection entry for the Predator/Reaper MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned aircraft system program. At this time, $53,211,124.4 has been obligated. 703rd Aeronautical Systems Squadron, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028).

Boeing Co., Long Beach, Calif., was awarded a $263,581,484 modified contract for the basic C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership contract that provides total systems support responsibility to Boeing for the C-17 weapon system to include program management; sustaining logistics; material and equipment management; sustainment engineering; depot level aircraft maintenance; engine management; long term sustainment planning; air logistics center partnering support; depot activation; and support of Air Force and Foreign Military Sales operator of the C-17. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 730 ACSG/GFKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga, is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004).

Raytheon Co, McKinney, Texas, was awarded a $38,078,612 contract to provide for CY10 contractor logistics support of the multi-spectral targeting system for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft systems. At this time, $12,565,938 has been obligated. 703 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-06-G-4041).

The Scitor Corp., El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $15,000,000 contract to extend advisory and assistance services to the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing for a period of six months starting Jan. 1, 2010. At this time, $4,605,965 has been obligated. ISSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8810-09-C-0002).

ARMY

Zachry Construction Corp., San Antonio, Texas, was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $22,376,777 firm-fixed-price contract for construct channel improvement, mission reach, Phase 2a. Work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 10, 2011. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0007).

Honeywell International, Tempe, Ariz., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $22,194,580 firm-fixed-price contract for 1,227 J7 digital electronic control units and six J7 digital electronic control unit control tests. Work is to be performed in Tucson, Ariz., with an estimated completion date of March 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-C-0121).

David Boland, Inc., Titusville, Fla., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $20,869,748 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for HUBZone MATOC, West Banks and vicinity, WBV-24 Segnette State Park floodwall. Work is to be performed in Jefferson Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of June 24, 2011. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with 13 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0026).

L.B. Foster Co., Pittsburgh, Pa., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, an $18,068,310 fixed-price contract for supply, transport, storage and maintenance of various lengths of sheetpile in New Orleans, La. Work is to be performed at various locations in Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of July 21, 2011. Bids were solicited via the FedBizOpps Web site and Army Single Face to Industry, with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0031).

IAP Worldwide Services, Panama City, Fla., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2009, a $16,642,697 firm-fixed-price contract for line haul transportation within Kuwait and Iraq. Work is to be performed in Kuwait and Iraq with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Center, RICC-CCRC-RT, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait City, Kuwait, is the contracting activity (W912D1-05-D-0011).

Tepa Ec, LLC, Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded on Dec. 16, 2009, a $15,294,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of a battalion complex, company operation facility and unmanned vehicle hangar. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0022).

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Hurst, Texas, was awarded on Dec. 17, 2009, a $13,215,299 firm-fixed-price contract for the upgrade of 270H-58D Kiowa Warrior aircraft Control Display System (CDS) version 2 to the current CDS4 configuration. Work is to be performed in Hurst, Texas, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0065).

Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc., McLeansville, N.C., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2009, a $12,838,294 firm-fixed-price contract for the acquisition in support of the Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization program for Fort Benning. Work is to be performed in Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of July 1, 2013. 10 bids were solicited with four bids received. Army Contracting Command, NCRCC-ITEC4, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91QUZ-06-D-0027).

Altech, Inc., Texarkana, Texas, was awarded on Dec. 16, 2009, a $12,613,690 firm-fixed-price contract for the design/build of an Armed Forces Reserve Center at Red River Army Depot, Texas. Work is to be performed in Red River, Texas, with an estimated completion date of May 1, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with nine bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0019).

BAE Systems, York, Pa., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $12,575,761 cost-reimbursable, no-fee contract. A combination of funds from operations and maintenance reset and the Army Working Capital Fund are being used to fund the termination liability schedule. Work is to be performed in York, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM, CCTA-AHL-A, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-05-G-0005).

Flynco, Inc., Little Rock, Ark., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $12,549,078 construction firm-fixed-price contract for the design/build of an Armed Forces Reserve Center at Pine Bluff, Ark. Work is to be performed in Pine Bluff, Ark., with an estimated completion date of May 1, 2011. Bids were solicited via the FedBizOpps Web site with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps oF Engineers, Louisville District Office, CELRLCT-M, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0022).

EADS North American Defense, Arlington, Va., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2009, a $11,733,285 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the funding of program year 05 of the Army's utility helicopter for six hoist B-kits, 624 hours of contractor field team in support of the main post helipad at the National Training Center. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2016. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-BH-C, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-06-C-0194).

Logistics Value Integrations, Inc., Fairfax, Va., was awarded on Dec. 16, 2009, a $10,621,534 labor-hour contract for the services for the non-army managed items asset management system. Work is to be performed in Rock Island, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 16, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM-Rock Island, CCTA-AR-FB, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-F-0011).

Costello Construction of Maryland, Columbia, Md., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $10,503,200 design-build firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is a two-phase design-build for a new National Museum of Health and Medicine to be built at Forest Glen Annex, Md. The museum currently resides at Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, D.C. Work is to be performed in Silver Spring, Md., with an estimated completion date of April 1, 2011. One bid was solicited via the FedBizOpps Web site with seven bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (W912DR-10-C-0005).

Rockwell Collins, Simulation and Training Solutions, Sterling, Va., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $10,304,294 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of one transportable Blackhawk operations simulator device nine, Bahrain military sales. Work is to be performed in Sterling, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-BH-C, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0257).

ENSCO, Inc., Falls Church, Va., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $9,705,275 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the support for the system survivability analysis, modeling and balanced survivability assessments program. Work is to be performed in Falls Church, Va., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (HSTRA1-07-C-0049).

Weeks Marine, Inc., Covington, La., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $7,908,571 firm-fixed-fee contract. This contract is for the passes of the Mississippi River, Southwest Pass maintenance dredge, cutterhead or dredge rental contract No. 1-2009, mile 5.0 AHP to 19.5 BHP, C/L Sta. 2925+20 to C/L Sta., Plaquemines Parish, La. The work consist of furnishing one fully crewed and equipped cutterhead or dustpan dredge and attendance plant with a dredge discharge size not less than 27 inches inside diameter nor greater than 30 inches on a rental basis. Work is to be performed at the Mississippi River Southwest Pass area and possible areas of the New Orleans District, with an estimated completion date of Apr. 23, 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 (W912P9-10-C-0028).

Creek Services, LLC, Gretna, La., was awarded on Dec. 21, 2009, a $7,857,398 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the construction of the Atchafalaya Basin Levee E-40 project. The work consist of levee enlargement; cleaning and grubbing; fertilizing; seeding and mulching levee crown; ramps and access road surfacing; and other incidental work. Work is to be performed in Iberville Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of June 26, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 13 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0025).

Kaman Aerospace Corp., Helicopter Division, Bloomfield, Conn., was awarded on Dec. 22, 2009, a $7,152,540 firm-fixed-price contract to exercise the option for application of corrosion prevention blade coating on 500 government furnished blades for installation on the UH/HH-60M aircraft. Work is to be performed in Bloomfield, Conn., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2014. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0155).

AAI Corp, Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $7,109,408 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This is an indefinite-quantity contract with five ordering periods. Task order 0003, with funding modifications 01 through 04, is for unmanned aerial vehicle systems engineering and technical support. Funds are obligated upon the issuance of each order period/task order/modification. The contract minimum level of effort is 146 man-hours of engineering, technical and support labor. Engineering and technical services are required to support Joint Technology Center/Systems Integration Laboratory research, development and engineering tasks conducted by the contractor on its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles and related interfaces, components, processes, capabilities and architectures. Work is to be performed in Redstone Arsenal, Ala. (95 percent), and Hunt Valley, Md. (5 percent), with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Contracting Center, CCAM-RD-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-08-D-0035).

Healtheon, Inc., New Orleans, La., was awarded on Dec. 23, 2009, a $5,898,178 firm-fixed-price contract for HUBZone MATOC, Lake Pontchartrain and vicinity, north of Airline Highway, Bayou Trepagnier Complex floodwall, Phase 2. Work is to be performed in St. Charles Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of June 6, 2011. 11 bids were solicited with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-09-C-0043).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

DeRossi & Son Co.*, Vineland, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $11,644,200 firm fixed-price, total set-aside, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for men's dress coats. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with four responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-10-D-1029).

Career Counselor Continues Mission in Iraq


By Army Spc. Maurice A. Galloway
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 31, 2009 - Army Staff Sgt. Brain K. Pascual likes to get out and tell soldiers about their re-enlistment options as part of his work as a career counselor in Iraq. Assigned to the 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Fires Brigade, Pascual is one of 70 Army career counselors deployed throughout Multinational Force Iraq.

The Waipahu, Hawaii, native has met his retention goals for the 2009 fiscal year.

Pascual has "a real passion for his job and truly exemplifies the Army values," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph E. Santos, 17th Fires Brigade's senior noncommissioned officer. "We couldn't be more proud of him and all of the effort that he has shown since he's been with us."

The Fort Lewis, Wash.-based brigade has led all units on post in retaining soldiers for the past three years, and it shows no sign of slowing while deployed to Basra, Iraq.

"Sergeant Pascual has done a great job for us," said Senior Career Counselor Army Master Sgt. Jason A. Koutsalas. "It's very rare that you find someone that has a genuine compassion for soldiers and their families compiled with a tremendous work ethic like him."

Career counselors like Pascual receive directives from the Department of the Army Headquarters informing them of specifications and monetary incentives for soldiers eligible to re-enlist in this all-volunteer Army.

Counselors then market the Army to eligible candidates throughout their unit in trying to meet the needs of the soldier as well as the retention requirements of the Army.

After meeting with soldiers and gaining an assessment of what it would take to gain their continued service, Pascual then correlates the soldier's request with the incentives offered for the fiscal re-enlistment year and drafts a custom contract.

"Soldiers are the driving force of this Army; it's their service that astonishes me, because they don't have to stay, but yet time after time I listen to people and they tell me that there is nothing else they'd rather do," Pascual said.

Pascual's success has earned a nomination to compete in the Secretary of the Army Career Counselor of the Year Competition in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18.

"The hardest thing for me is being the center of attention, because I know that nothing is accomplished alone," Pascual said. "I feel that if I'm being recognized, then my whole team should be as well. So I'm not only representing myself, I've been selected to represent our entire brigade."

(Army Spc. Maurice A. Galloway serves with the 17th Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office.)

Servicemember Voting Laws Reflect Changes

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 31, 2009 - Laws have changed and servicemembers who want to vote need to be aware of these changes, the director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program said. Generally, military personnel who want to vote are a higher percentage than that in the general population. Still, there can be roadblocks to exercising the franchise.

Overseas-deployed servicemembers may find that "the absentee ballot doesn't get to them on time, so they can vote it and send it back to the election official so it can be counted," Bob Carey explained during an interview yesterday.

In the general population about nine out of every 10 absentee ballots are successfully cast, the director said. "Only about six or seven out of every 10 military ballots are successfully returned," he said.

The biggest problems, Carey said, involves the nature of overseas duty and delays in the military postal system.

Carey's organization is working to expedite the voting process for military members. On the postal side, officials are looking at ensuring that all military ballots take seven days or less in transit. Imagine an express-mail service for military voters, Carey said.

The power of the Internet also is being harnessed. Military voters can go to www.fvap.gov for almost one-stop shopping. A servicemember can go online and find the necessary voting forms and fill them out right there.

"Down the line we will also have an online ballot system where they can receive the ballot online, fill it out online and chose their candidates online," Carey said. "They will still have to print it out and sign it, but it would end the wait of getting the ballots."

Deployed servicemembers -- at combat outposts and aboard ships -- are the most affected by voting issues. Many military voters also are younger and aren't aware of the processes behind voting, Carey noted.

"We're trying to make it easy," he said, "so they don't have to know chapter and verse of election law in order to participate in the process."

One of the bigger changes in the process is that military voters must send in a federal postcard application – again available at www.fvap.gov -- as soon as possible.

"The law has changed and even if they have been getting their absentee ballot automatically they have to register each and every year," Carey pointed out.

Servicemembers also must submit a postcard application each time they move, each time they deploy and each time they redeploy.

"We're encouraging everyone by Jan. 15 to send in a new federal postcard application," Carey said. Local election officials, he said, are more than happy to deliver balloting materials, but they have to know where to send them.

Program Helps Servicemembers Transition to Civilian Life

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 31, 2009 - The Department of Defense's Transition Assistance Program is working to prepare servicemembers and their families for a successful transition to civilian life. “We are trying to ensure that [servicemembers] transition from active duty back to the civilian community is a smooth and seamless one," Ron Horne, deputy director for the Transition Assistance Program at the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy told listeners during a "Dot Mil Docs" interview today.

The idea of the program is to make them aware of the support systems that are available to them, he said. The DoD has a partnership with the Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs to help servicemembers with their transition. The program also works with the Department of Homeland Security for Coast Guard Members as well.

Horne said that the program has five major components to it: pre-separation counseling, Department of Labor employment workshops, VA benefits briefings, the Disabled Transition Assistance Program and one-on-one counseling, all of which take place at local military installations and bases.

The pre-separation counseling component consists of an overview of 16 topics that counseling and coaching addresses with service members, Horne said. It gives a review of transition services, benefits, and resources available for the transition process.

The employment workshop is "a baseline to start looking and preparing for employment," said Horne. In the workshop, servicemembers go over skills including resume writing, creating cover letters, dressing for success and job search techniques.

The VA benefits briefing serves as a session to inform servicemembers of benefits they may be entitled to include the Montgomery GI Bill, healthcare, VA counseling and the home loan program.

Servicemembers who have a service related disability also must attend the DTAP briefing. "In this session they learn about the benefits they may be entitled based on their ratings from VA," Horne said.

Once servicemembers have completed those four core components of TAP, they are eligible for one-on-one counseling at their installations transition office, Horne said. Transition counselors assist the servicemembers in a variety of ways including completing their resume, information on medical benefits and technology access.

For Army installations, services are provided by Army Career and Alumni Program Centers. On Navy installations, the transition assistance office is usually located at the Fleet and Family Support Center, at Marine Corps Bases the services are provided through the Marine Corps Community Services and Air Force services are provided through the Airmen and Family Readiness Flight centers. Members of the Coast Guard can receive services through Work-Life offices.

Horne also said that many separating servicemembers are not looking for employment but are returning to school. "We encourage them to use their education benefits because they've earned it and that is one way to ensure that they are prepared to compete with their contemporaries that were getting an education while they were on active duty," he said.

He encourages servicemembers to start their transition process 12 months before voluntarily leaving the service and 24 months before retiring. "Anyone that reaches the 18th year mark should start the transition process," he said. "It is overwhelming when you wait until the last minute."

TAP also has a Web site, www.turbotap.org, which offers a timeline on the transitioning process and other resources that help with the entire process. "We are trying to get [servicemembers] started early enough so that they can plan to do things step by step."

He also said the TAP office is "rethinking and reshaping the program," so that transitioning isn't an event but a process from when a servicemember joins the military to their departure or retirement or as long as they need assistance once they become a veteran. The program hopes to guide servicemembers in setting career goals and starting financial planning early. They are also finding ways to leverage technology to reach their younger audiences through Facebook, Twitter, and texting.

"We feel that TAP needs to be designed and developed in a way that when a member needs it, it will be there for them. Whether it's a facility at a base or online for someone that is at a remote location," Horne said. "We think the future of Tap is bright and we have a way to go, but we have done some wonderful things."

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media directorate.)