Military News

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

No Need to Feel SAD During the Winter

January 06, 2010: Occasionally feeling depressed is normal. Everyone has days when they feel low, irritable or sad, but these moods usually last a few days and As the season changes and the days get shorter, some people develop symptoms of depression. Sadness and lack of energy and motivation are not a normal part of the transition to fall and winter, however, studies show an increase in these symptoms during darker months.

This condition is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it usually happens during the winter. Symptoms of winter SAD normally begin in October or November and end in March or April.

The symptoms of SAD sound familiar to many and include:

• Oversleeping

• Daytime fatigue

• Carbohydrate craving

• Weight gain

TRICARE beneficiaries suffering from SAD can be optimistic about recovering and living normal lives in the winter with the many options available.

Non-active duty TRICARE beneficiaries can schedule a behavioral health care appointment and can receive the first eight behavioral health care outpatient visits per fiscal year (Oct. 1- Sept. 30) from a TRICARE provider without a referral or pre-authorization. Primary care providers can give an initial assessment and possibly treatment. To find out more about getting help go to TRICARE’s Mental Health Resource Center at http://tricare.mil/mentalhealth.

TRICARE also recently launched the TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) to help service members and their families get the behavioral health assistance they need, when it’s needed.

TRIAP provides short-term, problem solving counseling assistance 24 hours a day to beneficiaries dealing with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and well-being. Eligible beneficiaries can access TRIAP from any location in the United States, provided they have the necessary computer hardware and software. TRIAP includes assessments, short-term counseling and referrals to more comprehensive levels of care if needed. Learn more about TRIAP at www.tricare.mil/TRIAP.

California Boosts Support to Combat Vets

By Donna Miles American Forces Press Service

Jan. 6, 2010 - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced a new state initiative to better help returning combat veterans to land jobs and get whatever help they need in securing housing, health care and other veterans' services. Schwarzenegger unveiled the Operation Welcome Home outreach campaign during his State of the State address in Sacramento, citing "a fundamental obligation to anyone who has shed or risked blood for this country."

The new program charges state agencies with providing better support for veterans.

"California has more returning veterans than any other state. So our state, as well as the federal government, has a special responsibility," he said. "We have a fundamental obligation to anyone who has shed or risked blood for this country."

The state plans to hire 325 combat veterans to make contact with recently discharged troops in need of job assistance. Other plans call for recruiting 1,000 volunteers to help veterans cut through red tape so they can better tap into services provided by the Department of Veterans

Affairs and state and municipal programs, as well as non-government organizations.

Sparked by his pre-Thanksgiving visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad, Schwarzenegger said he felt compelled – despite the state's financial crisis -- to find better ways to help troops returning from the combat theater transition to civilian life.

"They have seen and experienced some hard things. Many have served tour after tour after tour. As a result, some have lost homes, spouses, limbs and lives," he said. "Too often our soldiers bring back the enemy with them in their heads," noting cases of post-traumatic stress and suicides.

Schwarzenegger acknowledged troops in uniform who recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and attended today's address, and thanked them for their service.

'To each of you, I say, 'Welcome home,'" he said.

Dashing Through the Snow, Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

By Michael M. Gleeson
TRICARE Management Activity

January 06, 2010: Winter is here, and with the colder weather comes a different set of challenges for those who enjoy spending time out-of-doors. Being adequately prepared for cool or colder weather can help TRICARE beneficiaries avoid some potentially dangerous situations. Listed below are a few serious health conditions that can occur during the winter months, the symptoms of each and information about what to do.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia develops when body temperature falls below normal due to exposure to cold. In the winter months, this condition often occurs during prolonged periods outdoors, either in wet clothes or without proper layering.

Signs of hypothermia include: a decline in body temperature, shivering and increasingly lethargic or clumsy speech. If any of these signs are detected, call 911 immediately, remove any wet clothing, wrap up in a dry blanket if possible and get indoors.

Frostbite

Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and body’s outer tissues. The condition happens most often on the body’s extremities: fingers, toes, ears and nose. Individuals with frostbite will feel a burning or numb sensation and the affected area will become pale, gray and blistered.

If frostbite occurs, do not rub the affected area. Place the affected body part in warm, but not hot, water. Continue this treatment for five minutes. Seek medical help if normal feeling and color do not return promptly after home treatment for mild frostbite.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body does not have as much water and fluids as it should, and can be brought on by losing too much fluid, not drinking enough water or fluids, or both. The condition is most closely associated with exposure to extreme heat, but during the winter it can be an often overlooked danger.

The symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, headache and dark urine. If these symptoms are detected, drinking fluids is usually sufficient. It is better to have frequent, small amounts of fluid (using a teaspoon or syringe for an infant or child) rather than trying to force large amounts of fluid at one time. For more serious cases of dehydration, intravenous fluids and hospitalization may be necessary.

Sunburns

Many people associate sunburns with long days on the beach, but the sun’s rays can still cause sunburn during winter, especially when reflected off snow. To prevent sunburn, cover exposed skin and wear sunscreen.

Being aware of and prepared for the current and forecasted weather during the winter can help prevent illness and injury from cold weather. For more information about winter weather and cold-weather safety go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter

Walt Disney World celebrates U.S. military in 2010

(1/5/10) - As Disney Parks ask "What Will You Celebrate?" and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2010, America's military personnel will have more reasons to celebrate: Special offers on theme park tickets and accommodations. With Disney's Armed Forces Salute, from Jan. 3 to July 31, 2010, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard and active members of the National Guard or Reservists) or their spouses can purchase Disney's 4-Day Military Promotional Base Tickets for $99, plus tax, for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends for use at Walt Disney World Resort. The Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options can be added for an additional $26, plus tax, per option, per ticket. No more than six Disney's 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets (with or without options) may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (and/or spouse) pursuant to this offer.

All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by Sept. 30, 2010. However, the tickets and options are not valid for use on the following blockout dates: March 27, 2010, to April 9, 2010, for all Walt Disney World theme parks and other gated attractions; and July 3 to July 4, 2010, for the Magic Kingdom park.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel also can save up to 40 percent on rooms at select Disney resorts! This offer is good for stays most nights Jan. 3-Sept. 30, 2010, except not available 3/28-4/10/10 and 7/1-7/5/10, and can be booked through July 31, 2010.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. Savings based on non-discounted price for the same room. Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Additional per-adult charges apply if more than two adults per room.

For information regarding Disney's 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets, or to make room reservations, military personnel may call 407-939-7830 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices. Information is also available at www.disneyworld.com/military

Challenges for U.S. Military

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 6, 2010 - The broader Middle East, taking care of troops and their families and managing risk remain the military's top priorities, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told participants in the Inside Washington Seminar held at George Washington University here that his goals for the coming years mirror the goals he set when he took office in October 2007.

The seminar, which includes students from 75 colleges and universities around the country, is a way for the chairman to reach out to the next generation of American leaders.

Mullen told the students that two wars in the greater Middle East are the highest priority for the Defense Department. In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus is on the Gulf states and Iran.

The chairman said he welcomed the vigorous debate over the Afghanistan strategy. "I've learned a lot, and I think we all have," he said. "Very instructive to me has been the policy debate that we had late last year for almost three months about the strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The strategy encompasses both Afghanistan and Pakistan and under it, President Barack Obama ordered another 30,000 U.S. servicemembers to Afghanistan. "Now we're in the execution phase of that," Mullen said.

The chairman called the president's decision "courageous," and said that the commanders in the region have all they need to reverse the Taliban's momentum and disrupt and defeat al-Qaida.

The chairman stressed to the students that they need to look at international problems and challenges not just through U.S. eyes, but that of other countries. Before taking office, Mullen had been to Pakistan once. Since taking office, he has traveled to Pakistan 14 times.

"It's a critical country in a critical part of the world," he said. "I encouraged the debate and I think we should always have debate on issues of this magnitude in this country."

Taking care of the people of the armed services is another priority. Putting the best people where they are needed most is a big part of that push, Mullen said.

"Putting my best people on my No. 1 priority is an absolute requirement," he said. "In the end, so much of what we do boils down to leadership and it boils down to how leaders lead, how they lead in times of change. And you are going to grow up learning leadership as things change."

The U.S. Army is deploying now as the Navy and Marine Corps always have, Mullen said. Servicemembers are deploying more and spending less time at home, and this has placed great strain on servicemembers and their families.

"Multiple deployments, stress on individuals, stress on families, a dramatically increased suicide rate across all the services" -- all are problems, he said. "But the military has taken significant steps to address those issues."

Managing risk is the chairman's third priority. This means looking at the rest of the world and making an educated guess where more risk can be accepted. The entire Pacific Basin is posed to be a sustaining economic engine for the globe, he said. Other areas, such as Africa, have similar potential, but also enormous challenges.

The chairman said his early military experience trained him to look east and west. But Mexico and the rest of Latin America are crucial to American well-being, with Brazil being another global economic engine, he said. "We as Americans are going to have to focus more and more on our partners," he said.

Mullen already is looking at what will happen once the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. "What does our military look like? What will our challenges be for the future?" he said.

"Part of my charter is to look out 10 and 20 years to see what we need to do, with my first priority being the missions I've got, the second priority, making sure we take care of the people, and then the third really is to look to the future in terms of how does it look, and knowing in the incredibly challenging times in which we exist that the military will be a big part of this."

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 6, 2010

ARMY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Missile and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded on Dec. 30, 2009, a $968,727,585 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 fiscal year 10 production buy for 253 tactical missiles, 5 test missiles, 20 launcher modification kits, 15 motor control units, 13 fire solution computers, 13 programmable array logic systems, 13 shorting plugs, 6 telemetry kits, and 1 lot each of the following: United States storage and aging, replenishment spares, obsolescence; United States/United Arab Emirates/Taiwan basic missile tooling upgrades, command and launch control tooling; United Arab Emirates unique cost; Taiwan unique cost; Taiwan spares, ground support equipment; German concurrent spares; and United States contractor field support and data items. Work is to be performed in Dallas, Texas (88.7 percent); Camden, Ark. (4.0 percent); Lufkin, Texas (2.4 percent); Chelmsford, Mass. (3.5 percent); and Ocala, Fla. (1.4 percent), with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-10-C-0002).

KCI Construction Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded on Dec. 31, 2009, a $20,680,000 firm-fixed-price design build contract. This project is to renovate three existing three-story barracks buildings, a dining hall and a battalion HQ/OPS building. Work is to be performed in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with an estimated completion date of June 23, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 10 bids received. US Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-10-C-4002).

BAE Government Services, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., was awarded on Dec. 31, 2009, a$19,396,162 firm-fixed-price contract to provide vehicle maintenance and training for the Afghan National Army for one calendar year. Work is to be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. Kabul Regional Contracting Center, Camp Eggers, Afghanistan, is the contracting activity (W91B4M-08-C-0009).

Weeks Marine, Inc., Covington, La., was awarded on Dec. 31, 2009, a $16,134,750 firm-fixed-price-contract. The contract consists of maintenance dredging, approximately 2,500,000 cubic yards using a pipeline dredge. Work is to be performed in Cameron County, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2010. 14 bids were solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Engineer District-Galveston, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912HY-10-C-0009).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded a $10,000,000 undefinitized contract action, letter contract, cost contract, for procurement of long-lead equipment, program management services and travel for the facilitization of a production plant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the M1A2S program. At completion of this facilitization effort in December 2012, this production plant will be used to convert 315 M1A2 Saudi tanks to M1A2S Saudi tank configuration. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-C-0160).

Didlake, Inc., Manassas, Va., was awarded on Dec. 31, 2009, a $9,827,909 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract provides custodial services to non-sensitive areas of the Pentagon. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Washington Headquarter Services, Acquisition and Procurement Office, Rosslyn, Va., is the contracting activity (HQ0034-08-C-1021).

L-3 Communications Combat Propulsion Systems, Muskegon, Mich., was awarded on Dec. 31, 2009, a $9,250,945 fixed-price with award-fee options for system technical support services; 20 new Bradley transmissions; 1,001 repaired Bradley transmissions; 8 transmission control tests; 481 electronic assemblies; 4 electronic assembly control tests; 481 adapters; 481 TEC cables; 481 shift towers; 1,170 transmission repair parts kits; and $5,394,209 incentives. Work is to be completed in Muskegon, Mich. (76.95 percent); Texarkana, Texas (16.51 percent); and Huddersfield, United Kingdom (6.54 percent), with an estimated completion date of December 2013. One bid wassolicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0098).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Dec, 31, 2009, an $8,219,728 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the UH-60 Blackhawk for 22 transmissions. Work is to be perfomed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Command Contracting Center, CCAM-AL-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (N00383-06-G-006F).

Anderson Excavating Co., Omaha, Neb., was awarded on Dec. 31 2009, a $7,868,475 firm-fixed- price construction contract for the Western Sarpy Levee Improvement Project, Segment 3, on Platte and Elkhorn Rivers. Work is to be performed in Sarpy County, Neb., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 5 2011. Bids were solicited via the FedBizOpps Web site with nine bids received. US Army Corp of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-10-C-0004).

Carahsoft Technology Corp., Reston, Va., was awarded on Dec. 31 2009, a $6,780,000 non-competitive, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, single award, firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for Rule Point enterprise software license and maintenance product developed by Agent Logic. Work is to be performed in Reston Va., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2014. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Geospatial Contracting Center, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W5J9CQ-10-D-0001).

NAVY

Lex Products Corp., Stamford, Conn., is being awarded $8,000,000 for a task order under blanket purchase agreement (M67854-07-A-5016) for the mobile electric power distribution replacement that distributes efficient electrical power from all standard tactical generators to military shelters and systems requiring power. Work will be performed in Stamford, Conn., and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The blanket purchase agreement was awarded on a competitive basis. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a $6,862,387 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) to exercise an option for additional systems engineering and class logistics services associated with the detail design and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer. Systems engineering efforts include detail design excursions, shock qualification, production process prototype manufacturing, and life cycle support services prior to post shakedown availability. Class logistics efforts provide for the continued development of integrated logistics support for the DDG 1000 class, including development of training curriculum, supply support documentation, maintenance analyses, and configuration status accounting. Work will be performed in Bath, Maine, and is expected to be completed by November 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Alaska Guardsmen save 48 lives in 2009

By Maj. Guy Hayes

Alaska National Guard

(1/6/10) - Army and Air National Guardsmen saved 48 lives here in Alaska in 2009 and assisted 12 others to safety during another busy year for the Alaska National Guard.

The 11th Rescue Coordination Center, the Alaska representative responsible for most aeronautical search and rescue cases in Alaska, released its end of year statistics Jan 2. It lists annual search and rescue data for the state.

Since 1994, Alaska National Guardsmen have supported RCC calls with search and rescue assets, flying 19,400 mission hours, while logging 1,718 saves and 720 assists.

Supporting an unforgiving land that is twice as large as the next largest state, Texas, with a road system that covers a relatively small area of the state, Alaska National Guardsmen provide a sense of security in a place where too often the National Guard represents the last chance for survival.

"Our Alaska National Guardsmen are called on to perform rescues in the worst conditions and because of their expertise, many Alaskans have received the emergency medical support they've desperately needed," said Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard.

Requirements for search and rescue in Alaska have increased over the last two years after the Department of Army's Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic or MAST program ended in 2008. Started in 1973, MAST provided valuable training to Soldiers and life saving benefits to communities throughout interior Alaska, with about two rescue calls per week. This void created additional demands on Alaska National Guard resources, but they continue to meet the challenge.

"Medical evacuation support continues to increase for Alaska National Guardsmen after the MAST program ended and is critical to the citizens of Alaska living in our rural communities," Katkus said.

This support came amid another busy year of deployments around the world for the Alaska National Guard, including Air National Guard deployments to Afghanistan and Army National Guard deployments to Kosovo and Iraq.

"Whether it's here in Alaska supporting search and rescue efforts or defending our country in the Global War on Terrorism, Alaska Guardsmen are highly trained and recognized for their exceptional professionalism," Katkus said. "And for 48 people in Alaska in 2009, they're glad we're ready and always there."

New Iraq post office honors four Illinois Guardsmen

By Sgt. Ryan Twist

139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

(12/2/09) - Four fallen Illinois Soldiers from the 1544th Transportation Company based in Paris, Ill., were honored for their support of postal operations in Iraq during the dedication of a new post office Dec. 17 here at Joint Base Balad (JBB), Iraq. Nine Soldiers and civilians names are written on a bronze plaque that is a replication of the one from Camp Liberty, Baghdad. The original plaque’s location was destroyed and a replica of the plaque was made for the dedication.

The Illinois National Guard Soldiers on the plaque are Spc. Jeremy Ridlen, 23, of Moroa, Ill., killed in action May 23, 2004; Spc. Charles Lamb, 23, of Casey, Ill., killed in action Sept. 5, 2004; Sgt. Shawna Morrison, 26, of Paris, Ill., killed in action Sept. 5, 2004 and Sgt. Jessica Cawvey, 21, of Normal, Ill., killed in action Oct. 6, 2004.

Capt. David W. Laes, commander of the 847th Human Resources Company based in Fort Snelling, Okla., with the 90th Special Troops Battalion, 90th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), spoke of the nine Soldiers and civilians who voluntarily give their life in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as proud American citizens.

He said their brave and vital tasks create a stable and secure environment for communities worldwide.

At JBB, those tasks sometimes involve placing themselves in harm’s way by conducting missions that range from route clearance and reconnaissance to postal operations and logistical support convoys.

“Since the beginning of operations in Iraq, there have been numerous casualties,” Laes said. “We honor our fallen daily by continuing to serve and conduct our mission with integrity, bravery and honor. The postal personnel at Joint Base Balad are dedicating the newly built post office on east Balad to our fallen postal heroes (who) gave their lives in support of the United States of America.”

Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) out of Fort Hood, Texas, said he was honored to be at the dedication.

“I think it’s fitting and appropriate that the plaque down in (Camp) Liberty got moved up here and recognizes the nine fallen postal workers that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Wentz said. “It really represents the postal community and the folks that have been dedicated to providing mail services to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians in this theater for a long time.”

Laes reminded everyone present at the ceremony what the building, and the plaque, symbolized.

“(Americans) have given their lives in sacrifice for something that they believe will bring a better, more promising future for our children, grandchildren and generations to come,” Laes said. “We come together in the most difficult of times to help one another, whether in financial crisis, natural disaster or armed conflict.”

The other five Soldiers and civilians on the plaque include Spc. Darryl Dent, 21, 547th Transportation Company, Washington, killed in action Aug. 26, 2003; Vernon Gaston, 45, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) Inc., Lampasas, Texas, killed in action Sept. 3, 2003; Pfc. Isaiah Hunt, 20, 497th Transportation Company, 1st Corps, Fort Lewis, Wash., Green Bay, Wis., killed in action Nov. 15, 2004; Sgt. Rocky Payne, 26, 497th Transportation Company, 1st Corps, Fort Lewis, Wash., Howell, Utah, killed in action March 16, 2005 and Fred Bryant, 39, KBR Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., killed in action Aug. 5, 2003.