Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Team Wisconsin comes together to serve state's newest veterans

Date: January 20, 2010

As the approximately 3,200 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers who deployed with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team return from Iraq this month, one mission remains — and a team of state agencies are working to give Soldiers the tools they need to complete that mission.

To ensure success on this front, the Wisconsin Service Member Support Division joined forces with the state Department of Workforce Development and the state Department of Veterans Affairs, along with several other agencies, to help returning Soldiers and Airmen understand what rights and benefits they have earned as veterans - in particular, education, employment and health care, and the opportunity to file service-related Veterans Administration disability claims before leaving active duty.

This collaboration is a natural outgrowth for the SMSD, created in 2009 as required by Congress to combine the Badger Yellow Ribbon program, Wisconsin National Guard Family Program Office and the Joint Family Support Assistance Program (JFSAP). Run by the Wisconsin National Guard, the SMSD offers help previously available through a variety of programs through one office to families and employers of service members from all components, both active duty and reserve.

According to Jeffrey Unger, the transition assistance advisor for Wisconsin's Department of Military Affairs, many benefits veterans have earned go unused. Beginning Thursday (Jan. 14), he moderated "Wisconsin Day" - a detailed presentation to veterans back in the state less than 24 hours from a deployment to Iraq, acquainting them with their benefits. These briefings are considered crucial for returning service members.

"We want to make sure we introduce veterans to the core programs and services that are basically life-altering," Unger said.

Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen returning from overseas deployments have been briefed on such benefits in the past, during their demobilization as well as periodic "reintegration" sessions in the year following the end of their active duty tour. The idea for this type of presentation, Unger explained, was modeled after a similar effort last summer at Fort McCoy for the 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the Washington Army National Guard. Thursday was the test run for Wisconsin Day, which was scheduled for several days during the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team's demobilization.

"Reports from unit commanders [are] that this is the way to go," he said. Mike Hallquist, a representative with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) spoke to 32nd Brigade Soldiers about job security in an uncertain economy.

"Your employer cannot discriminate against you because you served your country," he explained. Soldiers have a right to return to the same or similar job at the pay rate they would have received had they not deployed, Hallquist said, and if they have been released due to downsizing at their job, they have a right to know their seniority status with the company to determine if their release would have occurred had they not deployed. These rights are spelled out under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA.

Hallquist cautioned Soldiers that they have certain responsibilities, such as providing their employers with adequate notice of their upcoming deployment and returning to work within 90 days following the end of that deployment. If the Soldier believes he or she has been treated unfairly by their employer, they are obliged to contact their chain of command, and then contact ESGR along with the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). If the complaint has merit and ESGR gets involved, "then it's the U.S. government versus your employer," Hallquist said. "You can guess who will win that one."

Ken Grant, a representative from the state Department of Workforce Development, spoke to Soldiers about various workshops offered to help those without jobs reenter the workforce. "In these tough economic times, we want to make sure you're the best prepared job applicant," Grant said. "We'll also do all that we can to help you get the right job skills. We want you to be the best prepared and the best qualified."

Ray Perez, from the state Department of Veterans Affairs, outlined federal and state veterans' benefits available to returning Soldiers. Some of these include the Wisconsin G.I. Bill, veteran education grants, assistance to needy vets, retraining grants, veteran homes and cemeteries, and the "Mission: Welcome Home" program.

"Listen up, guys - you're duly entitled," he said. "You're eligible for these benefits, but more importantly, you've earned them."

Rebecca Boehlke spoke about Military OneSource, which provides a vast array of services to veterans and non-veteran service members alike. These run the gamut from free counseling sessions for family issues, programs for weight loss and stress relief, financial counseling, and free tax preparation with a professional service through Military OneSource.

"Don't go to H&R Block and bill Military OneSource," Boehlke quipped.

1st Lt. James Khile, the rear detachment chaplain for the 32nd Brigade, spoke to Soldiers about enrichment programs offered by the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and administered by the chaplain program. There are programs for marriage enrichment (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program, or PREP), single enrichment (Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge, or PICK) and family enrichment. These weekend events are not counseling, but workshops to strengthen relationships and make wise relationship choices.

Jean Bardeen, a military Family Assistance Center representative, spoke about Wisconsin's Service Member Support Division.

"If you take nothing else away from today, know that we are the portal for all the agencies here today," she said.

Bob Curry, founder of, a support group for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, also spoke to Soldiers Thursday.

"I have a lot of brothers and sisters who want to thank you," he said. "Your generation gave us our honor back."

Capt. Mike Brandt, the state behavioral health officer for the Veterans Health Administration, spoke compellingly about post-traumatic stress disorder - what it is, and what it is not.

"What most people come back with is not PTSD, but resiliency," Brandt said. "A war zone is a prime place to build resiliency — opening your mind, doing what is necessary for the mission and the Soldiers around you. And that will serve you well in civilian life."

PTSD, he explained, is first a physical phenomenon, a chemical reaction in the brain that affects how one feels. It is caused by repeated exposure to horrifying events accompanied by adrenaline, he said.

"In a combat zone that can happen on a daily basis," Brandt said. "The brain is not built to handle that amount of adrenaline."

As a result, those with PTSD release adrenaline inappropriately. This can mean reduced problem-solving ability as well as anger-management issues. PTSD also can result in high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel and psoriasis. Early treatment is crucial, he said, as delaying treatment translates into lengthier treatment.

"Every one of you have changed from the war zone - not everyone in a negative way," Brandt said. "Many of you have resiliency.

"The only barrier between you and mental health is you," he continued. "You will get information on where to get help. Don't put it off."

Following the briefings, Soldiers enjoyed a lunch served by American Legion volunteers and visited information booths for veteran service organizations, county veteran service officers and other veteran agencies.

Logistics Agency Overnights 38,000 Maps for Haiti Relief

By Stephen J. Baker
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - The Defense Logistics Agency's map facility here has been working quickly to supply military and federal agencies with maps essential to the humanitarian relief effort in Haiti since the Jan. 12 earthquake there. Employees at Defense Supply Center Richmond's Mapping Customer Operations Division have processed more than 1,300 orders for nearly 38,000 maps and charts, the center's deputy chief, Kevin Bettis, said.

The maps were sent overnight last night from Richmond to units – mostly Army, Navy and Marines -- on the scene and en route to Haiti, Bettis said.

The supply center always is prepared for emergencies, Bettis said. "We have a philosophy that we need to always be ready because you never know when the next crisis is going to occur," he said.

There was a similar increase in map orders during the 2004 tsunami relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Bettis said, adding that he expects the surge in orders to continue for another two weeks.

"The more troops we send in, the more support we're going to need to provide," he said. "And we'll be ready to do it."

As the Defense Department's combat logistics support agency, DLA is responsible for providing the military, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with logistics, acquisition and technical services including fuel, food, clothing, medical supplies and equipment, repair parts for weapons systems and energy services.

(Stephen J. Baker works for Defense Supply Center Richmond.)

USNS Comfort Arrives in Port-au-Prince

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Haitian patients began arriving on the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort even as the ship approached its anchorage this morning. As the ship approached shore in the capital city here, sailors aboard the Comfort felt the magnitude 6.1 aftershock. The jolt collapsed a pier in Port-au-Prince that medical planners were hoping to use as an evacuation point for injured Haitians.

The Comfort already had people on the beach to work out landing zones, and Navy Seahawk helicopters began bringing casualties of the Haitian earthquake to the ship at about 9 a.m. The first group of casualties came from the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier with a full surgical suite.

The Comfort is in Haiti for relief efforts in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 magnitude 7 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince.

Comfort medics set up a process with litter bearers meeting each aircraft and taking the patients to casualty receiving where doctors, nurses and corpsmen performed tests, took X-rays and assessed patient needs. The patients then were moved to the appropriate level of care -- some directly to operating rooms, others to the intensive care unit, or testing.

Patient admission clerks ensured that all relevant records were filled out so that test results and care programs would follow the correct person.

Even as patients began receiving treatment, more Creole-speaking sailors joined the ship. Communication is vital for good medicine, doctors here say, and the Creole-speakers -- many from Port-au-Prince -- are invaluable.

The crew still is working to make more space aboard the vessel. They moved exercise equipment out of a gym and are opening more wards. Berthing aboard the vessel is going to get very tight as more than 350 more medical specialists and support personnel join the more than 750 already aboard.

Media interest in the mission of the Comfort also is rising, as many reporters are asking to cover stories on the vessel.

The Comfort left Baltimore Harbor, Md., on Jan. 16 – just four days after receiving the orders. The vessel is normally kept in a "cold" condition with a caretaker crew. The water is turned off around the ship, the galley is closed, wards are stashed and equipment stockpiled off the vessel.

The Navy called up sailors from around the United States to man the ship, and the Military Sealift Command had to call up civilian mariners. Many crewmembers received a day's notice before reporting.

Ordering and receiving medical equipment, placing it aboard, assigning berthing, starting up the dining facility – all was done on the fly and by a scratch group.

California ADT hosts animal clinic in Asadabad

By Tech. Sgt. Brian Boisvert

Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team

(1/17/10) - The California National Guard's 40th Infantry Division's Agri-business Development Team conducted a veterinary civic action program in the provincial capital to help area residents with their livestock, Jan. 15. The ADT partnered with local leaders and veterinarians to administer vaccinations and vitamin treatment to 567 animals belonging to more than 100 villagers from the Gujjer and Pashtun tribes in the villages of Woch Now, Argadel Kalay and Yargul Kalay that surround Camp Wright in Kunar province.

The local residents brought their livestock to the event to get treatment and information, but most important the event helped foster a positive relationship between coalition forces, government leaders and the people.

Fazlullah Wahidi, Kunar provincial governor, said the VETCAP was necessary because of the importance of livestock in Afghanistan.

"Kunar is a province of agriculture and animals. We are in a mountain area, and the biggest economy for people is their cows, sheep and goats," Wahidi said. "This is very good for our farmers today for the medicines. Livestock for these people are cash-money because they don't have businesses, they are farmers. If they were to buy some goods for example, they would have to sell something to buy something."

The governor said the people he talked to were happy to have the ADT's help.

"We are thankful to the people and government of America. They all support across the province and work with us as a team," Wahidi said. "This is the first time for this here and the people are very happy that they [ADT] are here for them to benefit from this knowledge and experience."

The governor was so pleased by the operation he had his own horse and four cows sent to the event for treatment.

The ADT teamed up with Afghan elders, military-aged males and children from the surrounding villages to help set up the holding pens, assist with the vaccinations and clean up the site when done. The VETCAP ran smoothly with the assistance of village children who helped corral animals that tried to escape. The mobile clinic paired Afghan veterinarians with ADT members and allowed them to work with villagers on how to properly administer future vaccinations.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Max Velte, the ADT deputy commander, said this VETCAP was a collaborative partnership with local leaders and elders, as well as a great opportunity to work with Afghan National Security Forces to secure the event.

Velte said the ADT also handed out humanitarian assistance to the villagers who brought their animals for treatment as both an incentive and as preventive care.

"The items included solar powered radios, water and small food items and livestock vitamin booster supplements," Velte said. "We needed to get the solar-powered radios out to them because of the three villages that came today, two are without power. Now with solar radios, the Gujjer villages are much more connected to information from the government center of Asadabad and the surrounding areas."

U.S. Army Spc. Gerardo Robledo, Jr., an ADT security forces member, said the VETCAP was important, because it put Afghan veterinarians out in front of their people.

"It's important because it gives the local people confidence in the workers from their communities. That way if something is wrong with their animals they can go to them and not come to us or wait for these VETCAPS," Robledo said. "They can go and find a local veterinarian to tell them what is wrong with their animals."

One of the Afghan veterinarians was Hedayetullah from Jalalabad. He said he was glad to come and help the people take care of their animals.

"We have a lot of profit from the animals. It is important to take care of the animals because when we trade the animals we get a good amount for them," Hedayetullah said. "This [VETCAP] was done to prevent diseases, and I'm very happy to participate in today's event. The people were very excited and happy about this."

But, pride was also in the faces of the ADT members as they closed out their most successful VETCAP.

"We finished crunching our numbers last night and our total number was 567 animals treated at the Argadel VETCAP," Velte said. "This is a record number of us. It was a great VETCAP and total team effort."

National Guard gets increased funding for facilities

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau

(1/20/10) - Increased funding for National Guard facilities across the nation was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, enacted in December, Guard officials said today.

“While all reserve components received significant increases in funding above requested levels for military construction, the Army and Air National Guard received larger increases than any other Army or Air Force active or reserve component,” read a report from the National Guard’s legislative office.

The bill not only funds $555 million for 30 construction projects requested by the administration for the Army and Air National Guard, but also provides nearly $400 million in added funds for 73 additional projects nationwide.

The bill also included a unique "Guard and Reserve Initiative," which appropriates an extra $30 million each for the Army and Air National Guard to address urgent unfunded requirements.

In providing this additional pool of money for buildings and infrastructure, the appropriations committee explicitly noted "the critical contribution made by reserve component personnel to disaster assistance, homeland security, and national defense, including the burdens borne by the Guard and Reserve to support overseas contingency operations."

The National Guard Bureau has identified the following eight projects for use of the funds.

For the Army National Guard:

1. Owensboro, Ky. - Readiness center to replace an old facility with a failing foundation due to severe long-term groundwater infiltration - $10.5 million

2. Bangor, Maine - Regional Training Institute Phase 2 replacing WWII-era facilities - $15.5 million

3. Mead, Neb. - Water supply and distribution system updated and correctly sized - $2 million

4. Grafton, N.D. - Shoreline Stabilization Project to stop infrastructure erosion along the shores of the adjacent lake - $2 million

For the Air National Guard:

5. Peoria, Ill. - Squadron operations facility reconfigured for airlift - $10 million

6. Toledo, Ohio - Munitions storage complex for new air sovereignty alert mission - $12 million

7. Klamath Falls, Ore. - Security forces facility - $6 million

8. Fort Worth, Texas - Joint reserve base avionics/ECM shop addition - $2 million

Garamone's Blog: The Sprint Before the Marathon

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - It's been six hours since the USNS Comfort arrived in position in the harbor here and the action hasn't slowed for a second. There are 55 victims of the Haitian earthquake aboard already and many more are expected. Most of the patients transferred from other Navy ships. Medics aboard those vessels had stabilized the people until the Comfort arrived. All of the patients arrived via helicopters.

The flight deck team has this down to a science already. The helo lands and two members of the team run out to chock the wheels. The door slides open and other members of the team – along with the crew – carry the patients off the bird. If they can walk, other members of the crew escort them off the flight deck.

Nine minutes later, the crew reverses the process and motions the chopper to take off. Then they wait for the process to begin again.

And it's hot on the flight deck. The no-slide material the Navy puts on the deck is dark and it soaks up heat. So even with a good breeze across the ship, temperatures rise quickly and stay there.

Yet the crew is never far away, because there is always another helo coming in, and time means lives.

The chiefs on the flight deck send the crew off occasionally for a break. But even then the mission isn't far from their minds.

Some medics who work in casualty receiving also were getting a rare break, and they found themselves surrounded by guys in white, yellow, green and purple shirts asking about some of the Haitians they brought on board the ship. "How's the little girl with the burns?" "Is the old guy who lost his leg going to make it?" "How did that little boy get those broken arms?" The medics answer as best they can, then both groups get right back to work.

And it's like that all around this ship. The supply guys work long hours to ensure that no patient dies because the right equipment wasn't available. The food service folks pitch in when they can. The civilian mariners who sail the ship ask if there is anything the medics need.

The crew of the Comfort knows this is just the first day of many. It's a marathon, not a sprint, leaders have told them. The crew understands that.

But in these first days, the medics have to sprint in order to save lives. And all the rest of the crew here will help them.

(Jim Garamone of American Forces Press Service is reporting and blogging about relief operations in Haiti from aboard the USNS Comfort. His e-mail address is



Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $245,000,000 contract which will provide for lot 8 production contract for approximately 160 missiles comprised of both baseline and extended range missiles to support the Air Force and Foreign Military Sales customers. 308 ARSG/PK is the contracting activity (FA8682-10-C-0016).

The Boeing Co., was awarded a $6, 449,135 contract which will incorporate AN/AAR-47AV(2) (Missile Warning System) changes to the C-130 Avionic Modernization Program. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 656 AESS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-01-C-0047, P00173).


Milkor USA, Inc., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $42,200,000 indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity contract for the production, delivery, and associated support of the Marine Corps' Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher (MSGL). The MSGL is a lightweight, shoulder fired grenade launcher capable of being carried and employed by one operator over rough terrain or in urban environments. It was specifically designed to meet the requirement for an area fire weapon with a high rate of fire and a maximum range of 400m. It can also be employed with greater accuracy at ranges up to 150m. All elements of the system are suitable for transportation by land, sea, and air. The weapons system is not a replacement for the 1960s era M203 grenade launcher. Rather, the MSGL will be an additive capability to the receiving units. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and work is expected to be completed Jan. 19, 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with three offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-D-1038).

Optics 1 Inc., Manchester, N.H., is being awarded a $37,836,616 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite/quantity contract for a minimum of 10 each, maximum of 6600 each, Clip on Thermal Imager (COTI) systems, non-warranty repairs, spares and associated data. The COTI clips onto the AN/PVS-15A (night vision goggle) to give our special operation forces an optically fused device providing a thermal image into either the right or left side of the PVS-15A goggle. Work will be performed in Manchester, N.H., and is expected to be completed by January 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via federal business opportunities, with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JQ48).

Forward Slope Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $18,018,847 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for command and control (C2) technologies, capabilities, and C2-related capabilities in the areas of research, systems engineering, architecture, design, development, integration, test, experimentation, and implementation. Work will support C2 Net-Centric Operations, information management and decision support operations dealing with Joint, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force efforts and their interfacing with civil and non-Government components and capabilities. This contract is one of three contracts awarded: all awardees will compete for task orders during the ordering period. This five-year contract does not include any options. Work will be performed at government and contractor sites in the San Diego area, and work is expected to be Jan. 19, 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website and posting to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website, with three offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) is the contracting activity (N66001-10-D-0014).

G2 Software Systems Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $16,551,496 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for command and control (C2) technologies, capabilities, and C2-related capabilities in the areas of research, systems engineering, architecture, design, development, integration, test, experimentation, and implementation. Work will support C2 Net-Centric Operations, information management and decision support operations dealing with Joint, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force efforts and their interfacing with civil and non-Government components and capabilities. This contract is one of three contracts awarded: all awardees will compete for task orders during the ordering period. This five-year contract does not include any options. Work will be performed at government and contractor sites in the San Diego area. The period of performance of the contract is from Jan. 20, 2010 through Jan. 19, 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website and posting to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website, with three offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) is the contracting activity (N66001-10-D-0015).

Techflow Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $16,366,410 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for command and control (C2) technologies, capabilities, and C2-related capabilities in the areas of research, systems engineering, architecture, design, development, integration, test, experimentation, and implementation. Work will support C2 Net-Centric Operations, information management and decision support operations dealing with Joint, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force efforts and their interfacing with civil and non-Government components and capabilities. This contract is one of three contracts awarded: all awardees will compete for task orders during the ordering period. This five-year contract does not include any options. Work will be performed at government and contractor sites in the San Diego area. The period of performance of the contract is from Jan. 20, 2010 through Jan. 19, 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website and posting to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website, with three offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) is the contracting activity (N66001-10-D-0016).

Db Control*, Fremont, Calif., is being awarded a $13,184,508 firm-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of up to 300 500 watt and 2 watt amplifiers, including one lot of engineering, technical and repair support services. The amplifiers are integrated with other countermeasures modules to complete required system configurations for airborne threats. The amplifiers are installed in systems that are used to evaluate U.S. weapons systems and train fleet operators. These systems are used throughout a weapons systems life cycle, from rack units to use in laboratories and hardware in the loop facilities during development, to airborne pods for use on manned aircraft, or ground based applications, and for testing and fleet training. Work will be performed in Fremont, Calif., and is expected to be completed in January 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals as a 100 percent small business set aside; two offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0010).

Juno Technologies,* Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is being awarded a $10,048,864 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N65236-09-D-5822) for Integrated Shipboard Network Systems and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System support services. The contract includes four one-year options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $30,245,402. Work will be performed in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. If all options are exercised, work could continue until March 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively awarded. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity.

Merkel & Associates, Inc.*, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $10,000,000 firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity services contract for marine habitat services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). The work to be performed provides for eelgrass surveying, mapping, transplanting, and monitoring; aerial photography; general in-water survey and mapping; and exotic marine vegetation and alga surveys for NAVFAC Southwest and its customer commands. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to, Calif. (85 percent), Hawaii (5 percent), Wash. (5 percent), Alaska (2 percent), Guam, (2 percent), and Ore. (1 percent). The contract is expected to be completed by January 2015. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with two proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-10-D-0805).


Union Distributing Co., of Tucson, Phoenix, Ariz.*, is being awarded a minimum $11,145,763 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract regular unleaded gasohol. Other locations of performance are throughout Arizona. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with 48 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-10-D-4521).

Patten Energy, Phoenix, Ariz.**, is being awarded a minimum $5,463,128 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set aside contract for regular unleaded gasoline and ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. Other locations of performance are throughout California. Using services are Federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Aug. 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-10-D-4518).

Arrival of Comfort Broadens Military's Mission in Haiti

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - The arrival of the USNS Comfort, a military hospital ship, adds some 600 medical personnel to the humanitarian effort in Haiti, roughly tripling the number of American medical workers tending to the devastated country. Navy helicopters transported severely injured Haitians to the Comfort this morning to receive treatment, and additional injured and ailing persons ashore were triaged before being transferred to the floating hospital, officials said.

"The Comfort brings a tremendous capability to the people of Haiti," Capt. Andy Stevermer, commander of the incident response coordination team for the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters today. "Already, patients are being triaged and prepared to board the Comfort via helicopter and receive the treatment they need."

Haiti has been the focus of an expansive relief effort in the wake of a 7-magnitude earthquake Jan. 12, which officials believe has killed between 100,000 to 200,000 people and which the Red Cross estimates has affected some 3 million people.

To date, 270 U.S. medical personnel on the ground have treated more than 5,100 people in Haiti since Jan. 17, Stevermer said. As a testament to their agility, one U.S. disaster medical assistance team and a surgical team have provided treatment the past three days on a soccer field near the capital of Port-au-Prince.

"The most common medical problems which are being treated are traumatic injuries from the earthquake and exacerbations of chronic disease cause by lack of access to care," Stevermer added, describing the human toll of the disaster.

The Comfort, which arrived near the Haitian capital this morning after departing Baltimore last week, brings with it 1,000 desperately needed hospital beds. An additional U.S. disaster medical assistance team is working a staging facility at a pier near the capital, triaging patients who are then flown to the Comfort for treatment.

The Comfort crew will work with nongovernmental organizations, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division who already are in Haiti providing assistance. The crew also expects to work with medical professionals from many other countries, including sizeable contingents from Mexico, Brazil and Canada.

One military official speaking on background characterized the early medical support delivered on the ship as "emergency treatment."

"We had patients taken that were critical, that were not able to be helped there on the ground, flown out to our military vessels to have emergency medical care on those vessels," the official said at the Pentagon today.

The Defense Department has pledged up to $20 million in emergency relief funds for Haiti, and sprang troops into action following the quake, with the U.S. military footprint there expected to grow to some 10,000.

Another senior military official today said the department has "earmarked" an Expeditionary Medical Support -- a rapid response military medical unit and its corresponding equipment -- after a request came for additional medical supplies. The Comfort is providing additional capacity in the meantime.

"We were asked for some additional augmentation of some specialties," the official said, "and the EMEDS team is earmarked, and, of course, the Comfort, to give them additional capability."

Army Athletes Make USA Winter Olympics Team

By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Seven current and former members of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program have earned spots on Team USA for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, scheduled for Feb. 12-28 in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Five current and former WCAP bobsledders, along with U.S. men's assistant bobsled coach Sgt. Bill Tavares, will tackle one of the world's fastest tracks in Whistler, site of the bobsleigh competition Feb. 20 through 27.

Army Sgt. Jeremy Teela, a biathlete who serves in the Vermont Army National Guard, earned a spot on his third consecutive U.S. Olympic Team in biathlon, a combination of cross-country ski racing and rifle shooting from standing and prone positions. Five men's biathlon races of different distances will be staged Feb. 14 through 26 in Whistler, site of the best performance of Teela's career last year.

Four of the six U.S. men's and women's bobsled pilots learned the tricks of their trade while serving in WCAP under the tutelage of five-time Olympian Tavares, who will assist U.S. men's bobsled head coach Brian Shimer. Tavares served as an Army National Guardsman and coach of the Guard's outstanding athlete program before joining the WCAP.

Sgt. John Napier, of Lake Placid, N.Y., and a member of the Vermont Army National Guard, will drive Team USA II's four-man sled. His WCAP teammate, Army 1st Lt. Chris Fogt of Alpine, Utah, will be among that crew, joined by Chuck Berkley of Clayton, Calif., and Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass.

Napier also will pilot USA II in the two-man competition with Langton aboard.

"Since my earliest memories, all I remember thinking about is this moment," Napier said after being named to the U.S. Olympic Team. "It's a dream come true."

Shimer pointed out that Napier, at age 23, is perhaps the most experienced of the U.S. drivers because he's the son of a bobsledder and began competing at age 8.

"This has just been a breakout season for John," Shimer said. "The world has been awakened and they are not looking over him. John was under the radar. His first statement was to let the world know he was here. Some of these guys were his idols, and now he's beating them down the hill."

Virginia National Guard Army Sgt. Mike Kohn, a member of the National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program, was one of Napier's boyhood idols. A former WCAP bobsledder, Kohn will drive Team USA III's four-man sled with the crew of Jamie Moriarty of Winnetka, Ill.; Bill Schuffenhauer of Orem, Utah; and Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif.

Kohn capitalized on a career-ending concussion suffered by Todd Hays that opened the door for the National Guard athlete to qualify a third Olympic sled for Team USA. Only three nations were qualified to enter three men's sleds into the 2010 Olympics.

"This was one of the best experiences I've had in this sport," said Kohn, who won the 2002 Olympic bronze medal as a push athlete with Shimer, after he secured another Olympic berth at St. Moritz on Jan. 16-17. "Winning an Olympic medal was amazing, but it doesn't compare to the team camaraderie felt over these last few weeks. The Olympics is about more than winning medals, and this experience is one I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Kohn's four-man team tied Canadian pilot Pierre Lueders' squad for sixth place at St. Moritz with a combined time of 2 minutes, 10.85 seconds.

"What an awesome day," Kohn said. "Jamie, Bill and Nick were so fired up. They had tears in their eyes before we got to the line, and the entire team was behind them. There were so many people at the start and finish encouraging us.

"During the America's Cup races in Park City, Utah, I almost hung it up," Kohn added. "Todd was beating me and I thought it would be impossible to qualify and I realized my Olympic dream as a driver wasn't going to happen. Then all of a sudden I was given another chance. It wasn't the way I wanted to get another chance, but I was grateful for the opportunity. I can't thank Todd enough for his help and support over the last few weeks in helping our team. He's been a huge part of my success."

Kohn also will drive USA III in the two-man competition. His brakeman has not yet been determined.

Reigning four-man world champion Steven Holcomb, a former WCAP pilot from Park City, Utah; will drive the Team USA I sled, backed by Justin Olsen of San Antonio, Steve Mesler of Buffalo, N.Y.; and Curt Tomasevicz of Shelby, Neb.

"The 'Night Train' is becoming more and more popular and getting a lot of notoriety as we lead up to the [Olympic] Games, and it's well deserved," Shimer said of Holcomb's four-man sled. "These guys have the whole package."

Holcomb also will drive the USA I sled in two-man competition with Tomasevicz aboard.

On the women's side, former WCAP bobsledder Sgt. Shauna Rohbock of the Army National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program, who serves in the Utah Army National Guard, will pilot Team USA I. A 2006 Olympic silver medalist who teamed with Valerie Fleming in Torino, Italy, Rohbock, of Park City, Utah, will be joined by Michelle Rzepka of Novi, Mich., in America's top-rated women's sled.

Erin Pac of Farmington, Conn., and Elana Meyers of Douglasville, Ga., will compete in USA II. Bree Schaaf of Bremerton, Wash., and Emily Azevedo of Chico, Calif., will be in USA III.

"We are thrilled to be sending our best U.S. women's team ever to Whistler," said Darrin Steele, chief executive officer of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Chief and a former WCAP bobsledder himself. "The selection committee had to make some very difficult decisions regarding the push athletes chosen to the team. Our deep pool of talented athletes is what makes us hard to beat."

Rohbock led the U.S. women with a fifth-place finish at the World Cup event Jan. 16 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The Germans swept the podium spots in a closely contested race. Cathleen Martini teamed with Romy Logsch to top the field by only one-hundredth of a second with a combined time of 2 minutes, 14.89 seconds. Reigning Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis partnered with Christin Senkel for a total time of 2:14.90 to claim silver, while Claudia Schramm and Berit Wiacker slid a combined time of 2:15.07 for bronze.

Rohbock and Rzepka posted identical start times of 5.64 seconds and runs of 1:07.87 and 1:07.70 for a combined time of 2:15.57.

Only two nations were granted three sleds in the 2010 Olympic women's bobsled competition. Germany locked up the first spot earlier in the season based on points, but the second nation to qualify a third sled came down to a battle between Canadian Amanda Stepenko and U.S. pilot Schaaf, who secured her Olympic berth with two solid runs in St. Moritz.

"Today's race was won by only one-hundredth of a second," Rohbock said. "The competition is definitely picking up as we get closer to February. Every week is a challenge, and next month won't get any easier. I'm excited that we qualified three sleds, because I think all of us are competitive and have a chance to do well.

"I'm a little nervous going into the Olympics because I think the Germans are gaining momentum. Their push times are getting faster, they have aerodynamic sleds, and they will be tough to beat. But you never know what will happen at the Olympics. It's always unpredictable."

(Tim Hipps is the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Olympic correspondent.)

Petraeus: Limited Airport Hampers Haiti Relief

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Limited runway space at the Port-au-Prince airport is hampering humanitarian relief operations in Haiti, the chief of U.S. Central Command said today.

"This is a single runway; there's not even a taxi-way," Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said during a Pentagon Channel interview.

The magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12 severely damaged much of Port-au-Prince, the capital city, including its airport and seaport.

Though relief aid now is pouring into Haiti, Petraeus said, the limited airport ramp space is making it difficult to off load supplies.

Coordinating aircraft to land and take off at Port-au-Prince airport also is difficult, Petraeus said, noting satellite-enabled command-and-control systems need to be established.

"Everything has been knocked out" by the earthquake, Petraeus said of Haiti's already-sparse infrastructure.

Nonetheless, the humanitarian aid mission continues to make progress, Petraeus said, as food, water and medical care are distributed among the stricken Haitian people.

The situation in Haiti, he said, requires an "industrial-strength" response effort.

"And, that is what we are doing," Petraeus said.

Consultants Offer Support to Off-base Schools

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Most military children attend non-Defense Department schools, but military officials are determined not to allow their unique needs to slip through the cracks.

The Office of Military Community and Family Policy has expanded its Military and Family Life Consultant program to encompass non-Defense Department schools. More than 90 percent of military children attend public, private and charter schools, officials said.

"Many schools have guidance counselors and school counselors with behavioral health backgrounds," said Barbara Thompson, director of the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth. "But we're augmenting and increasing understanding of what a military child is going through; what it's like to be a child in school with a deployed parent."

The Military and Family Life Consultant program offers nonmedical counseling support to military members and their families on and off military installations, both stateside and overseas, officials said.

The child and youth behavioral military and family life consultants are a specialized portion of that program. The consultants are trained to apply their skills in addressing youth-related issues such as problem solving, bullying, conflict resolution, self-esteem, coping with deployment and reunion, relationships and separations.

The youth consultants provide services at child development centers, youth programs, Defense Department schools, and most recently, non-Defense Department schools with a large number of students from military families. The off-base school program started last spring at 24 military-connected schools and, as of today, about 120 child and youth behavioral consultants are supporting 151 schools, Thompson said.

"We started slowly at locations with high deployment rates," she said, "and the feedback was, 'This was the best thing you could have done for us.'"

Officials first decided to expand the program to counter a marked increase in behavioral issues, Thompson said.

"The child and youth program managers for the services came to us to say they were concerned that they'd seen a spike of challenging behaviors on the installation-based programs," she said.

Consultants already were working with adults, Thompson said, but officials felt those services could be adapted for children and youth to meet the growing need.

The specialized consultants began working in Department of Defense Education Activity schools and summer camps, youth programs and child development centers.

While effective, "We realized there's a gap; we can only serve so many children," Thompson said. "We need to branch out and reach out."

A child and youth behavioral specialist in Arkansas started the effort by reaching out to schools with large populations of military students. He was invited in and discovered that many teachers weren't aware they even had military children in their schools when, in fact, many students had parents in the Guard and Reserve, some of whom were deployed.

The program took off from there, Thompson said. Her office began to seek people out from within the community to assist the schools. "We try to find people locally, but if we can't, we will deploy people to travel there," she said.

Within the school, the consultants' role is to work with staff, teachers and parents to set up support groups and offer observations and helpful tips. Thompson called it a "global, psycho-educational approach."

The program is another step toward addressing the unique challenges military children and their families face, Thompson said.

"[Recent] studies show deployments have an impact on our children," she said, also citing a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that reveals the impact of deployment on Army spouses' mental health. "We know when a stay-at-home parent is impacted with mental health issues; it can impact how they're taking care of their children.

"There's solid research out there that can really drive what we do, hone what we do," she continued. "We have anecdotal feedback on how important these assets have been, reinforcing the need to develop preventive programs so issues don't escalate to a more exacerbated level."

Thompson said she's optimistic the child and youth-specialized counselors can make a difference for families. This summer, plans are under way to have them work in various summer camps for military children, including those sponsored by the education activity and the Guard and Reserve.

The feedback so far has been amazing, Thompson said.

"Absolutely everybody loves them," she said.

Air Reserve Base Proves Vital in Transporting Relief to Haiti

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida is playing a vital role in moving essential medical supplies, equipment and military support to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Homestead is important to the Haiti earthquake relief effort because of its strategic location, Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr. told bloggers and online journalists during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable yesterday.

"Reserve aircrews have flown 57 missions in support of Operation Unified Response, and the pace of activity is very likely to increase in the weeks and days to come," Stenner said. "The Reserve aircraft are transporting people, supplies and equipment to staging areas and into the country of Haiti, and they're bringing American citizens home, as well."

Air Force Reserve assets have delivered an estimated 650,000 pounds of cargo and 137 pallets, the general said, and have brought 1,600 American citizens back to the United States.

"We have a 920th Rescue Wing helicopter crew that's standing by if necessary," he said.

When a natural disaster or emergency situation occurs, like in Haiti, Stenner said, "it's very easy to react quickly from that site. I think we anticipate a significant and continuing role for Homestead Air Reserve Base as the mission evolves."

The base, the general said, has been serving as a secondary aerial port of embarkation. Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., is serving as the primary.

More than 580 airmen – from regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve -- are playing an important part in the joint efforts in Haiti.

The biggest readiness challenges currently facing the Air Force Reserve are sustaining and maintaining the tempo while providing support to both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Stenner said.

"The tempo does require our folks to deploy on a frequent, sustained and predictable basis," he said. "We are, in fact, part of that three-component Air Force, and ready and able to do that."

Stenner added that history has proven that when these types of natural disasters occur, the United States will respond with help regardless of where disaster occurs.

"When you look at the kinds of things that have happened with the recent hurricanes, when you look at the relief efforts in the Caribbean that have happened over the last decade or so, our folks know and call immediately to put their name on a list," he said. (Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg is assigned to Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media Directorate.)

2010 DISA Campaign Plan

January 20, 2010 - Our military forces’ demand for global information services is growing and changing as dramatically as their missions. Our forces are expected to simultaneously and continuously provide homeland defense, humanitarian assistance to nations in need, stabilization assistance in fragile states, and combat operations against all threats, including asymmetric. Our focus is answering the Nation’s need for a ready force capable of performing the full range of military operations.

Information dominance is a universally recognized need across this diverse range of military operations. It can only be achieved if enterprise services for command and control, collaboration, information sharing, and computing are provided over a global infrastructure that is assured, reliable, diverse, high capacity, and protected against physical and cyber attack. The unprecedented challenge in the 21st century is to empower our Nation’s leaders and joint warfighters with full spectrum information capabilities.

DISA's vision — Leaders enabling information dominance in defense of our Nation — requires a comprehensive, integrated strategic plan. The first edition of the DISA Campaign Plan is the capstone plan. It is organized into Lines of Operation and Joint Enablers that provide the framework for planning and budgeting, set our priorities, and describe the ways and means by which we will attain our strategic objectives.

Review the 2010 DISA Campaign Plan:

Gates Orders Additional Ship, Eyes More Capability for Haiti

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Just hours before another earthquake hit Haiti early this morning, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the Defense Department is sending a port-clearing ship and evaluating additional capabilities to assist the disaster relief effort. Gates announced that he signed deployment orders this morning to send a port-clearing ship equipped with cranes to get the port operating within a week or two to speed up aid distribution.

"We are looking at a variety of other capabilities," he said. "We are trying to look at alternative routes there might be to get bulk food and bulk supplies in there."

Gates responded to a reporter's question during a news conference in New Delhi, where he met earlier today with Defense Minister A.K. Antony.

Shortly afterward, a magnitude 6.1 tremor struck northwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince, exacerbating difficulties already plaguing Haiti. The extent of the damage is unknown.

Getting around Port-au-Prince remains challenging, Gates said, expressing hope that more routes will be cleared within the next 24 to 48 hours so trucks can begin delivering more aid.

"You cannot fully meet the needs of over 2 million people using helicopters," he said.

Seeing trucks out on the road providing desperately needed supplies also will reduce the chance of people turning to violence out of desperation, he said.

Gates said he's pleased by cooperation between the U.N. peacekeeping force in Haiti, the Haitian government and U.S. commanders on the ground in supporting the relief effort.

"Everything I hear is that the three have established a good working relationship in terms of establishing priorities for what actually flows into the country," he said.

Americans should feel proud of the U.S. response, Gate said, noting the governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations working together to assist.

The U.S. Coast Guard was on site in Haiti "literally within hours after providing limited support," he said. "And with each passing hour, more and more American forces and ships and capability have flowed into the area."

While proud of the U.S. contribution in Haiti, Gates resisted saying he's satisfied with the response. "As long as 2 million people in Haiti are still struggling to get food and water, fuel and medical care, it would probably be a mistake for anyone to say they are satisfied with the level of effort," he said.

"That said," he continued, "It is hard for me to say what more the United States could make available or how we could make it available faster to deal with the tragedy there."

Comfort Receives First Haitian Patients

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - In a life-saving move, a Navy helicopter transported two severely injured Haitians to receive treatment aboard this hospital ship. The Comfort received the patients last night while it was still steaming toward Haiti. The patients -- a 6-year-old boy and 20-year-old man -- had received care on the USS Carl Vinson, a U.S. aircraft carrier.

"The senior medical officer sent the patients on to receive care with us," said Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Tim Donahue, the Comfort's chief of surgery. Both were in critical condition.

The 20-year-old patient has a broken skull and possibly a fractured cervical vertebrae. Doctors aboard the Vinson also suspected there might be bleeding inside his skull. The 6-year-old patient has a crushed pelvis and possible damage to his bladder and urethra.

At 10:24 p.m., the call came to casualty receiving: "Helos on deck." Stretcher bearers removed the patients from the Vinson's chopper and moved them via elevator to the receiving area.

The patients were met by a phalanx of doctors, nurses and corpsmen and placed in an assessment area. The sailors went about their duties professionally and quietly.

The boy was conscious and able to answer questions. A Haitian-American servicemember – Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Yves Henry – translated the doctor's questions to the boy and his answers back.

The boy had undergone surgery aboard the Vinson two days before. The medics aboard the Vinson sent him to the Comfort to take advantage of the expertise and equipment aboard the vessel.

The other patient had a tube inserted in his throat and could not speak. Doctors took X-rays of him on the gurney and then moved him to another area to receive a CAT scan.

After the initial rush, Donahue spoke to press who observed the procedure. The chief of surgery was pleased with the performance of the medics. "It's quiet," he said. "That means they are talking and communicating well. Everything went very smoothly."

Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) William Todd, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, said the 6-year-old could move his hips and did not present symptoms of complications. "He's a tough little boy," Todd said. "It's probably pain from the previous surgery."

Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Shawn Safford was the general surgeon who examined the young man. "He was very alert," he said. "He has a slight fever, but we will treat that. We will watch him for a few days to ensure it is going well."

The boy knows his father's cell phone number, but not what happened to him, his mother or his brother. "He was scared and was reaching for my hand," Safford said. "Just holding a kid's hand is sometimes the best medicine."

Both Haitian patients are in the Comfort's intensive care unit.

Record Crowds Cause Unrest at Distribution Point

By Fred W. Baker III

American Forces Press Service

Haiti, Jan. 20, 2010 - You could hear the crowd before you could see it. From the top of the hill that serves as a landing zone for disaster relief here, the crowd looked massive, the largest yet at this U.S. military relief point. It spanned the base of the hill, stretching into the wooded areas to the east and west and sprawled deep into the survivor camp to the north. The calls and cries and dust from the crowd rose into the air as the desperation hit a high.

The end of the day was near and it was obvious that many would leave empty-handed.

It took the soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment here, alongside many local Haitian volunteers, several attempts to calm the crowd. It came dangerously close at times to spilling past the makeshift perimeter set up by the soldiers.

A handful of elderly women were pulled from the crowd, overcome by the heat and the dust.

Local Haitians walked the line with bullhorns trying to talk the crowd of women into sitting down but those in the back continued to push forward. The soldiers and volunteers on the perimeter at times held hands to form a human chain to hold the crowd back.

Those passing out the food and water simply sat down, stopping the distribution, as a sign to the crowd that as long as they did not cooperate, they would get nothing.

Eventually the crowd calmed and the distribution restarted, but the event was a likely premonition of relief efforts to come as the military here works to increase the number and push these points farther into the city.

"Just that many people in a confined area you're going to get a little pushing and shoving. And you can understand. They're hurting for food and water," said Army Capt. Jon Hartsock, the commander in charge of the daily distribution here.

Keeping it civil is the challenge, he said. The captain is not concerned about the locals trying to hurt his troops, but if the crowd gets out of control, some of the locals could be injured.

And, in the end, the stronger would receive the aid, and the weaker would do without.

"I don't want this turning into a free for all, throwing water and food and letting them fend for themselves. I want it to be orderly," he said.

Part of the problem, officials said, is that word is getting out around Port-au-Prince that this is the place to come for food and water. Yesterday's estimate put 25,000 people at the base of the hill waiting for some sort of relief.

The troops passed out more than 25,000 bottles of water and nearly 8,000 meals. All totaled in the few days the troops have been here they have passed out nearly 50,000 bottles of water and almost 15,000 meals.

To avoid yesterday's crush on the distribution point, Hartsock wants to put distribution points away from the forward operating base here, initially into the survivor camp, and then beyond into the city. Already troops have taken food and water to a distribution point at a community center in the city.

Hartsock meets today with a loosely formed "tent city council" made up of a local preacher who has been holding services there at night, and four leader volunteers. The group has agreed to divide the camp evenly and manage the distribution from there.

This fits well in Hartsock's plan to put the distribution in the hands of the Haitians.

"We want them distributing food. Our soldiers are out here just to maintain order on the lines," he said.

Hartsock will finalize plans today and visit the proposed sites for distribution. He hopes to be able to start moving the food and water there in the next few days.

There are still details to be worked, but most likely the soldiers will move the goods in the non-peak hours and stay to secure the distribution.

Distribution between the points will be simultaneous and will actually go faster, Hartsock said.

"There's more of a chance that the food and water will get out to everybody," he said. "Because right now, it's just the people at the front of the line."

When it comes to Hartsock's military career, he said this is one of the most challenging jobs he's been assigned. While deployed to Iraq he ran small humanitarian missions, but nothing to this scale.

"Every day we learn something new out here," he said. "We've tried different things. Sometimes it goes smooth. Sometimes it doesn't go smooth and it's about adjusting."

"It's hard because one second I'm feeling good ... and other times it's frustrating."

This mission is also difficult, because there is no enemy. And, because many of the soldiers have families, the cries of the women and children do not fall on deaf ears.

"I've had to tell my soldiers to turn away the little boy who jumps to the head of the line. And that's tough," Hartsock said. "But it's something that we've got to do because if we let that one, then the next one and the next one and the next one [will jump the line] and then it's just chaos."

USS Bataan Ready to Help in Haiti

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - The USS Bataan is in Haiti as part of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission to participate in Operation Unified Response. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Melanie Merrick, Bataan senior medical officer; Cmdr. William Wallace, Fleet Surgical Team 8 officer-in-charge; and Lt. Cmdr. Seon Jones, FST 8 surgeon, spoke to bloggers and journalists during a Jan. 19 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.

"The primary goal is getting people on the beach and getting a site secure," Merrick said. "There is obviously a lot of demand for the supplies and we are getting security in place to have a more permanent residence and be able to distribute supplies."

The Bataan arrived in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince yesterday and began unloading supplies such as beach-clearing equipment, bulldozers and rubble removers. Bataan's mission is to render aid and take supplies ashore, Merrick said.

Disaster relief is not new to the Bataan. It was the first Navy ship on-scene after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast in August 2005. The ship spent 19 days supporting the relief efforts by moving more than 1,600 people to safety and delivering more than 160,000 pounds of supplies.

The ship has a small surgical team with four operating rooms, 13 intensive care unit beds and 38 ward beds. The medical team is expecting another 87 medical personnel to help augment the surgical team, Jones said, to allow physicians to rotate and provide constant care.

"We are expecting to receive patients aboard Bataan," Wallace said, but the primary goal is getting relief ashore. It's simply "the biggest thing to enter the area" from a medical perspective, he said, adding that everyone is working together as ships arrive to assess the relief mission so that no one ship is overwhelmed.

"We believe all ships will see Haitian citizens and U.S. citizens and anyone that can be taken on," Wallace said.

The USNS Comfort arrived today with 1,000 beds and 600 medical personnel, bringing the total U.S. medical military support in the area to about 1,500.

The aid will last as long as it's needed, Merrick said.

The medical team is ready for patients and is on standby. "We want to do the greatest good for the greatest amount of people," Jones said, "and a lot of times that includes a lot of moving parts."

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

Gates: India, Pakistan Have Stake in Afghan Success

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - Both India and Pakistan have a big stake in what happens in Afghanistan, and are playing significant roles to support the effort there, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. Still, it's critical that both countries maintain full transparency to allay each other's suspicions, Gates told reporters following a meeting here with Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony. Gates appeared to discount the notion that India contribute troops to serve in Afghanistan.

"The kind of support – and extraordinary support – that India is providing in Afghanistan now is really ideal," Gates said. "It is significant support," about $1.3 billion for power, medicine, agriculture and education projects.

India is willing to do more, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told Gates during meetings yesterday, a senior defense official who attended the sessions told reporters on background.

The offer, however, came with a caveat in light of sensitivities regarding neighboring Pakistan.

India will offer more assistance, but only "if ISAF, [the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan] and the United States think it would be helpful," the official said Indian leaders told Gates.

"Let's be honest with one another," Gates told reporters today. "There are real suspicions in both India and Pakistan about what the other is doing in Afghanistan. And so I think each country focusing its efforts on development, on humanitarian assistant, perhaps in some limited areas of training – but with full transparency for each other in what they are doing – will allay these suspicions and frankly, create opportunities to provide bigger help for the Afghan government."

Gates said it's "important to recognize the magnitude of the threat the entire region faces" with al Qaida and its various splinter groups that form a terror "syndicate."

Their operations are intended to destabilize, not just Afghanistan or Pakistan, but the entire region, he said.

"A victory for one is a victory for all," he said.

Facing up to this "requires a high level of cooperation among us all," Gates said.

While visiting Washington in November, Singh joined President Barack Obama in signing a memo of understanding committing to closer counterterrorism cooperation.

Gates' talks here focused on bolstering India's role in promoting security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the entire South Asia region, while deepening counterterrorism cooperation and expanding an already-robust military-to-military relationship.

"India can be an anchor for regional and global security," he said.

During today's news conference, Gates called his visit here another step toward expanding the two countries' defense relationship within the framework of a broad strategic partnership.

Gates said he has been struck by how much the U.S.-India relationship has grown, and the many opportunities to continue to build on that foundation.

During Gates' sessions here, he emphasized that the United States' commitment to India and the entire region is long-term.

"We intend to be a productive part of regional security development and economic develop and political development in the future," a senior official said Gates told the Indian leaders. "We intend to be involved in the region for a very long time."

The message "resonated very well" with Indian leaders, he said.

Aftershock Shakes Haiti; No Apparent Damage

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 20, 2010 - An early morning aftershock shook the sleeping soldiers here from their bags as the building swayed and creaked for a few seconds.

"It was like: 'Whoah! Is somebody shaking me awake or was the ground moving?'" said Army Maj. J.T. Eldridge, the squadron operations officer for the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Local reports put the aftershock at magnitude 6.1, but it lasted only a few seconds just after 6 a.m. According to reports it was centered about 35 miles northwest here. No damage was apparent here.

Today's aftershock follows the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti's capital city Jan. 12. That quake prompted a massive international humanitarian relief effort, including assistance provided by the U.S. military.

About 300 soldiers work out of this abandoned and damaged golf course estate that the squadron uses as a forward operating base

Some of the troops sleep under the cover of awnings and in some of the larger rooms of the facility. Others bed down by the debris-filled swimming pool or spread out on the tennis courts.

Moments after the aftershock, you could hear the cries rising from the survivor camp adjacent to the base. Sirens followed shortly.

According to Eldridge, while today's aftershock was definitely disconcerting for some, it remains business as usual for the squadron, as it passes out food and water for those left homeless by last week's earthquake.

"It's a concern. But there's not a lot about that concern we can do. We have a plan in place to get everybody outside the buildings. The guys understand what they're supposed to do when that happens," Eldridge said.

"I don't really think it effects our distribution efforts, he said. "Unfortunately it's just something we're going to have to deal with."

Still, the early morning aftershock gave those soldiers working here just a little taste of why many in the camps are hesitant to return indoors.

"It was kind of like standing on a board on top of a ball," said Army Staff Sgt. Steven Payne.