Military News

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pappy Boyington

On February 12, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature with former Marine and filmmaker Kevin Gonzalez on his film Pappy Boyington Field: A Campaign to Honor a Hero.

Program Date: February 12, 2010
Program Time: 2100 Hours Pacific
Topic: Pappy Boyington
Listen Live: www.americanheroesradio.com/pappy_boyington.html

About the Guest
Kevin Gonzalez served a four-year enlistment in the U. S. Marine Corps, and then graduated from the University of Southern California. He is the writer, producer and director of Pappy Boyington Field: A Campaign to Honor a Hero.

About the Film
Kevin Gonzalez says of the film, “Strap into the cockpit for an inspirational story about duty, honor, and courage. “Pappy Boyington Field” tells the story of the grass-roots effort to honor a WWII Hero in the town of his birth. For many years a controversy brewed over the proposal to add a commemorative name to an airfield in a small town in Idaho. The film follows members of the community who battled against the bureaucracy, and weaves in their stories during the campaign. "Pappy" Boyington was born in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 1912, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his exemplary service during World War Two. Personal insights into Pappy Boyington’s life are provided by his son Greg Boyington Jr., as well as actor Robert Conrad who portrayed Pappy in the television series “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” Aerial film footage of the vintage F4U Corsair is showcased, as well as Jet aircraft flown by today's Marine Corps fighter pilots. Additionally, the music of The United States Marine Band “The President’s Own” is featured in the film.”

About Pappy Boyington
According to the website www.pappboyingtonfield.com, “Gregory Boyington was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on December 4, 1912. He spent his childhood in the northern panhandle of Idaho, and eventually his mother moved to Tacoma, WA and later he graduated from Lincoln High School. He attended the University of Washington, where he graduated with a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering. He would then go on to work for the Boeing Company as a draftsman and engineer.

He would eventually enter the U.S. Marine Corps, and after completion of the Officer Training he went on to flight training. He possessed natural abilities that distinguish him in the cockpit early on, but his lifestyle was not without controversy.

Boyington was offered a position with a group that would eventually become the American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the Flying Tigers. He resigned his commission in the Marine Corps and set off to China to fly against the Japanese. At the outbreak of WWII, after making his way back from China, he managed to return to the Marine Corps with a Major’s commission. As he was already an experienced fighter pilot with victories against the Japanese, his skills were much needed in the war effort. From Guadalcanal he would eventually assume command of a group of pilots who were not already assigned to a squadron, and they would go on to be known as the “Black Sheep Squadron”. Because he was older than the other pilots, they would call him “Gramps” and eventually that let to “Pappy” and it stuck. (He was 31 years old).

The Black Sheep Squadron amassed an impressive record of victories against the Japanese. Pappy Boyington was credited with 26 victories, until he was himself shot down over the Pacific and captured by the Japanese. He spent 20 months as a Prisoner of War, and was listed as Missing in Action for the duration of the war. Upon his liberation from the prison camp at the end of the war, he returned stateside and was greeted as a hero. The paperwork for his award of the Medal of Honor was already working through the system when he was shot down, it would be approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. With his status listed as missing and presumed dead, his award was held in the capitol until the end of the war.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is Police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. American Heroes Radio brings you to the watering hole, where it is Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
www.americanheroesradio.com/pappy_boyington.html
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Comfort Crew Settles into Busy Reality



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - The USNS Comfort lived up to its name today as the medics and crew of the hospital ship continued to provide medical aid to the residents of this devastated land. In short, it was a very busy day as the medics tended to some of the most challenging cases caused by the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Jan. 12. By mid-afternoon today, more than 160 Haitian patients were admitted to the floating hospital.

Surgeries were performed almost around the clock. There were nine yesterday -- the first day -- with the last finished at 4:30 this morning. The operating room personnel began work again two hours later.

The intensive care units and wards were beginning to fill to capacity of 1,000 beds. "We have never had that number on the ship, but we can do it," Navy Dr. (Capt.) Jim Ware, the medical group commander, said.

More medical professionals are arriving, and all are highly motivated. "We had critical care nurses show up today, and after they signed in, they put their scrubs on and went to work," said Command Master Chief Chip Collins, the Comfort's top enlisted sailor. "They said, 'I can put my stuff away later. Where do you need me?'"

And the help is needed. On the main deck, litter bearers bring patients to the casualty receiving area after they are unloaded from helicopters on the flight deck. The elevator door opens and litter bearers come onto the red deck of the receiving area.

"Six," says Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan D'Aurora, who "owns" the area. D'Aurora is a nurse and a force of nature. All of the medical personnel in CASREC have their names and ranks printed on surgical tape on their shirts or scrubs. D'Aurora's shirt has another across the back with the word, "Bulldog."

The litter bearers bring the litter to Bay 6 where they are met by doctors, nurses and corpsmen who transfer the patient from the litter to the bed. "Get the bed the same height," says a nurse as corpsmen crank the bed up to transfer the patient. "On three. One, two, three – lift!"

Some patients have breathing tubes and a corpsman presses a bladder to ensure air gets in the patient's lungs. Other corpsmen and nurses hook the patient to monitors.

The doctor looks at the patient and any records. All check over the patient to ensure some injury hasn't been overlooked. If X-rays are ordered, a technician brings a portable machine over and the lifting – or turning -- process begins again.

Treatment takes many forms. One doctor performed a spinal tap on a young Haitian boy. Another read an X-ray and sent the patient immediately to the operating room. Still another looked to see that the broken leg was set correctly, then sent the patient directly to one of the wards.

Sailors who serve as translators are an integral part of the team. Most were born in Haiti and emigrated to the United States with their families. They are the conduit that doctors and nurses use to communicate with the Haitian patients.

"They have been nothing short of fantastic," D'Aurora said. "When we were here last year for [Exercise] Continuing Promise, we didn't have the patients because we couldn't communicate. We learned."

While there are some cries of pain, the patients are pretty stoic. "Again, it helps there's someone there who speaks their language," D'Aurora said.

There are a number of bays in CASREC, and several times today, they were all filled. The process works quickly and smoothly and is getting smoother as the medics gain experience.

"This isn't 'ER,'" said Navy Dr. (Cmdr.) Tim Donahue, the chief of surgery. "People work quietly and quickly. This is real life. Not TV."

The medics sometimes move quickly. "Running man!" yells one corpsman as a nurse comes into CASREC at a full sprint with needed equipment.

The patients come in all shapes, sizes and ages. A baby was born on the Comfort today. Both mother and daughter are doing well.

In another bay, Charlene, who is five, hugs a teddy bear she received when she got to the ship. She has a bandage on her left foot, but medics are concerned about her sight. Navy Dr. (Capt.) Terence McGee places eye drops in to dilate her pupils. She is a brave young lady as the doctor looks in her eyes. When he finishes the examination, she begins to cry so he picks her up. He asks if she has an escort – her mom or dad – and is told no.

"Five years old and alone," he says, and continues to rock her back and forth.

ARNG installations to receive environmental awards

By Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau

(1/21/10) - Three Army National Guard installations will receive Secretary of the Army awards for their environmental and sustainability program achievements during fiscal year 2009, the Army announced Jan. 15. Camp Guernsey in Wyoming, Camp Withycombe in Oregon and the Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan “stand out as examples of how environmental stewardship and sustainability play a crucial role in the Army's mission readiness,” according to an Army press release.

“It is an honor to receive these prestigious awards,” said Col. Michael Bennett, the chief of the ARNG’s Environmental Programs Division. “It is a testament to the outstanding efforts of our environmental programs to ensure our Soldiers have sufficient resources to support our missions at home and abroad.”

Camp Guernsey in Wyoming was selected as the Cultural Resources Management, Installation recipient. This award recognizes efforts to promote the management of cultural resources, including the identification, protection and restoration of historical buildings and structures; archeological sites; native American tribes and native Hawaiian sacred objects and sites; and the promotion of cultural resources conservation ethics.

Over the past two years, a number of program milestones have been accomplished at Camp Guernsey, including the successful completion of a cultural site protection study; increased preservation of Oregon Trail historic sites; and implementation of a Native American ethnographic study and traditional cultural properties survey.

Camp Withycombe in Oregon was selected as the Environmental Restoration, Installation recipient. This award recognizes efforts to protect human health and the environment by cleaning up identified sites in a timely, cost-efficient and responsive manner.

Camp Withycombe is the site of the Oregon Army National Guard’s largest restoration project, involving the remediation of six former small arms training ranges in preparation for a major Oregon Department of Transportation highway development project. The Oregon Guard implemented a cleanup strategy that used natural resources and energy efficiently, reduced negative impacts on the environment, minimized or eliminated pollution at its source and reduced waste to the greatest extent possible.

The Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan was selected as the Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation recipient. This award recognizes efforts to promote the conservation of natural resources, including the identification, protection, and restoration of biological resources and habitat; the sound management and use of the land and its resources; and the promotion of conservation ethic.

The achievements at Fort Custer include grant-funded endangered species surveys and wetland restoration projects, an updated planning level survey for all resources on the installation demonstrating natural resource improvements, and expansion of prescribed fire usage and prairie restoration.

In addition to the three winners, the Army Guard also had two installations named as a runner up. Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center in Pennsylvania was selected for Environmental Quality, Non-Industrial Installation and Volunteer Training Site Catoosa in Tennessee was recognized for Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation.

The Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards represent the highest honor in the field of environmental science and sustainability conferred by the Army.

"The Army recognizes successes that demonstrate mission-driven solutions that protect the environment at installations here and overseas. Whatever we do needs to revolve around supporting the mission, taking care of our Soldiers, civilians, and families," said Tad Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

"In simplistic terms the Army, our Army, your Army - is building green, buying green and going green. These winning environmental programs make the Army sustainable thereby impacting generations to come."

These installations will represent the Army in the FY09 Defense Environmental Awards competition later this year.

Logistics Agency Aids in Haiti Relief



By Beth Reece
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - Defense Logistics Agency employees are working around the clock to provide critical supplies for earthquake victims in Haiti and material for servicemembers conducting humanitarian relief during what has been named Operation Unified Response. The agency has established a DLA support team that is already en route for likely near-term deployment in support of Joint Task Force Haiti. A similar team may possibly deploy to Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba, if Haitian refugees are sent there, said Marine Col. Scott Dalke, DLA Joint Logistics Operations Center division chief.

In subsistence, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia initially arranged for more than 11,000 ready-to-eat meals and 12,500 bottles of water for servicemembers, as well as 60,000 cases of ready-to-eat meals and 18,000 bottles of water for Haitians. Officials said DSCP continues to support similar rapidly evolving requirements.

The Philadelphia-based supply center also met hundreds of requisitions for medical supplies. As crewmembers of the USNS Comfort prepared the hospital ship for its departure from Baltimore last week, DSCP's medical supply chain personnel climbed aboard to help place and fill requirements for what has been reported as the ship's largest mission ever. A DSCP liaison representative also deployed with the ship.

The supply center also is providing tents, cots, pillows, sheets, blankets and health and comfort packs containing hygiene items for servicemembers and Haitians. DSCP is prepared to provide the Haitian police with 20,000 uniforms and 5,000 pairs of boots.

Defense Supply Center Richmond, Va., met a request for 5,000 five-gallon, filled propane tanks for the U.S. Agency for International Development, a federal agency that implements America's foreign economic and humanitarian assistance program in Haiti.

The Defense Energy Support Center sourced 500 drums of diesel fuel and 250 drums of motor gasoline for use by servicemembers. More recently, the 49th Quartermaster Group at Fort Lee, Va., requested 52,000 gallons of jet fuel as it prepares to conduct bulk fuel operations for the relief mission's lead, U.S. Southern Command. Officials said DESC is instrumental in overall Defense Department planning for ongoing fuel support.

Other DLA support includes hydrographic, topographic and flight maps sent to U.S. forces operating in and around Haiti. Defense Supply Center Columbus, Ohio, has deployed Dan Neidert to Southcom headquarters in Miami to help provide repair parts for about nine Navy ships supporting the relief efforts.

In total, 17 DLA employees are deployed with various Defense Department elements that are supporting the Haiti relief effort, and officials said the agency is in constant communications with all parties to anticipate and support emerging requirements.

Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson, DLA director, expressed the agency's full support to Southcom last week.

"I want to ensure that DLA is a key enabler to the disaster-relief response," he said. "This agency will lean forward to support all U.S. Southcom components and government agencies as required while continuing to provide seamless support to the global force."

The JLOC will continue to operate 24/7 as long as requests for support pour in, Dalke added.

DLA frequently provides humanitarian aid for weather-related natural disasters around the world. Its most recent humanitarian assistance was in response to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana "Ondoy," which flooded the Philippines and Samoan islands in September.

(Beth Reece works in the Defense Logistics Agency's strategic communications office.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 21, 2010

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

The Missile Defense Agency is pleased to announce the award of advisory and assistance services contracts to three small business concerns: a.i. solutions, Inc., Launch Services Division, Lanham, Md. (HQ0147-10-D-0027); A-P-T Research, Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (HQ0147-10-D-0028); and Bastion Technologies, Houston, Texas (HQ0147-10-D-0029), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide advisory and assistance services to the Quality, Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate, Missile Defense Agency. The contractors will assist the Quality, Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate in assessing the engineering, technology, production and programmatic practices/processes used to develop and operate the Ballistic Missile Defense System. These contracts are being competitively awarded under the small business set aside request for proposal HQ0147-09-R-0001. This procurement is managed by the Missile Defense Agency engineering and support services program office. This program office is responsible for centrally managing the acquisition of advisory and assistance services for the agency. Each contract has a not to exceed ordering ceiling of $209,600,000. The companies will have the opportunity to bid on each individual task order. Work under these contracts will be performed in Huntsville, Ala., and other Missile Defense Agency locations. The performance period is through December 2014. Obligations will be made by task orders using research, development, test and evaluation funds.

NAVY

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded an $118,161,229 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-2100) to exercise options for continued engineering, technical services, concept studies and design of a common missile compartment for the United Kingdom Successor SSBN and the Ohio Replacement SSBN. This contract action exercises an existing option that provides for continuation of common missile compartment design, common missile compartment concept studies, ship concept studies, engineering, and technical services, and whole ship integration engineering and concept studies to determine key ship attributes that impact common missile compartment design. Additionally, this contract action will support completion of studies and design work including completion of a preliminary design review, a missile tube critical design review, and a missile module critical design review. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn. (89 percent); Newport News, Va. (7 percent); Quonset, R.I. (3 percent); and Newport, R.I. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 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.

Sikorsky Support Services, Inc., Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded a $7,035,212 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract (N00019-06-D-0017) to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics support for the T-34C, as well as manage the aircraft's service life extension and service life maintenance management programs. Additionally, the contractor will provide all required support to enter T-6 aircraft flight data into the Training Information Management System and Organizational Optimized Maintenance Activity software systems. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas (50 percent), and NAS Whiting Field, Fla. (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Intelagard, Inc., Broomfield, Colo., is being awarded a $7,000,600 firm-fixed-priced contract to procure man-portable backpacks which will be used for fire suppression and extraction from wheeled vehicles. Work will be performed in Broomfield, Colo., and is expected to be completed April 8, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract award was a sole-source procurement. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-C-5047).

AIR FORCE

Vinnell Brown and Root, LLC, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $37,535,776 contract which will provide consolidated base operations and maintenance contract for base facilities located in Turkey and Spain. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 700 CONS, APO, AE, is the contracting activity (FA5613-10-C-5400).

CymSTAR LLC, Broken Arrow, Okla., was awarded a $6,101,030 contract which will provide boom operator weapons system trainers for Air Mobility Command, KC-135 aircrew training systems. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 558 ACSG/PK, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8223-10-C-0002).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Sopakco, Inc., Mullins, S.C.*, is being awarded a maximum $14,333,760 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for first strike ration. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally 38 proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Aug. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-08-D-Z101).

Carter Enterprises, LLC, Brooklyn, N.Y.*, is being awarded a maximum $9,180,000 firm-fixed-price, total set-aside contract for mechanic's coveralls. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy and Air Force. There were originally four proposals solicited with four responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Oct. 5, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-C-0009).

Soldier Keeps Eye on Mission, Ear to Haiti


Special to American Forces Press Service
By Air Force Capt. Tony Wickman
Jan. 21, 2010 - Haitian-born Army Spc. Franck Joseph is maintaining his focus on the mission here even as he awaits news about the status of his family back in Haiti. The Jamaican-raised soldier serves with Echo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, serving at the Camp Wright forward armament and refueling point. His unit is responsible for fueling and arming helicopters supporting battlespace owners and maneuver elements within Task Force Mountain Warrior's area of operations.

Joseph's job entails a certain amount of danger and requires a steady hand, keen eye and attention to detail to the task at hand.

That is why it's all the more amazing he is able to stay focused on his mission with the uncertainty of the well-being of his mother, siblings and extended family living in Haiti. A magnitude 7 earthquake struck the evening of Jan. 12 near the capital of Port-au-Prince, flattening much of the country.

"My mom, Marguerite Paul, my brother, Kimps, two sisters who I haven't met yet, uncles and cousins ... my entire side of my mom's family are all in Haiti. I haven't been able to get in touch with any of them," Joseph said. "They found one of my aunts, my father's sister who went to visit family, trapped in a building. They give her 50-50 chance of survival, but they haven't found anyone else yet."

Joseph has tried numerous times to get in touch with his mother, but to no avail. He keeps in touch with his wife back at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., and his father's family for updates.

He said all he can do is stay focused on his mission and keep faith that everything will be OK.

"We try to call, but haven't been able to get through. My hope is finding my mom, brother and sisters alive and well," Joseph said.

The 25-year-old soldier, the father of a 4-year-old child, said he is getting a lot of support from the people around him in Afghanistan.

"My leadership ... my commander, my first sergeant, my squad ... have all been very supportive and try to help me out," Joseph said. "It's hard, but this is where I need to be. I want to stay here with my friends and do my mission."

Once the news was received about the earthquake, Joseph's leadership took the initiative to redeploy him home. But like a dedicated soldier who enjoys what he does, he turned down the offer.

"He called me and told me to talk to the first sergeant about staying here with the unit," said Army Staff Sgt. Quentin Colbert, forward armament and refueling point noncommissioned officer in charge. "That's just the kind of soldier he is."

American assets and supplies have poured into Haiti since the devastating quake. U.S. search and rescue teams, medical personnel and servicemembers have arrived and have begun providing everything from basic services to vital technical support for the massive relief operations.

Joseph said it is difficult to think about his family in Haiti, but his decision was made for him when he stepped on the plane bound for Afghanistan.

"I'm already here. When I stepped inside the airplane I was focused on my mission," Joseph said. "You don't expect something like this to happen, but there is nothing I can do about it.

"Even if I went back to Savannah, it's going to be the same thing ... sit around and wait," he continued. "This allows me to stay focused, instead of going home and watching people cry and stress out. I wanted to stay here with my friends who are supporting me."

So every day since the quake, Joseph has gone about refueling, rearming and refitting helicopters landing at the forward armament and refueling point. And he does it with an eye on his mission, but always with an ear to Haiti.

(Air Force Capt. Tony Wickman serves with the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team public affairs.)

U.S. Forces in Haiti to Grow to 20,000

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - Roughly 20,000 U.S. troops will be supporting relief efforts in Haiti by Jan. 24, military officials said, adding to the 13,000-strong American force currently there. Comprising the force will be the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade and thousands of other troops operating afloat off the Haitian coast and on shore, distributing provisions, assisting in medical operations and helping to maintain security. Some 2,200 Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are slated to arrive within 48 hours, military officials said.

"The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is a huge part of enabling us to extend our reach to places around the country that may need our assistance but we just haven't been there yet," Army Lt. Gen. P.K. Keen, the top U.S. commander in Haiti, said on The Pentagon Channel today.

The additional forces come as international aid continues pouring into Haiti following a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Jan. 12, creating what an official called one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies in the history of the Americas.

About 2,000 Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit that came ashore earlier this week have zeroed in on an area west of Port-au-Prince where much of the larger destruction occurred, according to Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, the commander of U.S. Southern Command.

In the meantime, some 1,400 flights are waiting to land at the congested Toussaint Louverture International Airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince, where the United States is overseeing upwards of 140 flights daily as officials look to open additional airfields, Fraser told Pentagon reporters today. Reports of bottlenecking at the airport have emerged as its capacity has swelled from an average of 13 commercial aircraft daily arrivals before the quake.

As of yesterday, an airport about 30 miles southeast of the Haitian capital in the city of Jacmel became operational in addition to the San Isidro airport in neighboring Dominican Republic, where officials are looking to open a third airport in Maria Montez.

Officials say the disaster has killed between 100,000 to 200,000 people and the Red Cross estimates some 3 million people have been affected. To date, the United States has delivered 1.4 million bottles of water, 700,000 meals and 22,000 pounds of medical equipment, which are being disbursed among some 100 distribution sites, Fraser said.

While the cost of relief efforts is difficult to estimate given its scope, Fraser placed the figure at $100 million. The Defense Department pledged up to $20 million in emergency relief funds in days for Haiti, and sprang troops into action following the quake.

Off the Haitian coast are 20 U.S. ships, with the floating hospital vessel USNS Comfort among them, adding medical capabilities and supplying about 600 medical personnel and 1,000 desperately needed hospital beds. As of yesterday, roughly 270 U.S. medical personnel on the ground had treated more than 5,100 people in Haiti.

Use Caution When Donating to Relief Efforts, Expert Says

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - In response to the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, there's been an outpouring of goodwill and a desire to help victims. But not all urgent appeals for aid being broadcast on radio and television, online and at social networking sites are legitimate, a consumer expert with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission warned in an interview for the Jan. 21 American Forces Press Service weekly news podcast.

Carol Kando-Pinedo said the best way to provide immediate help is to donate money directly to established national relief organizations that have the experience and means to deliver aid. It makes sense to deal with well-known groups, but it's important to check credentials, she added.

"Be wary of charities with names that sound like familiar or nationally known organizations," she said. "Some phony charities use names that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations."

Other tips include declining unsolicited e-mail, phone call or text requests for money and requests for personal or financial information. Often, "scam artists use this information to commit fraud against you," the consumer expert said. She added, "Don't give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card. Write the official name of the charity on your check."

Kando-Pinedo also had advice for people who wish to donate supplies.

"Before collecting any goods, be sure to contact a legitimate charity and find out if that's what's needed, if they can accept the goods and distribute them where it's needed," she explained. "If they lack that infrastructure, your goods won't get to needy people."

To get a list of charities for Haiti that meet the Better Business Bureau's standards, Kando-Pineda recommended visiting the Web site, www.bbb.org/charity. The Wise Giving Alliance at give.org and GuideStar at guidestar.org also are good sources for screening charities, she said.

(Judith Snyderman is assigned to Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Gates Visits Pakistan to Underscore Enduring U.S. Support

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here in the Pakistani capital today to personally deliver assurances of the United States' long-term commitment to Pakistan, with what he expects to be frank, open talks about violent extremism and other shared security concerns. Gates, in his first visit here as defense secretary, will meet with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

He also will meet with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Intelligence Chief Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha.

The goal, he wrote in an editorial in today's English-language Pakistani newspaper, The News, is to deliver the message that the United States is committed to a stable, long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan and seeks a long-term relationship based on shared interests and mutual respect.

Gates told reporters traveling with him his talks with Pakistan's civilian and military leaders will focus heavily on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, its long-term implications and Pakistan's key role in its success.

"The Pakistanis have accomplished a great deal in the past year or so," he said. He noted successful military operations in the west that "have caused al-Qaida and some of the other terrorists we have been concerned about flee their safe havens," contributing to the effort in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has positioned about 15 percent of its military along the western border, and suffered tremendous casualties in its stand against extremist elements.

"The tremendous sacrifice of so many Pakistani troops – 2,000 in the last three years – speaks to both their courage and their commitment to protect their fellow citizens," Gates wrote. "It also speaks to the magnitude of the security challenges this country faces, and the need for our two countries to muster the resolve to eliminate lawless regions and bring this conflict to an end."

Gates noted U.S. efforts to increase the Pakistani military's capabilities, primarily through training and equipment, and said he will reiterate the offer for more assistance, if wanted.

"It's the Pakistanis that have their foot on the accelerator, not us," he said. "So we have to do this in a way that is comfortable for them, and at a pace that they can accommodate and is tolerable for them."

Gates said he's comfortable with having the Pakistanis set the pace according to their political situation.

He recognized in his editorial concern that the increased U.S. presence in Afghanistan will lead to more attacks in Pakistan, and said it's important to remember that terrorists in both countries operate as part of a broader, coordinated organization.

"Only by pressuring all of these groups on both sides of the border will Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to rid themselves of this scourge for good – to destroy those who promote the use of terror here and abroad," he wrote.

Gates said he hopes to move beyond what he acknowledged as a "trust deficit" between the two countries.

"As I meet with Pakistan's civilian and military leaders during my visit, I will emphasize that the United States wishes to relinquish the grievances of the past – grievances held by both sides – and instead focus on the promise of the future," he wrote in his editorial.

Gates is particularly looking forward to addressing a Pakistani military audience here, talking directly to those in uniform and taking what Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell acknowledged is expected to be tough questioning.

"It is useful to open a dialog," Gates told reporters, "particularly with people with whom we have not had a dialog."

The goal, Morrell explained, is to help overcome a lost generation of military-to-military contacts after the United States stopped them because of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.

Kayani received military education at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., but most of the Pakistani forces he leads have had little or no personal interaction with U.S. forces, Morrell said. "The up-and-coming leaders of the Pakistani military are not familiar with us, and we are not familiar with them," he said. "We need to work extra hard to try to establish the level of trust that is required for us to have a successful military-to-military relationship."

Arriving here after a visit to India, Gates is expected to address tensions between India and Pakistan, and to emphasize that violent extremism is the biggest threat the two countries face – not each other.

During a press conference yesterday in New Delhi, he expressed concern that a broad syndicate of military groups under the al-Qaida umbrella seeks to stoke distrust between the two countries, and possibly even to trigger conflict.

While in Islamabad, Gates also plans to visit the Office of the Defense Representative at the U.S. Embassy, and to address the entire embassy staff to emphasize the importance of interagency cooperation.

His visit here will build on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's successful three-day visit here in October.

"She did some things on that trip that clearly made a difference with the Pakistani leadership and the Pakistani people," Morrell told reporters.

"The kind of frank, open, candid discussions she had, both in her meetings and her public engagements, had an impact," he said. "And that is precisely the way Secretary Gates likes to communicate. I think he relishes the opportunity to go there, as she did, and speak in a very honest and forthright way with both the Pakistani civilian and military leadership, as well as the Pakistani people through journalists."

New NSPS Transition Office Announced

The Department of Defense announced today the establishment of the National Security Personnel System Transition Office (NSPSTO) and the selection of John H. James Jr. as the director of the Program Executive Office, NSPS.

James will report to the deputy under secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy and lead the NSPSTO in managing the development of the plan to transition employees from NSPS to pre-NSPS personnel systems. The fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 111-84, repealed authorities for and mandated the transition of NSPS employees to appropriate non-NSPS civilian personnel systems.

He will oversee the design and implementation of an enterprise-wide performance management system, hiring flexibilities, and a DoD Workforce Incentive Fund, authorities granted to the secretary of defense under NDAA 2010.

Department personnel are committed to proceeding deliberately and cautiously, without unnecessary delay, and with the least disruption to organizations, mission and workforce. Employees will not experience decrease in pay during the transition.

For more information, contact Maj. April Cunningham at 703-697-6727 or e-mail april.cunningham@osd.mil.

Guard Uses Chat Room to Support Relief Effort

By Air Force Staff Sgt. J. Paul Croxon

Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - With the recent earthquake destroying so much of Haiti's infrastructure, communication between military units remains vital to supporting the relief effort. A readily available chat client is being used to relay critical information between the services and is proving to be a powerful communication tool.

Defense Connect Online is similar to many commercial chat clients. It has different virtual chat rooms where groups can congregate and disseminate information; however, these chat rooms are filled with military members from every service.

"This is the first time I've seen anything like this," said Air Force 1st Lt. Tirso Peña, a navigator from the 156th Airlift Wing who is working in the Puerto Rico National Guard joint operations center. "We're able to see all this information and requests for support and disseminate the pertinent information down to the individual units."

One such instance occurred when a Navy P-3 Orion was trying to communicate with Army units on the ground, Peña said. The radio frequency information for the Army unit was relayed to the P-3 via the chat room, saving the sailors valuable time searching channel by channel.

Other uses for the chat room involve getting supplies to the people who need it most. Peña said he saw a request from units on the ground for food, water and medical supplies for an orphanage that hadn't seen any relief since the quake hit.

"We were able to funnel that information to our Puerto Rico National Guard units in the Dominican Republic who were able to load a [HH-60] Black Hawk helicopter and get those supplies to the 20 or so orphans."

The Defense Connect Online program fits a unique set of circumstances since the earthquake devastated the telecommunications infrastructure but left some Internet connectivity. It also is an efficient way to organize information by audience, mission or geographic location.

"I've seen the system be used to relay information such as flight times from Puerto Rico to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and to help plan missions to extract a little girl with internal bleeding," Peña said. "It's one more tool to get aid to the people who need it most."

(Air Force Staff Sgt. J. Paul Croxon serves with the Defense Media Activity-San Antonio.)

Military Health System to Convene 2010 Conference

January 21, 2010 - Falls Church, Va. – The 2010 Military Health System (MHS) Conference will be held January 25-28, 2010 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The theme of the conference is “Sharing Knowledge: Achieving Breakthrough Performance.” Each day will feature its own educational theme, centering on achievements and performance in health-care delivery, research, education and training.

“The 2010 MHS Conference is a chance for us to embrace the challenge of evolving as a learning organization,” said Ellen P. Embrey, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “We are constantly seeking to enhance our health care delivery. The conference provides a platform to share knowledge and improve best practices. Our health care, medical research, and medical education and training positively impact the daily lives of millions of service members, veterans and their families.”

More than three-thousand military and civilian medical personnel from the MHS, partner agencies and industry are expected to attend, creating an opportunity to share knowledge and improve best practices. As a learning organization, the MHS expects its 2010 conference to promote professionalism across the force, enhance partnerships within and outside the federal sector, and focus on ways to best serve the preventive and health-care needs of our diverse beneficiary population.

The conference will include both internal and external/industry exhibitors whose missions have a focus that is aligned with the MHS mission. Further conference details, including biographies of plenary speakers, can be found on the Military Health System Web site at www.health.mil/mhsconference.

Bataan Crew Adds Language Skills, Medical Help in Haiti

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - The crew of the USS Bataan is adding language capabilities and medical care for earthquake victims as part of Operation Unified Response Haiti. "We are pleased to be able to exercise our medical capability in support of those who need it in Haiti," Navy Capt. Samuel Charles Henry-Howard, commanding officer of the USS Bataan told bloggers and journalists yesterday during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.

The ship had returned Dec. 8 from a seven-month deployment to the Fifth and Sixth Fleets. "We had just finished leave ... resting up from seven months of deploy[ment]," Howard said. "Late Tuesday evening, a decision was made for us to go to a 48-hour ready for sea, and by Wednesday morning we were directed to get underway 36 hours thereafter."

Howard said his crew is prepared to stay for the foreseeable future. "We'll be here for as long as we're directed and happy to do so," he said.

Along with the medical capabilities the Bataan offers, Howard said he has six French Creole speakers and nearly a dozen sailors who speak French who will assist when patients are brought aboard Bataan.

As of today, the Bataan has 22 patients aboard for medical care and is establishing a triage process ashore so they can bring aboard earthquake victims who need a certain level of care.

The patients on the ship vary in age from a newborn, whose cry was extremely gratifying to the crew, to a 70-year-old woman who is resting comfortably after being found buried under rubble, Howard said.

The ship has been augmented with 78 additional personnel for medical services. "We are currently getting them oriented and they will join the medical capacity we have shortly," he said. "When all medical personnel arrive aboard the ship we will have a team of 117 that will be able to fully operate four operating rooms."

Howard said the purpose of the ship is to provide aid in the best way possible.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit also is using the Bataan as its headquarters and is using the flight deck of the ship to support helicopter operations for a relief distribution center set up ashore.

"We are operating on flight deck 24 hours a day," Howard said. "All during the day we are flying and accepting all comers."

Howard said he has prepared his crew to be in Haiti until directed otherwise. "As more arms and legs are needed we have an entire crew that is excited to help."

This is a personal mission for several crew members who are of Haitian descent, he added. They are continuing the mission in spite of losing family members and having a personal tie to Haiti.

"We are pleased to be the arms and legs of the U.S. to join in the international effort to help Haiti," Howard said. "This is the kind of thing that makes being in the Navy extremely rewarding."

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

Lynn Salutes U.S. Relief Efforts in Haiti

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 21, 2010 - U.S. military and other assistance provided to earthquake-stricken Haiti "are helping to make a desperate situation a little less desperate each day," Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said here today.

"The stories of our relief efforts emerging from Haiti should make us all proud," Lynn told military and civilian attendees at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy.

U.S. servicemembers, Lynn said, are working in difficult conditions as part of an international effort to bring aid to the Haitian people. Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7 earthquake Jan. 12.

As of today, he said, more than 13,000 U.S. troops -- including about 10,000 aboard ships off Haiti's shore and around 3,000 posted ashore -- are participating in relief operations.

U.S. troops in Haiti are working with the host government and international organizations, Lynn said, as part of a successful effort to provide food, water and medical care to the Haitian people.

Meanwhile, he said, the U.S. military in Haiti also is delivering 43,000 hand-held radios, while working to reopen the Port-au-Prince seaport and unloading cargo from more than 150 aircraft each day.

"We're going to be there to see Haiti through to recovery," Lynn said, adding assistance will be provided to Haiti "as long as it is needed."