Military News

Monday, April 12, 2010

Air Force Services officials launch Month of the Military Child programs

by Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

April 12, 2010 - WASHINGTON -- Air Force Services officials are highlighting a variety and scope of programs in partnership with base agencies for Month of Military Child and Year of the Air Force Family in recognition of military children and their families.

"Stay Connected" is among several Air Force-wide initiatives designed to help parents and children stay in touch during deployed members' time away from home.

The Air Force Stay Connected Deployment Kit contains items such as stuffed animals, pens and disposable cameras.

"The kit provides young people and parents an avenue to keep a connection during the deployed members' time away from home," said Eliza Nesmith, an Air Force family member programs specialist. "The items in the kit come in pairs, so that the young person and parent can have an item that will help them remember each other."

Active duty, Guard and Reserve locations received the kits for assembly and use during Month of Military Child and Year of the Air Force Family. So far, in 2010, deploying families received 8,000 Stay Connected Deployment Kits, with more than 20,000 kits distributed since the program's inception in 2007.

During MOMC, bases throughout the Air Force are hosting special activities at installation libraries, bowling centers, fitness centers, and enlisted and officer clubs. Organizations such as outdoor recreation, security forces and family advocacy are collaborating to promote parades, concerts, book fairs, cookouts, family bingo, block parties and art auctions and more.

The month also includes health and wellness parental education activities such as car seat inspections, pet safety, speech and hearing screenings and brown bag lunch seminars.

"These events combine fun, education and recognition to celebrate military children and continue in our mission of taking care of Airmen and their families," Ms. Nesmith said.

MCPON Highlights Contributions, Sacrifices of the Submarine Force

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (EXW) Jennifer A. Villalovos

April 12, 2010 - GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) visited Naval Submarine Base New London and the World War II National Submarine Memorial in Groton, Conn., from April 8 to 10 to mark the Submarine Force's 110th birthday and commemorate the 47th anniversary of the loss of USS Thresher (SSN 593).

This was the first time MCPON (SS/SW) Rick D. West visited Groton since he took the position as MCPON. He toured the Naval Submarine Base, visited USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) where he ate lunch with the crew, then toured USS Providence (SSN 719), received a firsthand look at the escape trainer at the Naval Submarine School (NAVSUBSCOL), and pinned a couple of Submarine Warfare pins on newly qualified Sailors from Philadelphia and USS Toledo (SSN 769).

"It was a pretty big opportunity to have MCPON here today, not everyone can say they were pinned by the MCPON," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class (SS) Benjamin Chance, attached to Philadelphia.

During MCPON's visit to NAVSUBSCOL, he spoke to a group of around 1,400 Sailors currently in school and talked about the first time he walked through the building as a young Sailor in 1981, how far things have come since then and how he would trade places with anyone of them to start his Navy career all over.

Also during the trip, MCPON spoke at the 47th anniversary of the tragic incident of the Thresher. Thresher, a nuclear powered submarine, sank on April 10, 1963, as it conducted deep-diving exercises about 220 miles east of Boston. Everyone on board died in the accident which included 129 Sailors and civilians.

"This memorial stands to honor the sacrifices of those gallant Sailors and civilians in their service to our country," said West. "Today's ceremony reminds us of the courage and bravery these men demonstrated in risking their lives in the development of the Navy's submarine force, a force which has proven to be of tremendous value to our great Navy and our Nation."

The U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII and U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. put together the memorial that included a Tolling of the Boats and a wreath laying ceremony at the U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII National Submarine Memorial East.

"The submarine profession is a demanding one. Submariners go to sea in ships that sink by design and operate over the vast expanse of hydrospace. Some days, it can be quite exciting. It is certainly satisfying and rewarding, but it can also be a dangerous profession with most missions being completed beyond the public eye," said West.

West concluded his visit to Groton by attending and speaking at the 110th Submarine Birthday Ball which boasted more than 2,300 guests.

The ball was held at the MGM Grand Casino where MCPON was the guest speaker. He spoke to the Sailors and guests about the critical missions the submarine community is performing to maintain the security of our nation and freedom around the world, and expressed how proud he is of the Sailors.

"As a new student at sub school, I thought it was a very great honor to meet the highest enlisted man in the Navy and for him to be a member of the submarine force. He was really down to earth, and it gave me hope that anyone one of us could one day get to his position," said Seaman Recruit Jeffery Chambers.

The theme of the ball was the celebration of the 50th anniversary of USS Triton's (SSRN 586) magnificent accomplishment of successfully executing the first submerged circumnavigation of the world in 1960, covering 3,335.1 nautical miles in 60 days and 21 hours at an average speed of 18 knots. Triton's crew followed the same track as the first surface-circumnavigation of the world led by Ferdinand Magellan in the 1500s, which took almost three years to complete.

"I'm continually amazed at the enthusiasm, hard work and team work of our Sailors, and it's because of their efforts that we are more ready and more capable than we have been in the history of our great Navy," said West.

USS Independence Trains Crew to Handle Aircraft

By Lt. Zachary Harrell

April 12, 2010 - MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Independence (LCS 2), the Navy's newest littoral combat ship, prepared to embark aircraft aboard the ship by conducting simulated training April 6 and 7 in a variety of situations involving aircraft operations, while in port at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. The training, led by a staff of training personnel from the Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON), brings both rotational crews aboard Independence a step closer to earning their certification to conduct aviation operations at sea.

"This training is about ensuring that the crew is proficient in all the procedures involved in handling aircraft aboard a ship," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (handling) Marcus Aguirre of LCSRON. "We are here to assist the crew and ensure they are prepared to get it right when it counts."

The training simulated routine aircraft operations such as helicopter launch, landing and refueling. The crew also practiced responding to circumstances as extreme as removing personnel from a crashed helicopter and extinguishing a fire on the flight deck.

"Helicopters are vital to the mission of LCS because they extend our ability to monitor and manipulate the surrounding environment," said Chief Boatswain's Mate Joseph Wilson, one of the senior members of the "blue crew" team of Independence Sailors being trained. "By training everyday…it builds our confidence by building our muscle memory for when we are faced with the real thing."

One of the most crucial portions of the training is personnel injury response.

"Immediate medical first-responder treatment could mean the difference between life and death for the pilot and passengers," said the "blue crew" independent duty corpsman aboard Independence, Chief Hospital Corpsman Tricia Loomis. "The first responders must be ready to treat everything from burns to broken bones to life-threatening smoke inhalation injuries that could compromise the airway. It is essential they are familiar with appropriate triage [procedures] to ensure the most immediate injuries and casualties are treated first."

Independence is scheduled to complete their final aviation readiness qualification for both blue and gold crews later this month.

Independence, a high-speed aluminum trimaran that departed the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. March 26, is a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval technology. The ship is specifically designed to defeat anti-access threats in shallow, coastal water regions, including surface craft, diesel submarines and mines. LCS features an interchangeable modular design that allows the ship to be reconfigured to meet mission requirements.

Navy T-39 Crashes Near Blue Ridge, Georgia

From Chief of Naval Air Training Public Affairs

April 12, 2010 - ELLIJAY, Ga (NNS) -- A T-39N Sabreliner crashed near Ellijay, Ga., at approximately 4 p.m. April 12. There were four personnel aboard the aircraft assigned to Training Air Wing Six based out of Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Rescue crews have recovered three bodies from the crash. The status of the fourth crew member is unknown.

The aircraft was conducting a routine cross-country training mission. An investigation board has convened to investigate the cause of the mishap. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Carl Vinson Arrives at New Home Port

April 12, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- SAN DIEGO - USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and its 3,500 crew members arrived at their new homeport at Naval Air Station North Island April 12, completing a coast-to-coast transit following operations in the U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet area of operations.

The aircraft carrier left Norfolk Jan. 12 and participated in Operation Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command Partnership of the Americas operation, which provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multinational environment. The strike group conducted bilateral training and air exercises with Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru and Ecuador. The crew also enjoyed port visits in Rio de Janeiro and Callao, Peru.

"Our efforts with our South American partner nations reinforced our commitment to the common goals of partnership, maritime security and stability," said Rear Adm. Ted Branch, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1. "With each country, we learned from each other both operationally and culturally and in doing so we strengthened important relationships."

Prior to Southern Seas 2010, Carl Vinson Strike Group led the initial maritime actions in Operation Unified Response, an international effort to bring humanitarian aid and disaster relief to Haiti following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake near Port-au-Prince. The strike group delivered 147,591 gallons of water, 1,095,442 pounds of food, and 36,250 pounds of medical supplies. The ship's medical team treated 60 patients on board while the air wing flew 1,299 sorties and 1,152 medical evacuations.

"During Operation Unified Response and Southern Seas 2010 we were tasked by the president to be a Global Force for Good, and we delivered. The families and friends of the Carl Vinson, in addition to all Americans, should be extremely proud of their Carl Vinson Strike Group Sailors," said Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey, the commanding officer of the Carl Vinson. "San Diego has a long history and rewarding relationship with U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and our Sailors are excited to be an active and positive part of the San Diego community."

The estimated economic impact of Carl Vinson to the local community is more than $400 million annually.

This was a scheduled homeport shift for the ship as Carl Vinson was a West Coast-based carrier before entering its mid-life refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) in Newport News, Va., in 2005. The Navy took re-delivery of Carl Vinson in July 2009. During the RCOH period, more than 20 million man-hours of work were accomplished, upgrading ship's infrastructure to last another 25 years and modernizing combat systems and air wing capabilities to increase combat effectiveness making the ship one of the most advanced ships in the world.

Also aboard the aircraft carrier are elements from Carrier Air Wing 17 including the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 15, the "Sunliners" of Strike Fighter Squadron 81, the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 and the "Tigertails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125. Other Strike Group 1 assets, San Diego based Destroyer Squadron 1 and cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), escorted the carrier around South America and participated in Haiti relief efforts.

National Guard Supports Nuclear Summit

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

April 12, 2010 - The National Guard is helping civilian authorities to protect 46 heads of government and international organizations at the largest domestic summit since the founding of the United Nations.

President Barack Obama is hosting 43 heads of state and three heads of international organizations for the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit held here through tomorrow.

National Guard soldiers and airmen are among those supporting civilian authorities in the largest security operation here since Obama's inauguration, when about 10,000 Guard members were on hand.

About 170 Army and Air National Guard members from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are supporting the summit under the District of Columbia National Guard's Joint Task Force 74, Guard officials said. Among their duties are perimeter security; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives detection; and providing Civil Support Teams, which are standing by in case of incidents.

The summit is centered on the Washington Convention Center and is expected to cause significant traffic disruption here through tomorrow night.

The National Guard is providing personnel, vehicles and communications support. Among units involved are the 33rd Civil Support Team of the District of Columbia, the 32nd Civil Support Team of Maryland and a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability from the Fort Belvoir, Va.-based 29th Infantry Division communications section.

The site communications team provides computer network connectivity, Internet access and voice-over-Internet phone capabilities to give the task force real-time communication capabilities, said Army Maj. Tim Wine, communications officer for the 29th Infantry Division.

"Once again, we are glad to assist the D.C. National Guard in this important security mission," said Army Col. Rob McMillin, operations officer for the Virginia National Guard. "Just as we worked together for the presidential inauguration in January 2009, this mission shows the importance of our organizations working together to share resources to augment our ability to protect the health and welfare of our citizens."

McMillin said that each time it exercises its ability to work with other military or state organizations, the Virginia Guard improves its ability to respond if called to support a larger-scale incident.

Among other duties, National Guard civil support teams assess suspected weapons of mass destruction attacks, advise civilian responders on appropriate actions through on-site testing and expert consultation and facilitate the arrival of additional state and federal military forces.

Gates, Brazilian Defense Minister Sign Security Pact

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 12, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim signed a new defense cooperation agreement today that Gates said provides an example of partnership and "offers a transparent, positive model for engagement throughout the Americas."

The agreement formalizes the growing security partnership between the United States and Brazil, while establishing a framework to build on that relationship, Gates said.

"This agreement will lead to a deepening of U.S.-Brazil defense cooperation at all levels and will demonstrate how much more effectively we can confront shared security challenges when we work in partnership," he said at the signing ceremony in his Pentagon dining room.

The accord will expand the two countries' relationship into promising areas of mutual interest, including research and development, logistics support, technology security and the acquisition of defense products and services. This cooperation not only will strengthen both countries' military capabilities, but also will provide industrial opportunities, Gates noted.

In addition, the agreement opens the door for more information exchanges about operational experiences, defense technology and peacekeeping operations, as well as more combined training and education and joint military exercises.

Gates lauded Brazil's leadership of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti during the past six years, particularly in leading United Nations relief and recovery efforts following the devastating January earthquake. Thousands of U.S. and Brazilian troops have worked side by side since the earthquake to bring humanitarian aid and security to the Haitian people, he noted.

"The agreement is a formal acknowledgement of the many security interests and values we share as the two most populous democracies in the Americas," Gates said. "These common interests make Brazil's growing involvement and significance in global affairs a welcome development for the United States."

Jobim, to whom Gates extended birthday wishes today, shared Gates' enthusiasm about new opportunities the defense cooperation agreement will open up between the two countries.

Asked if Brazil had decided what new fighter jet it will buy, Jobim said he expects to make a recommendation by the end of May. U.S. officials are hopeful Brazil will choose the U.S. F/A-18 Super Hornet over the French Rafale or Swedish Gripen aircraft.

"We would like to have the Brazilians choose the Super Hornet. That would add to our strategic relationship," a senior defense official told reporters. "But this agreement ... contains much more than what each country might buy or procure from each other. There are many other elements to it."

Gates initially had planned to travel to Brasilia for the signing ceremony. However, the venue was rescheduled because Jobim is accompanying Brazilian President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva to the two-day nuclear security summit President Barack Obama is hosting in Washington.

Gates will leave tomorrow for Latin America, where he plans to visit Peru, Colombia and the Caribbean to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the region and promote closer defense cooperation.

Nuclear Security

Gates: Summit Draws Attention to Nuclear Security

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 12, 2010 - The international summit on nuclear security is an opportunity to draw greater attention to the issues of nuclear nonproliferation and the control of nuclear material, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

The opening of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit, which convenes leaders of more than 40 countries here, today comes on the heels of the unveiling of the Nuclear Posture Review, a Defense Department-led effort that represents the first overarching look at U.S. nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War.

"One of the things that makes the nuclear posture review different than its predecessors is the priority that it has given to preventing nuclear proliferation and getting better control of nuclear materials around the world," Gates told Pentagon reporters today. "And that is precisely the agenda for the nuclear security conference."

Gates said the summit places emphasis on putting into practice relevant nuclear agreements that have already been forged, and seeking new ways improve nuclear security.

"It is an area that people talk about a lot, but frankly, there hasn't been the kind of concerted international attention in these two areas that there might have been," he said. "So I think it creates some real opportunities."

Appearing alongside Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on CBS' "Face the Nation" yesterday, Gates called it an "extraordinary achievement" to bring together 46 world leaders to discuss nuclear security issues.

Clinton said the goal of the summit would be to gain broader agreement on nuclear security issues in hopes of making nuclear materials less vulnerable to theft or misuse.

"We are seeking to get agreement and a work plan about how each country will do its best to better secure the nuclear material that it has within its borders to prevent the transit of nuclear material," she said.

Gates added that issues of nonproliferation and of gaining control of nuclear materials around the world represent the "key front-end piece" of the Nuclear Posture Review, which was unveiled last week during a Pentagon briefing.

The review articulates a roadmap for cutting the American nuclear arsenal, edging the country toward President Barack Obama's stated long-term goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, and ceases U.S. testing of nuclear weapons and the development of new nuclear weapons platforms.

It culminates a year of efforts involving top interagency officials, and it codifies the new U.S. nuclear stance, which includes a policy to not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state, even if the state attacks with chemical and biological weapons.

KC-135 testing aims at fueling efficiency, cost savings

by Kenji Thuloweit
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/12/2010 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Engineers at the Air Force Flight Test Center here are testing a system known as the Automatic Receiver Aircraft Identification, or ARAI. Currently installed on a test aerial refueler, if the tests are successful, they say, the system will significantly improve air-to-air refueling.

The ARAI is designed to be installed on a KC-135 Stratotanker to make the air-to-air refueling to a receiver aircraft more efficient and economical. Phase 2 testing for the ARAI has begun here, which included a flight test April 7 using an NKC-135 test tanker equipped with ARAI and an F-16 Fighting Falcon equipped with radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags. The NKC-135 will use its ARAI antennas to scan the F-16 for recognition and to accurately gauge the amount of fuel transferred.

"It's an inventory control measure similar to what the large department stores have," said Steve Walden, AFFTC test operations project manager. "It's a similar process to when you walk through the passive system at the door, the tags on the backs of CDs and DVDs are automatically inventoried. That is ARAI in the tanker, fly-up inventory control."

Currently, when an airplane approaches a KC-135 for fuel, the receiver aircraft's information is manually tracked by the boom operator. Information for the receiver plane, such as tail number and squadron, must either be visually identified or communicated by radio. During night operations and radio silence situations, doing this can be complicated.

"(ARAI) helps clean up the process so the boomer can focus on what's really important, refueling the aircraft and completing the mission, rather than administrative tasks," said Karen Etzkorn, a Boeing systems engineer and principal investigator.

Ms. Etzkorn added that when visual identification and communications are hindered for some reason, it takes longer for the KC-135 crew to accurately log the aircraft and fuel information after the refueling process is finished, or sometimes after they land.

Manually entered information can be inaccurate and thus costly. With the ARAI/RFID system, a receiver aircraft with the RFID tags can be scanned by the ARAI and all data retrieved is logged into a computer aboard the tanker. Accurate information is important because when an aircraft is refueled by a KC-135, the receiver's squadron is responsible for the fuel cost.

"There's millions of dollars lost every year because of tracking for fuels that are unaccounted for or allocated incorrectly," Mr. Walden said. "When you go into a certain situation when there's no communication (between the two aircraft), you have to estimate and that's when you could lose money."

Mr. Walden said the ARAI system could potentially save the Air Force money by accurately tracking the amount of fuel downloaded and charging squadrons the proper dollar amount. Air Force officials would be able to budget their fuel needs and costs more efficiently.

The Phase 2 KC-135 ARAI testing is part of the 'proof of concept' portion of the testing process, which includes aerial testing. Once Phase 2 is complete, the testing results and data will be forwarded to Air Force Materiel Command officials for review.

Wisconsin Airman serves entire installation in Southwest Asia

By Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
380th Air Expeditionary Wing

April 12, 2010 - An Airman assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison is more than halfway through a six month deployment that began in January, when he volunteered to leave his Middleton home, friends and family, and a job that he loves to gain experience as a military contractor.

Tech. Sgt. Tyson Hall's hometown motto in Middleton is the "Good Neighbor City." As a contracting officer with the 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron (ECONS), Southwest Asia, Hall also might be considered a "good neighbor" to the many people he supports throughout the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.

"If you got it, we bought it," said Hall. "As a contracting officer, we appear to be a 'behind the scenes' career field within the Air Force. However, we are involved with every squadron or group on base in one way or another."

Hall said the 380th ECONS mission is separated into three areas to service the majority of base acquisitions - commodities, construction and services.

"I work within the commodities flight with three other contracting officers purchasing for all other squadrons and groups," Hall said. "We purchase items per the customer's request, while remaining within the guidelines as established, and get these items in the hands of the end users as soon as possible at a fair and reasonable price with the best quality commercially available. The workload and days are long with most guys staying here till midnight - six days on and one day off."

In a deployed environment, Hall said the majority of base purchases are directed through the contracting squadron.

"That's done to ensure a streamlined and efficient transaction for a broad range of services, supplies and construction projects," Hall said. "These purchases range from the cleaning of restrooms, providing personnel for food services, construction of living quarters and the installation of slide barriers and traffic spikes. It also includes routine purchases of office furniture, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, security equipment and a variety of other items."

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Johnson, 115th FW contracting officer and one of Hall's coworkers at Traux Field, said Hall has gained a lot of experience while working at the fighter wing despite only working there part-time as a traditional guard member.

"I believe Tech. Sgt. Hall's experience overseas is directly related to his positive attitude, eagerness to learn and his ability to catch on quickly," Johnson said.

Hall, who began his military career with the Army National Guard as a transportation specialist, said he soon realized the benefits the Air Force and the Air National Guard had to offer. Hall reenlisted to the Air National Guard in 2004 and said he enjoys his time here while being deployed. "I feel fortunate and privileged, to be located in the best squadron on base and working alongside with the best active duty contracting officers the Air Force has to offer," Hall said. "I joined the military to explore a challenge. It has always been something that has interested me since I saw my Dad's basic training yearbook when I was elementary school or heard the stories of and from my grandfather Jack Hall - a distinguished World War II veteran.

"The decision was sealed to further explore the opportunities the military had to offer when my cousin, Jon Hall, enlisted in the Marines and my best friend, Jeff Killian, was accepted at West Point," Hall said. "It is, and has been, an honor to be the third generation serving in the military and has made for some interesting and entertaining stories and experiences."

The 380th ECONS is a sub-unit of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. The wing is home to the KC-10 Extender, U-2 Dragon Lady, E-3 Sentry and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft. The wing is comprised of four groups and 12 squadrons and the wing's deployed mission includes air refueling, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. The 380th AEW supports operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

Mrs. Obama, Dr. Biden Praise Military Children

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

April 12, 2010 - The wives of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden paid tribute to military children, honoring their strength and sacrifice, in a Month of the Military Child video message posted on the White House Web site.

"As a grateful nation, it is our sacred responsibility to stand by our military children, just as they and their families stand by us," First Lady Michelle Obama said.

From improving their schools to strengthening their communities to supporting their parents and guardians, she added, "President Obama is committed to ensuring that this administration does everything it can to support our military children."

These "extraordinary" children shoulder responsibilities far beyond their years, Dr. Jill Biden noted.

"During this time of war, they may have one or even both parents deployed overseas and standing in harm's way," she said. "They may even have to care for a parent who is wounded or, in the most painful situations, be called to keep alive the memory of a fallen hero whom they called Mom or Dad."

Biden encouraged Americans to recognize and support military children, whether it's reaching out to a new military family in the neighborhood or connecting with an organization dedicated to supporting troops and their families.

"As a mother of a National Guardsman, I have seen firsthand the difference that a small act of kindness can make," she said. "There's a role for each and every one of us in supporting military children."

"Let's mark the Month of the Military Child this year by dedicating ourselves to honoring and supporting these brave children all year long," Obama added.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 12, 2010

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems and Sensors, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $58,605,221 not-to-exceed, cost-plus-incentive-fee letter contract for the design and manufacture of hardware for the Acoustic Rapid commercial-off-the-shelf Insertion (A-RCI) system improvement and integration program. The contract provides funding for the development and production of the A-RCI and common acoustics processing for Technology Insertion 08 through Technology Insertion 10 for the submarine fleet and for Foreign Military Sales. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (98.2 percent) and the government of Canada (1.8 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Clearwater, Fla. (60 percent), and Manassas, Va. (40 percent), and is expected to be completed by October 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-6266).

FN Manufacturing, LLC, Columbia, S.C., is being awarded an $11,500,000 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for refurbishing and overhauling of machine guns in support of multiple military agencies. The MK 46 lightweight machine gun (LMG), MK 48 LMG, and the M240 machine gun will be refurbished and or overhauled to a like new condition so the aforementioned weapons can be used in combat. The MK 46 LMG, MK 48 LMG, and the M240 machine gun will be used to support a wide array of U.S. Armed Forces missions. Work will be performed in Columbia, S.C., and is expected to be completed by April 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $315,056 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded on a sole-source basis with the solicitation being publicized on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JN09).

AIR FORCE

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,836,983 contract which will provide major research collaboration between laboratory telecommunications sciences researchers, the University of Maryland faculty, and other academic institutions in the areas of secure networking, high bandwidth telecommunications, and information assurance. At this time, $1,508,479 has been obligated. 55 CONS, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

EDO Defense Systems, Amityville, N.Y., was awarded a $19,615,175 contract which will exercise an option to provide for the repair of AN/ALQ-161A radio frequency surveillance/electronic countermeasures system components. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SMG/PKHCB, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8522-09-D-0006, P00002).

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $14, 488,466 contract which will provide for the stand-up of a new command center for executing U.S. Cyber Command initiatives while continuing to execute its mission essential tasks for a robust, secure global information grid under the President's National Cyber Initiative. At this time, $297,619 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Axsys Technologies, Nashua, N.H., was awarded a $5,999,000 contract which will provide for seven high definition spot camera systems in support of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Angel Fire program. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 88 CONS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8601-10-C-0031).

Enterprise Crew Aboard, Preparing for Upcoming Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Blair, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Public Affairs

April 12, 2010 - NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- For the first time in two years, the crew of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) was aboard the aircraft carrier as the ship began a six-day fast cruise in the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard April 11, marking the completion of an extended maintenance availability.

Enterprise's fast cruise is designed to shake rust off the Sailors - and the ship - as both operate as if they were underway for the week.

The aircraft carrier is currently conducting the fast cruise exercise in preparation for sea trials scheduled later in April 2010.

"It has been a long time coming," said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AW/SW) Eric Young, Enterprise's Air Department leading chief petty officer. "However, I already know what to expect. I am much more excited for my Sailors and their first experience of the real Navy, as opposed to what we've been doing for the last couple of years."

That sentiment was shared by many Enterprise Sailors, most of whom have had to walk more than one mile to the ship each morning through the sprawling shipyard complex. Many of the newer Sailors, having never been underway, are more anxious as they approach their first taste of life at sea.

"It will be tough not seeing my family and friends as much," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Deanna Bonner. "It's worth it knowing that I'm leaving behind a few to go out to sea and protect millions."

Much will be expected of Enterprise Sailors as they begin the fast cruise. Drills, such as man overboard, medical emergency and general quarters are routine, and on top of these training evolutions, Sailors have to balance meals, sleep, physical training and, if possible, free time.

"Honestly, I wasn't very excited about it at first," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Kristin Knaeble. "However, fast cruise will give me plenty of time to focus on training and warfare qualifications, which will make me a much more effective Sailor."

MSRON 7 Holds Kids Monster Mash on Guam

By James Fee, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 7 hosted a Kids Monster Mash aboard U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) April 10.

The event, coordinated by MSRON 7 and its Family Readiness Group (FRG), allowed children whose parents are assigned to the command to get a perspective of the Sailors' responsibilities, skills and requirements to maintain mission readiness.

The Kids Monster Mash was similar to the competition MSRON 7 holds quarterly to challenge Sailors physically and mentally and keep them mission ready. The children's event featured eight different exercises: a relay race, tire pull, battle dress stations, push-ups, sit-ups, a soft-pellet air rifle shoot, water balloon grenade toss and a mud pit trench crawl.

Valerie Rose, the command's FRG chairwoman, said it was a "good time to bring the families together" in light of April 2010 being recognized by the DoD as the Month of the Military Child.

"We all cannot function without each other," said Rose. "We all need the support of one another to make it work."

Cmdr. Bryon Johnson, MSRON 7 commanding officer, brought his son to the event, and said by showing children what Sailors do, families understand how they are part of a community.

"Because they feel part of a team, they'll understand when mom or dad has to depart for mission support some place, to go do their part for the team," said Johnson.

He added that one of the main objectives of the event was to motivate the young participants to lead active lives.

"The goal here is not to figure out how many push-ups and sit-ups someone can physically do," said Johnson. "It's to try and inspire them to believe in a healthy lifestyle."

Children were divided into two teams with volunteers from Guam High School's Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) leading each team.

"To see everyone's facial expressions, they're so happy," said Krista Dipierro, a NJROTC volunteer. "It's nice to share that happiness."

Volunteers from MSRON 7 and the NBG security department helped run the exercises. According to Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Meredith Love, of the NBG security department, participating in events such as this is enjoyable.

"We get to get dirty with the kids and it's fun," said Love.

MSRON 7, which was commissioned in May 2004, provides rapidly deployable forces to conduct or support anti-terrorism and force protection missions. It promotes the Maritime Strategy by providing security for American citizens through the application of sea power and by strengthening partnerships with allied nations.

Interacting with the International Community

By Maj. Gen. Simeon Trombitas

Trombitas is serving in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as the deputy commander of Joint Task Force-Haiti. He is also the commander of United States Army South in San Antonio, Texas.

April 12, 2010 - Personally, I have witnessed firsthand how the international community has pulled together and combined their efforts to assist the people of Haiti. In an unprecedented global outreach of aid since Jan. 12, a myriad of international governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and military servicemen and women from around the world converged on Port-au-Prince in their efforts to assist the Government of Haiti. The coordination and collaboration among all involved has been historical from a military perspective.

While each group brings their own expertise and specialization to the table, all of the groups have applied their principles and lessons learned from previous experiences to interact effectively within a community dedicated to assistance. Prior to the devastating earthquake, Haiti was receiving aid from hundreds of organizations that were focused primarily on their own mission with little coordination amongst themselves. However, the earthquake changed this into a unity of effort committed to saving lives and mitigating suffering. It’s been very impressive, to say the least.

From the United Nation forces continuing their long and dedicated security mission for Haiti to all the troops sent here from the global military community, the mission here has allowed everyone to partner operations and countless objectives together.

Now, as we approach the rainy season, the coordination and collaboration will be vital in order to mitigate the negative effects of weather on the Internally Displaced Person camps in and around Port-au-Prince. In support of Haiti’s Safer Shelter Strategy, we continue working together to move displaced persons to safer locations and establish mitigating measures within at-risk camps.

Looking at the long road to recovery and the future of Haiti, the continued collaboration among these groups will continue to ensure the best practices and efforts are maximized.

While Joint Task Force-Haiti adjusts its forces over the coming month, our commitment to Haiti will endure through traditional Theater Security Cooperation exercises that will focus on reconstruction, humanitarian assistance and medical aid. The lessons we’ve learned in Haiti and the cooperative efforts we shared will allow us to continue to provide the quality support and partnership required for the long-term reconstruction of this Caribbean nation.

Hope For a Better Tomorrow

By Lt. Gen. Ken Keen
U.S. Army, Commander, Joint Task Force – Haiti

April 12, 2010 - “Today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today. “ I regularly used these words when asked by the media, “General, how are things going in Haiti?” This was in the days and weeks after the catastrophic earthquake hit this island nation. At the time, it was all the optimism I could muster when faced with a cataclysmic level of destruction coupled with the enormous challenge of saving lives and mitigating suffering. But today, though the statement still applies, I find myself using it less…because I have seen and experienced so much progress since those early dark hours.

Three months have passed since the disaster. As I reflect back on my time here, I am amazed to see the progress that has occurred. But at the same time, I realize that the Government of Haiti and its people still face many challenges.

The light of the world must continue to shine on Haiti.

The international community must remain committed to helping Haiti rise up to build “a new Haiti”, as Haiti’s President Rene Preval has called for. What will the future hold for this Caribbean nation? It will take a collaborative effort. It will take extraordinary leadership from Haitians at every level. It will require the international community, public and private organizations and corporations willing to help Haiti rise up from the rubble.

Haiti’s recovery involves more than just the reconstruction of buildings and the repair of infrastructure; it’s about a commitment to invest in the people of Haiti. Over the past three months, I have travelled to places like Gonaives, Leogane, Jeremie, and Les Cayes. I have met with community leaders, mayors, educators, doctors and hundreds of Haitians from all walks of life who were affected by the earthquake. They all want one thing: a better Haiti. They are tired of the past, tired of struggling to get by. They want to build schools and hospitals. They want jobs so that they can provide for their families. They want to contribute to their nation and they want to make Haiti better.

I am reminded of Father Jean St. Cyr who I first met on January 15 on the slope of the 9-hole golf course at the Petionville Country Club that was transformed into a gathering place for those who lost their homes in the surrounding neighborhood. He had lost everything, but he continued to care for the people – getting medical assistance for the injured, coordinating for food, water and wondering how they would ever survive. Today, he is the acknowledged community leader for more than 50,000 Haitians living in the largest internally displaced person’s camp in Port-au-Prince.

Father Jean St. Cyr is the new generation of Haitian leaders who stepped forward, out of the aftermath of the earthquake, to lead a community left homeless. He represents the hope of Haiti. He has lifted me up by his example of personal courage, boundless energy and selflessness. In the face of adversity, he always had a smile and saw what was possible, not what was impossible.

Many Haitians realize that the catastrophe of January 12 holds opportunity, a glimpse of hope to rebuild Haiti better. When I look at the children’s faces, I see it. It’s in their eyes and smiles. It’s hope. They hope to one day go to school so they can become doctors, engineers and teachers. They have hope that their fathers will find work so that they can provide for their family. They have hope that one day they will live in a house instead of a camp. The children of Haiti have hope because they have not given up. And neither should we.

While the people of Haiti still have hope, we must not abandon them in their time of struggle. We must keep the light shining on them.

As I near the end of my time here in Haiti, I can’t help but look back to that January day when life seemed to stop. I saw death, suffering, pain, sadness and fear. I saw things that I will never forget. Today, I see courage, resiliency, and determination. I see it in the camps and in the markets. I see it in the faces of the vendors selling mangos. I see it in the artists who show off their paintings to passersby. And I see it in Haiti’s leaders, with whom I meet regularly. I see hope all around.

CNO Extends Condolences to Poland

April 12, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Navy, I extend our deepest condolences to our fellow Sailors in the Polish Navy for the loss of their Navy Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral Andrzej Karweta as well as their President and other national leaders in the tragic plane crash Saturday.

The Polish Navy is one of our Navy's closest allies. During his tenure as Navy Commander-in-Chief, Vice Adm. Karweta ensured that the Polish Navy served as leaders in NATO and set a standard of excellence in maritime operations throughout the Baltic Sea and beyond.

At the International Seapower Symposium this past October in Newport, Vice Adm. Karweta expressed strong support for expanding maritime cooperation among navies worldwide. He was an outstanding naval officer, a dedicated leader and a friend who will be greatly missed.

During this time of extraordinary grief in Poland, the U.S. Navy shares in the sadness and sympathy felt by all of Poland's friends at the loss of Vice Adm. Karweta and so many other gifted leaders. We ask the Sailors of the Polish Navy and the people of Poland to accept our sincerest condolences for your loss.

International Military HIV/AIDS Conference Opens in Tanzania

Danielle Skinner
U.S. Africa Command

April 12, 2010 - The International Military HIV/AIDS Conference opened April 12 in Arusha, Tanzania bringing together representatives from 60 multinational militaries, including nearly 40 African militaries, to share information and work together in developing a joint strategy for combating the pandemic.

The four-day conference, co-hosted by the Tanzania People's Defence Force and the U.S. Department of Defense, represents one of the most inclusive international military partnerships ever undertaken, according to DoD officials. Participating in the event is a diverse group of nearly 300 international military leaders, HIV/AIDS specialists, and representatives from the U.S. DoD, U.S. Africa Command, and multilateral and non-governmental organizations.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kekwete presented the keynote address, emphasizing the importance of developing regional, national and international strategies to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. "An epidemic of HIV/AIDS can be no less destructive than that of warfare itself by overwhelming health and social services, infecting high levels of human mobility and mortality, and by creating millions of orphans," Kekwete said. "HIV/AIDS can cause social and economic crisis of unprecedented proportion and threaten the greater stability of nations and societies."

Kekwete, a strong supporter of HIV/AIDS prevention and testing programs, launched a national campaign in 2007 for counseling and testing which he led from the front by publicly having himself tested. Nearly 4 million people followed his lead and received HIV/AIDS tests.

"We cannot and must not allow HIV/AIDS to debilitate our men and women in uniform," Kekwete said. U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt also compared the HIV/AIDS pandemic to warfare, focusing on the role of military leaders in promoting the health and wellbeing of his or her troops. "Many battles have been won by whichever leader was best able to keep his soldiers healthy and fit to fight. In many conflicts, more people die from disease than the weapons of the enemy," Lenhardt said. "The security of our nations depends in part on the ability of our military forces to protect citizens from harm. A military force weakened by disease cannot fulfill its proper role." Throughout the week, participants will share best practices in leadership, HIV prevention, treatment, strategic information, and will develop plans for improving HIV/AIDS surveillance and data use.

The conference addresses the growing global need for HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and treatment programs, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, which remains the region most heavily affected.

According to the 2009 joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organization (WHO) update on HIV/AIDS, the number of people living with HIV continues to increase. In 2008 there were 33.4 million people living with HIV worldwide, 20 percent higher than the number in 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 68 percent of all new HIV infections among adults and for 72 percent of the world's AIDS-related deaths.

With service members identified as among the highest-risk group for contracting HIV/AIDS, the implementation of awareness, prevention, and treatment programs within militaries is crucial.

General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, was unable to attend the conference, but commented on the importance of these programs to African militaries.

"The United States has made tremendous investments in increasing access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in Africa. Over two-thirds of all people living with HIV are in Africa, and the disease has significant implications for economic growth, stability, and human suffering," said Ward.

According to U.S. Africa Command health officials, many African nations have decreased their prevalence rates due in part to U.S. military health assistance programs.

"Our HIV programs with African militaries support and complement our military professionalization and capacity-building initiatives," Ward said. "A military that can effective address HIV/AIDS is a military that can more capably defend its borders, deploy to peacekeeping operations, and contribute to regional security and stability."

U.S. Africa Command supports African militaries in establishing HIV/AIDS prevention programs through its Partner Military HIV/AIDS Program (PMHAP), as part of the DoD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP). Together, these programs aim to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among military personnel in African nations. PMHAP, implemented through DHAPP, is a key agency of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Through PEPFAR and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, prevention programs have been established in 43 African nations. The first day's conference agenda focused largely on the important role of leadership in implementing HIV/AIDS programs. According to Major General Maurice Oyugi, Kenya Ministry of Defense, successful programs require strong leadership to coordinate the response to HIV/AIDS through education, testing and counseling. The role of commanders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, said Oyugi, is to protect their troops by serving as role models, implementing testing and offering counseling to all.

The conference, continuing through April 15, will include plenary talks, interactive discussion sessions, poster sessions, and planning workshops, where participants will learn methods to improve their nation's HIV/AIDS programs and increase their capacity to provide effective and sustainable programs.

DoD Working with International Militaries to Fight HIV/AIDS

By Ian Graham
Defense Media Activity

April 12, 2010 - The fight against AIDS and HIV is one of the most important health issues worldwide, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is doing its part to prevent the spread of the disease. Dr. Rick Shaffer, director of the DoD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP), said his organization works with the militaries from some 80 countries worldwide to help them train soldiers and doctors how to handle HIV infections and how to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.

DoD’s program is a portion of the larger President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program created in 2003 to help nations fight the disease. It’s the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease, ever.

The military primarily provides what Shaffer called “medical security cooperation” and policy development. This includes how to handle an infected soldier (in both medical and everyday situations), how to give HIV and AIDS-related training and counseling, and developing labs, medical capabilities and education programs, he explained.

DHAPP also works with the partner militaries to design HIV prevalence and risk surveys and collect, enter, and analyze the data. This research supports the militaries in determining the level of infection in their respective populations and provides a better picture of their clinical needs.

“The HIV-in-the-military epidemic is very new to many countries,” Shaffer said. “In the U.S., we’ve been working with it for nearly 30 years, but some places haven’t addressed it or felt the need to address it until very recently.”

Shaffer said the long-term goal of his organization is to eliminate future HIV infections and ensure that those who are infected remain a contributing member of the military.

At the upcoming 2010 International Military HIV/AIDS Conference, Shaffer and his colleagues from around the globe will share ideas and best practices in HIV awareness training and policy establishment.

“Militaries need to know they’re not alone in this battle,” he said. “They can feel isolated in their own countries, in some cases even from their own government, so we have to remind them that everybody’s fighting the same fight.”

Though the problem of HIV and AIDS is different in each country, the process of addressing the epidemic is universal, Shaffer said. The U.S. learned the importance of having policy in place long ago, so now they offer assistance and advice to other nations when it comes to analyzing their need and developing policies.

“We don’t suggest other militaries adopt our policies,” he explained. “We just give them the framework, the process to develop their own policy. We show them how they can identify their problem areas, how to solve the problems and help get a program in place with them.”

About the Author: Ian Graham works for the Defense Media Activity’s Emerging Media Directorate.