Military News

Thursday, April 22, 2010

VCNO Highlights Importance of Family Programs

By Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Daniel Baker

April 22, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) visited San Diego April 21 to get a closer look at the family readiness programs available to Sailors and their families.

During his visit, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, VCNO, met with Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) counselors, family members and active duty Sailor representatives.

"I like to call this the 'listen and learn tour,' where we are going to the different bases around the country and talking to the Fleet and Family Support Centers and those that run family readiness programs," said Greenert.

As Navy families continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of military life and Sailors answer the call of mission requirements, the Navy continues to evaluate and address family needs in order to sustain family readiness.

"There's more going on at the FFSCs than our Sailors realize, and that's probably our biggest challenge- getting that word out to the Sailors, to their spouses, to their families of what kind of support exists at the FFSCs," Greenert added. During a round table discussion with FFSC counselors, family members, and active duty Sailor representatives Greenert discussed family readiness and highlighted some of the various programs and options available to Sailors and their families.

"Among our family readiness programs, Child Development Centers are the number one asset for many of our families, especially those with two working spouses," said Greenert. "Those centers that we have are among the very best."

Many family members of Sailors may not realize the types of services and programs available to them, especially those living in areas far away from military installations. There are more than 30 direct family support services and quality of life programs and benefits that are available to military families.

According to Mary Kirby, Program Operations Manager at FFSC Naval Base San Diego, "We are seeing the military service member and their family from before they join the Navy, through their entire career, and until they retire; and all of their benefits and resources are available to their family at every step of the way."

The family readiness assistance programs, benefits and services currently available to Navy families include child care, legal counseling, moving assistance and quality health care. The Navy is taking additional steps in 2010 to expand its programs and services.

Red Cross Volunteers Recognized at NHB

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

April 22, 2010 - BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The American Red Cross volunteers at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) were thanked for their many contributions as vital and viable members of the command with a recognition ceremony April 21.

"Red Cross volunteers are critical to operations, great mentors and part of our Naval Hospital Bremerton family," said Capt. Mark E. Brouker, NHB's commanding officer. "They bring tradition, heritage and incredible skills. On behalf of all the patients they touch, and our staff they help to mentor, I thank them all for their support. They are all very special and such an important part of our team."

NHB currently has approximately 45 American Red Cross volunteers. They have donated an average of 818 hours of valuable time, expertise and effort per month for the first quarter of 2010 in numerous clinics, departments and offices.

"Naval Hospital Bremerton is a very nice place to work. My husband was in the Navy, and they have always taken very good care of us. The least I can do is return the favor," said Barbara Aydt, who has been a Red Cross volunteer at NHB for almost 18 years.

"It is also National Volunteer Week, so it is appropriate to recognize our Red Cross staff, who all have some type of professional past that they bring to the job," stated Terry Roberts, director of NHB Healthcare Business. "They assist in well over 28 departments, and all those that they work with say they could not accomplish what they do without their help."

The volunteers contribute time as doctors, nurses, outpatient and inpatient record assistants, patient advisors, customer service representatives and have handled duties in such areas as health promotion, dermatology, mental health, pediatric, orthopedic, obstetrics, gynecology, labor/delivery, ophthalmology, urology, dental, ambulatory procedure, pharmacy, laboratory, quality management, professional affairs, patient services, physical therapy, fitness center, staff education and training, emergency room, family medicine, internal medicine, family centered care and referral management.

"I am very fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers. I definitely could not function without them," exclaimed Joyce Berry, American Red Cross chairperson, noting that many volunteers go above and beyond to provide needed hours. "We appreciate everyone for their effort."

"Red Cross volunteers at Naval Hospital Bremerton are noted for their longevity," said Janet Heath, American Red Cross West sound service area manager. "Joyce is also bringing new people in to volunteer to help keep the program going. Everyone is appreciated."

Such appreciation is apparent with Magda Krall, who has volunteered for 13 years, worked in several areas and now holds down the director's office during her time at NHB. She does this in addition to working as a linguist teacher at Olympic Community College.

"I originally started after my husband passed away and I continue because I like to assist others and know that I can help those in need," said Krall. "Plus, this is such a great setting!"

Naval Officer Running From Sea to Shining Sea

From Naval Education and Training Command

April 22, 2010 - VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (NNS) -- A Navy intelligence officer and ultra marathoner is planning to attain a personal goal and run across the entire United States, beginning April 23. The transcontinental trek is estimated to take 45 days.

Lt. Geoff Weber will begin his cross-country run at Santa Monica Pier in California, attempting to break the record for fastest time from Los Angeles to New York on foot. The current record, 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes, was set by Frank Giannino back in 1980. A total of 220 runners are on record as completing the event.

While the shortest distance between the two coasts, 2340 miles, is from San Diego to Jacksonville, Fla., Weber has chosen to go the "granddaddy of transcontinental runs," the slightly longer 2800-mile Los Angeles to New York trail.

"I'll admit that it's a daunting run when you look at it as a whole," said Weber. "But if you break it down and think about it as individual segments, it's a little more manageable."

Weber, 42, is currently stationed at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (NMITC) in Virginia Beach, Va. As an accomplished ultra marathoner – runs of more than 100 miles – he is no stranger to high-endurance competitions. In addition to his other accomplishments, Weber twice held the Guinness World's Record for the fastest 50 kilometers on a treadmill, the first one completed onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and a 24-hour treadmill run at a sports convention in Las Vegas.

Weber calculates he's participated in more than one thousand runs and other athletic events in his career, and this shapes up to be the most challenging.

"I made the final decision to tackle what many consider the ultimate run after completing the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. in October 2006," said Weber. "Right after the marathon, I ran back home to Virginia Beach, across the state of Virginia, a distance of 209 miles, logging approximately 55 miles per day for three days. I felt pretty good after four days of running, and that planted the seed that I might actually be able to complete a run across the United States."

It took almost four years for Weber to work out the logistics for the transcontinental run, including negotiating with his boss for 50 days of continuous leave.

"My commanding officer at NMITC, Capt. Donald Darnell, allowed me to take such a large chunk of leave as part of my transition to a new duty station," said Weber. "Without my command's support, this would not have been possible."

"I'd never granted more than 30 days of continuous leave before, so Weber's request was a little unusual," said Darnell, "But his plan was well laid-out and he's got an impressive history of endurance events, so we are glad to support his efforts. The staff and students at the Center for Naval Intelligence and NMITC will be closely following his GPS track and progress during the run."

Most transcontinental runners have used some form of chase vehicle or personal strollers to carry their support equipment during their trek. Weber will be running without either of those. Aside from the clothes on his back, he plans to complete his run sustained by a 9,000 calorie per day diet, wearing just nine pounds of gear: an 80-ounce Camelback for water, a cell phone, a handheld GPS, a credit card, and the harness that supports the Camelback.

"I intend to live off the American roadside terrain," said Weber. "This includes fast-food restaurants, public restrooms, post offices and sleeping at motels along the route. I'll have a few packages with consumables sent in advance to scheduled stops, including toiletries, detergent, and new shoes."

Weber has previewed much of his route using the street-view feature of Google Earth, noting the locations of motels and fast-food restaurants along the way. He'll need to average 62 miles per day, with some days only 40 miles and others 80 miles because of lodging restrictions and running without a chase crew.

While there will be no crew physically following him closely behind, Weber will have a distant support group sustaining him with logistics. Choosing to complete the bulk of the run in the early morning hours, he will be getting a 3 a.m. wake-up call each day from a member of his church group, hit the road and run approximately eight to 16 hours each day, pausing only for breaks as needed.

Weber trained for this run on his daily commute to and from work, driving into work on Mondays, running to and from work during the week, and driving back home on Fridays, logging 28 miles per day during the week. On weekends, he tries to squeeze in two 20-milers on Saturday and two more on Sunday.

After dipping a foot in the Pacific Ocean at 6 a.m. Friday, April 23, Weber will begin his run. If all goes as planned, four million steps and 45 days, 16 hours later on Monday, June 7, he will set that same, slightly tired foot in the Atlantic Ocean, setting a new world's record and more importantly, achieving his dream of being the 221st runner to cross the U.S.

Navy Wins One in Armed Forces Boxing Prelims

By Teri Reid, Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs Officer

PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- The Navy won one and lost two during the second night of the Armed Forces Boxing Championships at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) in Port Hueneme, Calif., April 21.

More than 300 people watched as Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony Padilla of Naval Hospital Oak Park defeated Air Force Senior Airman Jose Gonzales of Elmendorf Air Force Base in the 152-pound welterweight class.

Hospitalman Brandon Wicker, of Camp Lejeune, was defeated by Army Spc. Jeffrey Spencer, Fort Carson, Colo., in the 178-pound light/heavyweight class.

Here are the results of the other two April 21 night bouts:

- Army Spc. Samuel Vasquez defeated Marine Corps Cpl. Angel Garcia in the 152-pound weight class.

- Civilian Spencer Scott of University of Southern California defeated Leonel Rodriguez of the U.S. Air Force in the 178-pound weight class.

Eight Navy boxers are competing against boxing teams from the Marines, Army and Air Force in the championships. The individual winners of these championships will comprise the U.S. Boxing Team and will compete in the World Military Boxing Championships Oct. 8-17 at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The finals will be held April 23 at the NBVC Port Hueneme Warfield Gym.

The Armed Forces Championships are conducted under the auspices of the Armed Forces Sports Council, which is responsible to the senior military advisor for all matters pertaining to the organization and administration of armed forces participation in national and international sports competitions. The purpose of this program is to promote understanding, goodwill and competition among the armed services through inter-service sports competition and to provide the means of selecting teams and individuals to represent the armed services in national and international competition.

Air Force officials launch Combat Airman initiative

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

4/22/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Properly outfitted and equipped Airmen are essential to mission success, according to Air Force logistics officials who recently unveiled a new program focused on what Airmen wear and carry during training, at home station or deployed.

Air Force officials hosted an initial planning conference in March to implement the Combat Airman initiative, an Air Force-wide program that centralizes Airman clothing and equipment.

The initiative improves the capabilities provided to Airmen, improves Airman protection and safety and enables a more efficient and effective response to Airmen's requirements.

"There's no better way to care for Airmen than to ensure we get them the right equipment, the right clothing and the right tools to perform their missions," said Col. Steven Morani, the Air Force Directorate of Logistics materiel support division chief.

"The Combat Airman (initiative) is all about taking care of Airmen and providing them with the right complement of equipment, certified by Air Force officials and readily available when they need it," Colonel Morani said.

It takes the guesswork out of what Airmen will need by integrating requirements across the Air Force and making those items available to help them perform their duties.

The colonel said Air Force officials are taking the lessons from sister services and other Air Force functional communities that have figured out how to accomplish this.

"Outfitting Airmen through the traditional supply sources available to units hadn't been responsive to the demands of nine years of contingency operations," Colonel Morani said. "This has forced units and functional communities to equip Airmen just in time and often in a nonstandard approach. We've always gotten the job done, but the way forward is for Combat Airman to do much of the acquisition and procurement work associated with equipping Airmen."

The materiel needed to ensure Airmen are properly equipped to perform their duties in an expeditionary environment has increased significantly," Colonel Morani said. "The variety of operating environments and the fast-pace of technological advances demand that we actively seek out the best available gear on par with the developments our sister services are making."

The first step necessary to accomplish this is to get the requirements correct, Colonel Morani said.

"We need to know what our Airmen need, but also what is no longer needed," the colonel said. "Once we solve the requirements determination piece, the rest is forecasting and determining the best place and time to issue that equipment to Airmen."

Through a centralized requirements process, the procurement and sustainment activities can respond and apply the necessary life-cycle support required to manage, sustain and ensure item compatibility with the rest of an Airman's gear. Accomplishing this will improve chances of successfully programming and resourcing future equipment needs, the colonel said.

The program is scheduled to be operational June 2011.

Pentagon officials join Air Force bases for '40 trees in 40 communities' tree planting

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

4/22/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- In honor of Earth's Day's 40th anniversary, Pentagon officials kicked off "40 Trees in 40 Communities," joining 39 current and former Air Force bases across the nation in tree planting ceremonies symbolizing the service's commitment to environmental protection.

Among event spectators was Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton and delivering remarks were Debra Tune, thr principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Gillen, the force health protection policy director.

"Trees are being planted from Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii to the former Loring AFB in Maine," Mrs. Tune said. "We usually associate the Air Force with passion for flying, visualizing the grace and speed of aircraft streaking through the clouds as we accomplish our mission, but the Air Force has shown equal passion for protecting our environment."

Office of the Secretary of the Defense officials announced the Air Force won four of nine environmental awards in natural resource conservation, environmental restoration and environmental excellence in weapon system acquisition.

She also noted the Air Force's commitment to reducing reliance on foreign oil by lowering demand, increasing supply and changing the energy culture and mindset of Airmen.

As such, Environment Protection Agency officials continues to recognize the Air Force for being the largest purchaser of "green" energy in the federal government, reducing the impact of the service's electricity consumption.

In addition to electricity conservation, the Air Force recently marked the historic first flight of an A-10 Thunderbolt II fueled by a 50/50 blend of alternative fuel and JP-8 at Eglin AFB, Fla.

Mrs. Tune also said Air Force officials continue to take care of its Airmen by providing enhanced green space and recreational areas for families who live on installations.

During the Pentagon ceremony, attendees planted a Valley Forge American elm, a historically significant species to the building's center courtyard.

"Trees are the largest and longest living organisms on earth," Colonel Gillen said. "Some of the trees planted in our "40 Trees in 40 Communities" initiative may live into the next century, seeing several decades of Earth Days to come."

Simple commitments such as planting a tree can advance the Air Force's culture to take environmental stewardship action today for a greener generation tomorrow, he said.

Enterprise Departs for Independent Steaming Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Meredith, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Public Affairs

April 22, 2010 - USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) departed for an independent steaming exercise April 22 after a two-year maintenance availability in Norfolk.

Independent steaming means that the ship independently executes a training schedule without tasking from higher authority.

During this underway period, the crew will be conducting ship-based training and drills daily. Some of those drills will include general quarters, flight deck drills, engine testing and man overboard.

The man overboard drills will allow the crew to test the capabilities of the man overboard indicator (MOBI) global positioning system (GPS). The MOBI GPS unit is used to locate the person in the water. The unit is activated the moment it hits water and sends a signal of its location to the bridge.

"This at-sea period allows us to focus our attention on helping the crew gain proficiency," said Lt. j.g. Troy E. Loyd, the strike operations administration officer. "It's a chance to get the ship out and get training."

A major event taking place during the at-sea period is a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) which, although a common task for any ship, hasn't been conducted in a long time aboard Enterprise.

"This replenishment-at-sea involves taking on the jet fuel required to prepare for the upcoming flight deck certification," said Lt. Kevin C. Settle, the ship's assistant strike operations officer. "This crew has not performed a RAS in more than two years, and so this will be a crucial time for the crew to build up their proficiency at replenishments as well as allow time for the crew to prepare for future underway tasks."

Enterprise is embarked on an independent steaming exercise prior to beginning flight deck certification and its work-up phase leading to its upcoming deployment.

Adaptive Sports Give Wounded Warriors Confidence


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2010 - At next month's inaugural Warrior Games, retired Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tim Lang plans to showcase more than his shooting skills and athletic ability on the wheelchair basketball court. Lang said he also wants to show other disabled veterans -- and the nation, for that matter -- the importance of keeping a good, positive attitude, finding things to enjoy and moving on with your life.

The 24-year-old native of Ann Arbor, Mich., said those with physical disabilities can be their own worst enemies. The sooner they can accept their disabilities, he said, the sooner they can realize their potential.

"It's easy to get down on yourself," said Lang, who lost a portion of his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006. "Bad things have happened, but you have to get over that and learn that you're capable of doing anything you want -- just maybe in a different way."

Lang is one of some 200 wounded active-duty members and military veterans selected to represent the disabled veteran community at the Warrior Games May 10-14 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The games will feature Paralympic-style competition for some of the most athletic and optimistic disabled veterans the services have to offer. Events will include shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

"The Warrior Games are going to help build confidence for us competitors," Lang said an interview with American Forces Press Service after a recent wheelchair basketball practice here. "I think it will also impact disabled veterans who aren't competing by giving them something to work for and by showing them what they could be capable of.

"The games will give those who aren't participating something to work towards," he added. "If these games take off and are a big hit, there could be programs developed that could include the masses, influencing less-motivated wounded veterans to take part."

But coming to grips with a physical disability can be a daunting challenge, he acknowledged, noting that for many combat-wounded veterans, confronting the mental aspect of recovery is the biggest challenge of all.

Just as it has been for many other injured servicemembers, Lang's recovery was a long, difficult road, he said. He spent nearly two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before moving back to his hometown to continue rehabilitation for about a year. He recently returned to Walter Reed for a special surgery.

The year in Michigan was one of the hardest of his life, Lang said. After taking advantage of the care and adaptive sports programs at Walter Reed, Lang said he became idle and somewhat depressed at home.

"It was bad when I was home for that year," he said. "Being here spoils you, because they take such good care of us. I'm so excited that I'm here, because I get to take advantage of the prosthetics and therapy and the programs."

The twice-weekly wheelchair basketball practices are his favorite, Lang said. "I love and look so forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays here," he added.

Sports and athletics have been a large part of Lang's life, he said. He played quarterback on his high school football team. He also became the go-to guy on the Marine Corps wheelchair basketball team participating in the Warrior Games, as one of the faster players and more-consistent shooters on the squad, he said.

"My strong suit has always been athletics and I think the Warrior Games are going to be amazing," Lang said. "I'm an athlete. I love playing sports. Whether I'm good at a particular sport, or not, I still consider myself an athlete, because sports are what I've always loved to do."

Lang also is set to compete in archery and marksman events at the games.

Through adaptive sports, Lang and others found a second chance at life. Lang said he is proof that adaptive sports have the power to reconnect wounded veterans with their roots as servicemembers, restoring the confidence and passion many thought was lost when they were injured on the battlefield.

"I think one of the most-significant injuries that occur when anybody is injured is to your self-image and confidence," he said. "That's what makes it so hard to come to terms with your injuries.

"But games like [the Warrior Games] are going to give everybody a chance to compete on an even level. That's going to be a great confidence builder. With the confidence you gain through adaptive sports, not everyone, but a lot of guys when they leave the hospital, will carry that mood into the rest of their lives."

U.S. Airman MIA from WWII is Identified

April 22, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Walter A. McClellan will be buried Friday in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla.

On April 17, 1945, McClellan's B-17 Flying Fortress was struck by enemy fighters while on a bombing run against a rail depot in Dresden, Germany. Following the war, U.S. teams attempted to locate the remains of the crew but because the area was under Soviet control, no further searches could be conducted. The U.S. Army was forced to declare the remains of the "Towering Titan's" crew to be non-recoverable.

Two reports from German citizens in 1956 and 2007 indicated that the remains of a 19-year-old were buried as an "unknown" in a local church cemetery in Burkhardswalde. Church records revealed that the grave held the remains of a young American flyer who had parachuted from his aircraft over the town of Biensdorf, was captured and killed by German SS forces near Burkhardswalde. He was first buried in the town's sports field, but exhumed by the townspeople after the war and reburied in the church cemetery.

In September 2008, a recovery team of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command exhumed the grave in Burkhardswalde and recovered human remains and other artifacts, including a silver Army Air Forces identification bracelet bearing the emblem of a qualified aerial gunner. The biological profile of the remains and McClellan's dental records enabled JPAC scientists to establish the identification.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 22, 2010

ARMY

American Science and Engineering, Inc., Billerica, Mass., was awarded on April 20 a $48,818,439 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is to procure up to 37 backscatter van military trailer scanner systems for entry control points in Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Billerica, Mass., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 17, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Research, Development & Engineering Command, Natick Contracting Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (W911QY-10-C-0078).

M&H Enterprises, Inc., dba Martin-Harris Construction, Las Vegas, Nev., was awarded on April 20 a $41,573,312 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of the Lackland Airman Training Center Dormitory #2. Work is to be performed in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 16 bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0021).

Sumo-Nan, LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, was awarded on April 20 a $23,250,196 firm-fixed-price contract to construct low observable composite repair facility, including required shops, and supporting infrastructure and site work. Work is to be performed in Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. Ninety-two bids were solicited with seven bids received. National Guard Bureau, United States Property & Fiscal Office for Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (W912J6-10-C-0001)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Poway, Calif., was awarded on April 20 a $17,046,878 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. This definitize letter contract is in support of the extended range/multi-purpose system production readiness test asset contract. Work is to be performed in Poway, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0151).

URS/Lear Siegler Services, Germantown, Md., was awarded on April 20 a $10,701,270 firm-fixed-price contract for the maintenance and logistical services at Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, Calif. Work is to be performed in Herlong, Calif., with an estimated completion date of March 20, 2013. Fifteen bids were solicited with seven bids received. U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W911SE-07-D-0008).

Elbit Systems of America, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded on April 20 an $8,888,960 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract, entitled "FIRECON," includes all development, procurement, fielding, and related sustainment activities for the mortar fire control systems mounted M95 gun and M96 fire direction center variants; lightweight handheld mortar ballistic computer M32; and any future variants, derivatives, and replacements of the above systems during the fiscal 2009-2014 timeframe. Work is to be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, with an estimated completion date of April 20, 2014. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S Army Contracting Command, CCJM-CA, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting command (W15QKN-09-D-0009).

NAVY

Insight Technology, Inc., Londonderry, N.H., is being awarded a $48,750,000 firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the advanced infrared target pointer/illuminator/aiming laser (ATPIAL). The ATPIAL provides a laser pointer and illuminator capability which is used by the Special Operations Peculiar Modifications program. Work will be performed in Londonderry, N.H., and is expected to be completed by April 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $312,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JN19).

Sensor and Antenna Systems, Lansdale, Inc., Lansdale, Pa., is being awarded a $45,961,448 firm-fixed-price contract for the manufacture and delivery of 60 full rate production III (FRP III) AN/ALQ-99 low band transmitters for the EA-6B and EA-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in Lansdale, Pa., and is expected to be completed in September 2012. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; one offer was received. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity (N00019-10-C-0047).

AECOM Services, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a maximum amount $15,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for architect-engineering services for preparation of Navy and Marine Corps facilities planning and environmental documentation in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility. The work to be performed provides for documentation; plans; specifications; preparation of requests for proposals for design/build projects; cost estimates; related studies; surveying; soil borings; hazardous material identification; energy computation; life safety code studies; interior space planning/design; other associated engineering services; shop drawing review; as-built drawing preparation; operation and maintenance support information; sustainable engineering design practices; and construction inspection and engineering consultation services during construction. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities within the NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic AOR including, but not limited to: Norfolk, Va. (60 percent), Jacksonville, N.C. (20 percent), and Havelock, N.C. (20 percent). Work is expected to be completed by April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with 46 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-D-5302).

A&D GC, Inc.*, Santee, Calif., is being awarded $9,940,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-09-D-1658) for design and construction of a Navy operational support center at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Ariz. The new multi-story structure is intended for use by 800 Navy members. The task order also contains one planned modification which, if issued, would increase the task order value to $10,740,000. Work will be performed in Phoenix, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eight proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

InfoTech Solutions for Business, Inc., New York, N.Y., is being awarded a $6,257,571 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, performance-based contract for systems engineering, and technical and management support for Secure Discovery, the integration of advanced security technologies with Service Discovery capabilities. Secure Discovery integrates web services standards for security into the native interfaces and specifications to protect discovery web services, graphical user interfaces, and data elements. This support encompasses engineering support, software development, documentation, recommendations, and testing and evaluation. Work will be performed in Minot, N.D. (80 percent), Charleston, S.C. (10 percent), and New York, N.Y. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Space and Naval Warfare System Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-10-D-3816).

Navy Wins in Armed Forces Boxing Preliminaries

By Teri Reid, Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs

April 22, 2010 - PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- Two Navy boxers won their bouts fighting on the first night of the Armed Forces Boxing Championships at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) in Port Hueneme, Calif., April 20.

Boatswain's Mate Seaman Justin Diaz defeated Air Force Senior Airman Matthew McCoy in the 141-pound weight class.

Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Tyron Hunter defeated Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Smith in the 201-pound weight class.

Nearly 250 people attended the fights, which were preceded by opening ceremonies in which Capt. Antonio Edmonds, chief staff officer of NBVC, welcomed the other military branches to the Navy base.

Eight Navy boxers are competing in the championships. The winners of these championships will comprise the U.S. Boxing Team and will compete in the World Military Boxing championships Oct. 8-17 at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

In the night's other three fights:

- Army Sgt. Alexis Ramos defeated Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Timothy Nelams in the 123-pound weight class. - Marine Corps Cpl. Jamel Herring defeated Army Spc. Dustin Lara in the 141-pound weight class.

- Marine Corps Cpl. Damarias Russell defeated Army Sgt. Matthew Fischer in the 165-pound weight class.

Diaz, of Miami, is stationed aboard USS Pinckney (DDG-91). As the Navy team captain this year, he brought home a gold medal from the 2009 Armed Forces Boxing Championships in Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

Hunter, of Houston, is stationed with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22 at Naval Air Station Lemoore.

The championships continued April 20 with the second round of preliminary bouts. Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony Padilla of Naval Hospital Oak Park competed against Air Force Senior Airman Jose Gonzales of Elmendorf Air Force Base in the 152-pound welterweight class. Hospitalman Brandon Wicker of Camp Lejeune fought against Army Spc. Jeffrey Spencer, from Fort Carson, Colo., in the 178-pound light/heavyweight class.

The finals will be held April 23 at the NBVC Port Hueneme Warfield Gym.

The Armed Forces Championships are conducted under the auspices of the Armed Forces Sports Council, which is responsible to the senior military advisor for all matters pertaining to the organization and administration of armed forces participation in national and international sports competitions. The purpose of this program is to promote understanding, goodwill and competition among the armed services through inter-service sports competition and to provide the means of selecting teams and individuals to represent the armed services in national and international competition.

Flag Officer Announcements

April 22, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nominations:

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Garry J. Bonelli has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Bonelli is currently serving as deputy commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, San Diego, Calif.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Donald R. Gintzig has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Gintzig is currently serving as deputy commander, Navy Medicine West/deputy commander, force integration, San Diego, Calif.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Lothrop S. Little has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Little is currently serving as commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Scott E. Sanders has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Sanders is currently serving as deputy commander, Second Fleet, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Steven M. Talson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Talson is currently serving as deputy judge advocate general for Reserve affairs and operations/deputy commander, Naval Legal Service Command, Washington, D.C.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Scott A. Weikert has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Weikert is currently serving as deputy commander, First Naval Construction Division, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Patricia E. Wolfe has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Wolfe is currently serving as commander, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, Williamsburg, Va.

Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Robert O. Wray Jr. has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Wray is currently serving as deputy commander, Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C.

Official Urges Gulf War Vets to Seek VA Care

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2010 - Gulf War veterans with medical symptoms should seek treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs in light of a recent study that says Gulf War service is a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder, a senior Military Health System official said yesterday.

In an interview, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, director of strategic communications for the Military Health System, said that if Gulf War veterans seek care through VA, rather than private doctors, researchers can continue to track their data and search for causes of their symptoms.

Congress has ordered that Gulf War veterans still qualify for high-priority care through the VA, and Kilpatrick urged them to use it.

"For Gulf War veterans who think they may have symptoms and they are undiagnosed, we still encourage them to seek care," he said.

The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine found in its most recent study on the health effects of the Gulf War, released April 9, that military service in the war is a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in some veterans and also is associated with multiple other medical symptoms.

The VA-funded study said researchers found sufficient evidence that service in the Gulf caused PTSD. The study did not find a cause-and-effect relationship between a host of other illnesses found in the veterans, but acknowledged sufficient evidence of an association between their service and other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and substance abuse and gastrointestinal problems.

The study found "limited evidence" of an association between Gulf service and ALS -- a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- as well as a widespread pain condition called fibromyalgia and sexual difficulties.

The study found insufficient evidence to link Gulf service to any cancers, blood diseases, respiratory illness, multiple sclerosis, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. The study found no evidence of a link between Gulf War service and peripheral neuropathy and decreased lung function and heart disease deaths in the first 10 years after the war.

Kilpatrick said the findings do not change the Military Health System's approach to treating the symptoms of Gulf War veterans without knowing the causes.

"From the [Defense Department] standpoint, we've always believed that Gulf War veterans' symptoms were real," Kilpatrick said. "Not knowing the cause didn't make them not real. They are deserving of treatment for their symptoms and, medically, we frequently treat symptoms without knowing the reason for the symptoms."

Many factors complicate knowing the cause of the veterans' symptoms, which may never be determined, Kilpatrick said, echoing the comments of Institute of Medicine officials.

The United States sent nearly 700,000 servicemembers to the Persian Gulf between August 1990 and July 1991. Of those, 147 were killed in combat and 233 died from noncombat causes. More than 250,000 "suffer from persistent, unexplained symptoms," the institute said in its release of the report.

Kilpatrick noted other factors that complicated research. Combat operations lasted only 100 days, and many Gulf War veterans left service before their symptoms appeared. Also, little was known about PTSD in the early 1990s, there were no pre- or post-deployment health exams, and no electronic records.

"There are a lot of nuances that are hard for people to understand," he said. "Our biggest difficulty when we're looking at 700,000 people is to say, 'What is the cause?' Was it the deployment, the combat, or something not related to their combat life?

"We're working hard today, starting with new recruits, to understand that."

Kilpatrick called the institute's research methods "the gold standard," and said the department strongly supports its suggestion for more study of what has become known as Gulf War Illness.

"We continue to focus on the health of Gulf War veterans and we owe a lot to them today for their self protection and readiness to protect today's forces," he said. "The health of individuals as they deploy is extremely important to us and we want to know that they are as healthy when they come home as when they left."

The military continues to learn from the health experiences of Gulf War veterans and then apply that knowledge to today's troops, Kilpatrick added.

"There are many medical lessons learned from the Gulf War," Kilpatrick said. "We've learned a lot about deployment and its effect on individuals."

Air Mobility Command Adapts to Volcanic Ash Plume

By Christen N. McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

April 22, 2010 - The Air Force's Air Mobility Command has been able to continue providing airlift capabilities despite the cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano that has troubled air travel, a senior officer responsible for moving military personnel and equipment around the world said yesterday. "As soon as we saw the potential impact from the volcanic ash cloud forming, we initiated some discussion about possible consequences and courses of action," Air Force Brig. Gen. Randy Kee, vice commander of the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., said during a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable.

"This planning turned into reality in a matter of a couple of hours," he added.

Kee added that since rerouting of air traffic became necessary, the command has flown enough people to fill Madison Square Garden, and the equivalent of 175 fully loaded semi trucks of cargo.

"It's very impressive to see how folks were able to reposition," Kee said. "All the people that made this happen are heroes to me. This shows some agility that is exceptional. It's an honor to serve in this great cause."

The control center provides centralized global command and control of both Air Force and commercial contract aircraft that fulfill the nation's military airlift requirements. This involves planning, scheduling and tracking airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation missions, and then tasking those missions to units and providing command and control.

Missions the center oversees, Kee said, range from delivering mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, transporting warfighters and providing humanitarian aid in the wake of disaster.

Since the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano April 16, nearly 400 airlift missions controlled by the center have been rerouted due to the ash cloud that closed much of the airspace over Europe.

"In the wake of disaster, the team has the ability to reroute or cancel flights to ensure the safety of passengers and cargo the planes are carrying," Kee said.

Because volcanic ash is easily ingested by engines and can cause them to fail, he explained, pilots don't fly through ash clouds.

In the early moments of the eruption, the Tanker Airlift Control Center took action to move aircraft, crews and maintenance personnel from Ramstein and Spangdahlem air bases in Germany to staging locations in Spain. This flexibility, Kee said, has allowed those assets to remain in the rotation of aircraft moving troops and cargo to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The volcanic ash plume also forced a change in standard aeromedical evacuation operations, including the flight routing that Air Mobility Command uses to move wounded warriors from the U.S. Central Command area to further care.

"Under normal circumstances, the majority of military patients evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan move to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center [in Germany] for care," the general said. "Currently, missions are flying to Naval Air Station Rota [in Spain], where they refuel and then bring the patients back to the United States for care."

When flight routes will go back to normal, he added, depends on the volcano. Officials at the control center are assessing day by day, he said, and don't plan to return to normal routes until they can do so permanently.

"We are watching this carefully," Kee said.

Helping Our Heroes


VA Helps "Dear John" Veteran Recover from PTSD

April 22, 2010 - Iraq War Veteran Todd Vance's life in the Army has been portrayed in two major books and a top box office movie. He was the inspiration for the fictional main character in the best selling novel and hit movie, "Dear John," and his real experiences as an Army team leader for a Stryker brigade also were chronicled in the critically acclaimed book, "My War: Killing Time in Iraq."

But the latest chapter in Vance's life today is not portrayed in either a book or movie — he has successfully recovered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of counseling he underwent in the VA health care system.

Todd Vance the Veteran now goes to college, has a part-time job as a personal trainer and teaches Muay Thai kick boxing at a gym in San Diego. He tells Veterans about his recovery and treatment at VA, and often refers Veterans to seek counseling and services at VA.

"The therapy (at VA) made me learn who I am as a person," Vance said. "Whenever I can, I encourage other Veterans to go to VA and encourage them to do something physically active to help get rid of that pent up energy they have."

The "Dear John" book and movie came about when novelist Nicholas Sparks — author of other best-selling books such as "Message in a Bottle" and "The Notebook" — heard Vance tell about his combat experience in Iraq when Vance was home on leave in 2004.

"I drew heavily from a cousin (Todd) who served in the Army. Like Todd, my character was in the Army, had nearly completed his tour when 9-11 happened, and chose to re-enlist (something he really didn't want to do), for duty's sake," said Sparks, in a posting on his web site.

Vance also talked about the significance of getting letters from home from his then girlfriend. Some aspects of his relationship with the girlfriend and the time frame were changed in the book and movie. While fictional character John Tyree is wounded in battle in the movie, Todd Vance did not suffer any physical wounds. However, some of Vance's combat experiences in Iraq also are depicted in Colby Buzzell's critically acclaimed book, "My War." Vance and Buzzell became good friends when they were stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington State before they went to Iraq.

After Vance returned safely from Iraq in 2004, he went back to Fort Lewis, then moved to the San Diego area. At first, things seemed all right. Then problems started.

While not physically wounded, Vance had witnessed severe human suffering during his time in Iraq, ranging from seeing fellow soldiers killed from blasts from IEDs and sniper fire to scenes in which Iraqi children were blown up. His experiences had taken a toll, and Vance's girlfriend, Lauren, set up an appointment for him at the VA Medical Center San Diego.

"Three or four months into it, I just had a crash," Vance said. "The nightmares got to a point where I could not function."

At VA, he was referred to Michael Kilmer, the medical center's OEF/OIF Case Manager, who also served as a mental health provider. Kilmer's position was unique during the 2004-2005 time period. VA now has OEF/OIF Case Management Teams in each of its facilities that include a Program Manager, Case Manager(s), and Transition Patient Advocate, in addition to expanded mental health programs and post deployment clinics.

Vance credits the therapy for PTSD he received for several years with helping get his life straightened out.

"Todd is an example of why educational outreach to family, friends, and loved ones of returning Veterans is vital," Kilmer said.

"He was one of the most avoidant Veterans and would not engage in 'therapy' despite those around him seeing the need," Kilmer said. "However, he was willing to work on transition, life, and relationship challenges impacting his life and coping skills to manage his anger, anxiety and hyper arousal symptoms so he could be the person he wanted to be himself and loved ones.

"At first, he went three or four times a week. Later he moved on to working on positive thinking, thinking about how we are going to stay calm and collected once we reach an elevated state," Kilmer said.

Vance realized by avoiding life situations that reminded him of his military experiences and avoiding his memories, his life was continually impacted by nightmares, poor sleep, hyper arousal and vigilance, impacted interpersonal relationships. Vance was ready to participate in 12-15 sessions of Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy for PTSD that Kilmer guided him through.

"Todd's devotion to recovery, with the support of his loved ones, by honoring his appointments, following through on his "In-Vivo Exposure" (real life exercises that exposed him to situations that he previously avoided), and other homework assignment was remarkable," said Kilmer, who is now Network Program Coordinator for Returning Veterans Transition & Care Management at the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network.

Most of Todd's therapy focused on normal life situations for a Veteran dealing with PTSD and transitioning from military service to civilian life. With Kilmer's guidance using PE, an empirically supported therapy, Vance became better. He no longer goes to therapy, though he and Kilmer stay in close contact.

Now, Vance tells other Veterans about his experiences at VA.

"The therapy helped me learn who I am as a person," Vance said. "I'm confident and I'm happy where I am in life. I don't have any embarrassment about it. People ask me about and I tell them I went and that if you're a Vet you should go to the VA."

Vance also made use of his VA benefits, and earned an Associate of Arts of History. He is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Social Work, with a goal of serving Veterans. Kilmer helped get him in a work study program to provide him with experience in working with Veterans.

He is working his way through school as a personal trainer, and teaches Muay Thai kick boxing and other martial arts classes at the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in San Diego. Vance is moving on with his life. His relationship with the girl he wrote letters to while serving in Iraq is over, though the two remain friends. He is single, and remains in touch with a lot of his Army friends, including Buzzell. He has a great relationship with his parents and feels he is on a very good track.

Once he completes his four-year degree, he's considering a graduate level degree. He is interested in pursuing a job at VA to serve fellow Veterans.

"I would like to see if there is a way I can combine my two passions — helping Veterans and teaching martial arts," Vance said.

Commander, 3rd Fleet Is Confident in Dubuque Sailors, Marines

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David McKee, USS Dubuque (LPD 8) Public Affairs

April 22, 2010 - USS DUBUQUE, At Sea (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet told amphibious dock landing ship USS Dubuque (LPD 8) Sailors and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Marines April 20 he is confident that they are ready to deploy in spring 2010. "You have done the integration between Sailors and Marines which couldn't be more important. I feel very confident and comfortable in certifying that you are ready to go out and perform any mission required by you for your nation," said Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.

Hunt addressed the crew of 800-plus Sailors and Marines at an all-hands call on the flight deck during his visit to Dubuque, which included a meeting with leadership, a tour and lunch.

In his speech, Hunt emphasized that the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and MEU team possess a unique skill set no other aspect of the U.S. Department of Defense can deliver. According to Hunt, an ARG/MEU provides an incredibly valuable capability whether it is actual combat, military-to-military training, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.

"This is a force multiplier for the nation. It is an asset we will use in a positive way to influence global events," said Hunt.

Following the all-hands call, Hunt toured the 43-year-old ship and met the crew firsthand. He visited critical spaces including the bridge, combat information center and the engine room. Along the way he talked to Sailors about their lives in the Navy, asked them where they are from and praised them.

"As I walked around and looked at the ship it is obvious the Dubuque team has performed magnificently. You have prepared the ship properly, not only in material condition but training-wise. By all accounts, you have done extremely well," said Hunt.

Hunt thanked the Sailors and Marines for their hard work. Preparing to deploy takes months of preparation that includes an inspection and training series before being certified to deploy. The recipe for this success, according to Hunt, was hard work, leadership, dedication and commitment to doing the job right.

"I find it particularly gratifying to take a look at where this ship is, the hurdles that you've gone through and the accomplishments you have made in preparation for the deployment," said Hunt.

The upcoming deployment will carry on a tradition of amphibious warfare that has its roots in the Mexican-American War. Hunt compared the importance this type of warfare has on national security today to that of ballistic missile submarines during the Cold War.

"I think that, in particular, as we move forward dealing with trans-national terrorism and violent extremism, that we will find more action comes from the sea, from an ARG/MEU, than just about any other way of projecting power," said Hunt.

Immediately following Hunt's departure, Capt. Christopher E. Bolt, the commanding officer of Dubuque, summarized the visit.

"From the rainbow side boys of air division and landing the helicopter safely, to the great questions at all-hand's call, to the condition of the ship and the professionalism of the crew, Vice Adm. Hunt was incredibly impressed. I've never been more proud of a military unit, especially a front-line unit ready to go into harm's way," said Bolt.

Hunt was joined by Commander, Expeditionary Group 3, Rear Adm. Earl L. Gay, and visited all three amphibious warships in the Peleliu ARG.

Dubuque is part of the Peleliu ARG that is led by Amphibious Squadron 3, and consists of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), Dubuque and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).

Deployed Guardsman Helps Fellow Airmen


By Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
380th Air Expeditionary Wing

April 22, 2010 - Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Mark Miller, an Air National Guardsman who's deployed here as the first sergeant for the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, takes the core value of "service before self" very seriously. "I have a great pride in our country," said Miller, who is from the Iowa Air National Guard's 133rd Test Squadron at Fort Dodge, Iowa -- a geographically separated unit of the 185th Air Refueling Wing at Sioux City, Iowa.

Miller, who has been a member of the Iowa Department of Public Safety since July 1989, serves as an assistant district commander for the state police at District 7 in north-central Iowa. Now that he is deployed, the 23-year military veteran said he is appreciative of the working relationship he has with his state employers.

"My department has supported me 100 percent in all of my endeavors with the Air National Guard," Miller said. "My duties as a sergeant in the state patrol are very similar to the duties of a first sergeant. My main purpose in both jobs is to ensure my commander has a mission-ready force."

Miller said first sergeants manage people and provide the behind-the-scenes support that benefits many airmen.

"We deal with health and morale issues," he said. "We take care of things like setting up emergency leave, overseeing physical fitness programs, enforcing community standards, organizing commander's calls and coordinating awards and promotion ceremonies. We are available to listen to people and assist them in both work and personal problems. We also give the commanders advice on discipline and morale."

He said first sergeants also can support airmen on a personal level.

"First sergeants are very important to our Air Force in so many ways," Miller said. "People need to know they have someone to go to if they are having problems within their chain of command, fellow workers or personal issues. We are also a neutral voice for the commanders to listen to and see things from a different perspective. We also tend to get this done in the background."

Miller said duty as a first sergeant has featured some of his most-rewarding experiences during his military career.

"I am at that point in my career where it is about the airmen," he said. "Without the airmen, we would not succeed in our mission today and we would not have a future. I deployed to be available for the ... young man or woman who is away from home for perhaps the first time."

Deployed servicemembers may ask for advice or could just need someone to listen to them, Miller said. Many times, he added, they may just require a different perspective on things to make whatever problem they have a little easier to deal with.

"I just enjoy working with people," Miller said. "I spent 14 years in munitions, three in security forces and my last six as a first sergeant. This has, by far, been the most rewarding six years of my career."

Miller said he will never forget the support he has received from his family during his deployment. He also is comforted with the thought that he has helped people during his time as a first sergeant.

"When an Air National Guard shirt volunteers to deploy, it comes out as a request for volunteers," said Miller, who currently resides in Humboldt, Iowa, and whose hometown is Sioux City, Iowa. "When I told my wife I wanted to volunteer for this deployment, she asked me why. I told her that I was close to retirement, I would be taking off my first sergeant diamond in June, and I had one last chance to make a difference in an airman's life.

"Maybe, I thought, I could help someone who was having a hard time coping in a deployed environment," he added. "[My family has] supported me ever since, and I'm glad I was able to do this one more time."

Military Teens Cope With Wartime Challenges


By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2010 - With a cocky grin and larger-than-life presence, Cornelius Madison commands attention when he walks down the high school hall here, always with a hint of a swagger. Bumping fists and cracking jokes, Cornelius seems impervious to stress or worry. It's only when discussing his deployed mother in an interview does he reveal a small chink in his otherwise impenetrable bravado.

"As long I know she's alive, then, I'm good. But if I ever get that call ...." His words drift off and he looks away, unwilling to share his potential pain.

His mother, Army Staff Sgt. Asia Lowe, and stepfather, Army Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Lowe, deployed to Afghanistan for a year about a month ago, their second deployment in three years. Cornelius and his two younger siblings are staying with a family friend.

At 16, Cornelius has assumed the role of man of the house in a home that isn't even his own.

"It's not easy, but I was brought up to keep going, no matter what," he said. "I have to do it for my Mom. I'm really proud of her."

Cornelius is one of the nearly 2 million American military children and youth growing up in a decade marked by war. He's also one of the some 900,000 military children whose parents have deployed multiple times. These children endure long separations from a parent who may be in harm's way, frequent moves, and multiple new schools. They mark major milestones, including graduations, prom nights and sports events, either alone or without one or both of their parents.

The challenges and stressors they endure would knock most well-functioning adults to their knees, said Nancy Beale, school psychologist for the Fort Campbell High School here.

"Yet these kids get up and come to school and maintain their grades and do the best they can," she said. "It blows me out of the water. And it gives me faith in that concept we call resiliency."

The ongoing Afghanistan and Iraq wars have taken their toll on the post here. About two-thirds of the active-duty soldiers assigned to Fort Campbell are slated to deploy by fall, noted Bob Jenkins, a post spokesman. That's a big hit to a post with a total soldier population of roughly 30,000.

While some of his peers take the deployments harder, Cornelius takes the separations and moves – this is his fifth so far -- in stride, shrugging them off as an inevitable part of military life. "Other people have it worse," he said.

Cornelius' laid-back attitude may seem surprising to some, but actually is the new norm for adolescents growing up in the military, Beale noted.

"Adolescence is such a time of independence and breaking away from their parents and being on their own," she said. "Taking on that adult role is what they're supposed to be doing. They take pride in doing that, in holding it together."

That unflappable attitude among most adolescents, Beale noted, is a marked difference from the reactions of younger children. Younger children may exhibit deployment-induced stress with sleep disturbances and regression, she said. But for the majority of adolescents, she added, separations can be empowering.

Still, becoming the "man of the house" can have its drawbacks. Families with high-level needs, such as a special-needs child or money issues, can grow too dependent on a teen's assistance. "Then it goes from being, 'I'm going to take a role and help my family' to overburdening," Beale noted.

Separated from peers and unable to enjoy free time, resentment can grow, she explained.

High school junior Chelsea Jarvis pitches in heavily at home. Her father, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Adam Jarvis, is deployed with a Special Forces unit, and she often is called on to help with her special-needs brother, Jacob. At 13, Jacob already has undergone seven brain surgeries and is unable to talk.

Since her Dad's departure, the 17-year-old has taken on tasks from bathing to changing diapers to babysitting her brother.

"My mother can't do it all by herself," she said, quickly adding that she doesn't mind pitching in. "We pick up the pieces when he's gone. It's just something we do."

Chelsea was born after her father enlisted, and, like Cornelius, has grown accustomed to her father's deployments, which are briefer but more frequent than those experienced by soldiers in other military occupational specialties.

"My Dad's missed a lot of milestones, but I'm not going to blame him," she said. "It's something you just have to get used to, or you'll probably be a blubbering mess."

While she admits to some concerns about her father's safety, particularly in his line of work, it's unproductive to focus on the death count and the statistics, she said.

"If you focus on that all the time, it's harder to keep going," she said. "I focus on what I'm doing here. I try to stay busy."

Beale said the school invests a significant amount of time and energy to ensure students like Chelsea have a plethora of activities to keep them occupied, from sports to academic clubs to social outlets. The small school of more than 700 students offers a jam-packed slate of activities, she added. Students can pursue the typical sports teams; participate in organizations such as Teens, Crime and Community or Future Educators of America; satisfy their academic goals in Homework Club or National Honor Society; and their more creative outlets in the drama club, chorus or band.

Teens find strength in the activities as well as in the camaraderie they foster, Beale noted. "We spend a lot more of our efforts trying to build relationships with our students through those avenues," she said.

The one type of group parents won't find at the high school is a deployment support group. Beale said she's found they're more effective for elementary-age children. Younger children enjoy the support a formal group may provide, while older children benefit more from an active lifestyle, she noted.

A recent Army study validated the school's efforts. The study found that the No. 1 factor in mitigating deployment stress for Army adolescents was their participation in activities, such as sports, followed by a strong family foundation.

Peer groups, such as those formed through sports and clubs, are vital for adolescents, Beale noted. "It's often a peer group that alerts me to problems," she said. "A friend brings them to me much more often than a student comes to me for help."

In any case, parents and teachers should be on the lookout for significant changes in behavior, such as a drastic drop in grades or withdrawal from family and friends, and then engage the teen or seek help, Beale advised.

Darien Crank leans heavily on his football team, looking to his buddies for support while his father, Army Sgt. Arthur Carter, is deployed to Afghanistan. It's the father's third deployment since he joined the Army six years ago.

"They know what it's like to be new and move around, and so they're really welcoming and warm," Darien said of the military families here.

Unlike many children who grew up in the military, Darien is well aware of a major shift in lifestyle; his father joined when he was 12.

"At first it was weird with him being home every night and then just leaving and being gone for two or three months at a time," the 18-year-old senior said. "That's the first time he'd left for that long."

On his first deployment to Iraq, Darien's father asked his son to be the man of the house. Wanting to appear strong, Darien didn't cry until his father left. The second time his father deployed, he didn't cry at all.

"Now he's always gone," Darien said. His father will miss his prom, graduation and his sendoff to college this fall. Darien plans to attend Tusculum College in neighboring Tennessee on a football scholarship.

He relies on friends, he said, and has matured in his father's absence.

"My dad understands he's gone a lot," Darien said. When he comes home, he added, his father gives him space and allows him to continue his role as "man of the house" in some capacity, a consideration he appreciates.

But the frequent separations take their toll on their relationship, Darien admitted. He recalls his father teaching him to ride bikes and play games, but his memories stop short with his earlier childhood.

"He's been gone for so long, I can't even imagine our relationship being really close," he said.

Darien's concerns are common in a military society that, over the past decade, has been confronted with frequent and lengthy family absences, Beale said.

"The logistics of it get easier, and the idea," she said. "What I don't think is easier is the resentment of their parent missing so many years.

"They know they can handle it, they know what they need to do, and they know they'll be fine," she continued. "But then it becomes, 'But, I'm tired. I'm tired of Dad missing another soccer season. I'm tired of Mom not being here for all the major holidays.'"

The lasting impact of the separations on military families concerns Beale.

"I am worried more about the families themselves," she said. "I see a lot more splintering apart of husbands and wives, which of course is absolutely the worst curveball you can throw our students amongst all this other stuff they're going through. That's what concerns me the most."

However, Beale said she's also reassured by the adaptability of military children and their ability to form deep friendships quickly due to a fast-paced military life. "There's an acceptance of a reality: 'This is the Army way,' or 'It's Dad's job or Mom's job'" in the military, she said. "Their ability to accept war and the role that their parent plays for our country is very mature."

It remains to be seen what the long-term effects of a decade of war will have on military children, Beale said. But whatever the future holds, they should be proud of what they've already achieved.

"Some of that initiation by fire, that 'I can do anything,' I don't think they realize what they've done," she said.