Military News

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blue Angels Announce New Commanding Officer


April 29, 2010 - NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, The Blue Angels, announced the Commanding Officer for the 2011 and 2012 teams.

A panel of admirals and former Blue Angels selected Cmdr. David E. Koss to join the team in September. He is the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, the "Tophatters," where he also served as executive officer. Commander Koss' previous assignments include VFA-122, air and maritime planner to Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) in Camp Smith, Hawaii, VFA-87 and VFA-106.

Koss has over 3,000 flight hours and 740 arrested landings. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Medal with Combat V, four Air Medals (Strike Flight), Joint Achievement Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, LT Charles Nelson and LCDR Mike Longardt leadership awards, as well as various campaign and unit awards.

The Impending “Do Ask, Do Tell” Reexamination

By Lt Col Dan Tulley, USAF

It is almost as though someone pressed “Play” on the nation’s Tivo after 17 years. Since Admiral Mike Mullen’s Congressional testimony, the question “should gay people be allowed to serve openly in the military?” has hit the national conversation once again with stunning effect.

The question is truly out there for the first time since President Clinton’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in 1993. We can smile confidently knowing that if nothing else, our imperfect yet better-than-most democracy is once again working its magic.

Or is it? Other than the nation’s most senior uniformed member, joined last week by the other service chiefs, who in the military has voiced an opinion? A quick check of op-ed pages and Sunday talk shows reveals conspicuously absent from the conversation are the voices of perhaps the most relevant…our men and women in uniform.

Do ask, and do tell. Don’t ask our service members whether they are gay, but rather how they feel about gays serving openly. Don’t ask just gays, ask everyone wearing the uniform. Let them tell our decision makers their thoughts and opinions on performance, cohesion, readiness, discipline, morale and more. Let them help us determine whether these are truly fundamental issues of concern. As any good leader knows, your people will surprise you with what they come up with.

No, the military is not a democracy. Of course, its members will faithfully execute any decision. There should be no expectation that all military decisions are transparent down through the chain of command. Allowing the voices of those most affected to be heard is not typically associated with military culture. Ironically, in this instance it might just be the key to getting it right.

While many of our current senior leaders were just entering the field grades or executive ranks, the majority of our current military population was not yet old enough for service during President Clinton’s first term. As Admiral Mullen and General Colin Powell have alluded to, there can be broad shifts in society over a 17-year period. It is critical we accurately assess the impact of any changes on the younger majority of our military.

Is uniformed military service a right or a privilege? African Americans, women, and immigrant non-citizens have all faced related challenges in different contexts. Maybe the issue of moral conduct expressed by Gen (ret) Peter Pace in 2007 is most relevant, or the issue of integrity expressed by Admiral Mullen. Does the current policy force gays to lie? Our all-volunteer military has been very clear in its policies over the last century.

My intent is not to take a side in this debate. When you raise your right hand and take the oath, you need to understand what it is you’re getting into. The same holds true for policy changes. Who is permitted to serve, how, and under what circumstances must be carefully balanced with the requirement to maintain an effective military force capable of defending our national interests.

The services could employ one or a combination of options to assess the views of their members. Surveys, focus groups, and independent consultants would all accomplish part of the objective, however they likely would not translate the honesty and forthright opinions this issue demands. Perhaps more broadly, a specific DoD policy could be authored: Encourage members to participate professionally in the public debate while protecting them from career-damaging repercussions.

Several criteria should be applied as the services go their deliberations. First, the opinions of current members should not be confused with those of veterans. The voices of our veterans are no less important, they simply constitute a different point of view. While opinions of retired leaders such as General Powell are very relevant, they do not accurately reflect the thoughts and opinions of the majority of our armed forces, or other veterans for that matter.

Second, opinions should not be filtered by the chain of command. Before Private Jones tells his commander he supports gays serving openly, he will likely give some thought to where his commander stands on the same issue. After all, the commander has almost complete control over Jones’ promotions, future assignments, and every other aspect of his career.

Finally, opinions must be presented professionally and with respect. Members must be held accountable if they fail to uphold the high standards of our diverse military.

No doubt, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs are aware of larger implications such as foreign military partnerships and personnel costs. They are also well aware the most profound outcomes could be more tacit than explicit, more unintended than desired. As they wrestle with these issues, we should commend their pragmatic desire to fully and deliberately assess the implications of any potential change.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2027 is serving right now, and will inherit a force impacted by this debate. Without compromising good order and discipline, we need to ensure an accurate assessment of the impact on that force is made known to policy makers.

Lt Col Daniel Tulley is currently an Air Force Fellow attending the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and may not reflect the policies of the US Air Force or the Department of Defense.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 29, 2010

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Foster Fuels, Inc.*, Brookneal, Va., is being awarded a maximum $57,121,141 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for complete ground fuel support, delivery, and record keeping. Other locations of performance are in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Using service is federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with one response. This contract is exercising the second option year. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-080-D-4000).

Fisher Scientific Co., LLC, Pittsburgh, Pa. is being awarded a maximum $9,120,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery contract for the selection of a distributor for the laboratory integrated delivery system program. Other locations of performance are in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Kentucky, Delaware, Colorado, Texas, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, New York, New Mexico, Washington, Georgia, Maryland and North Carolina. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited via the Internet Bid Board System with eight responses. This contract has a base period and four one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is May 3, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM2DE-09-D-7340).

NAVY

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Columbia, Md., is being awarded a ceiling $45,925,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for life cycle logistics for the Distributed Scalable AccessNet and LongArm software, including licenses, training, technical services, and spare and repair parts. Work will be performed in Columbia, Md., and is expected to be completed by April 29, 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-D-2224).

Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc., Monroeville, Pa., is being awarded a $37,344,671 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-07-C-2100 for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, Pa. (90 percent), and Schenectady, N.Y. (10 percent). Contract funds in the amount of $923,558 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. No completion date or additional information is provided on Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program contracts. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Vision Systems International, LLC, San Jose, Calif., is being awarded a $22,593,494 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-10-C-0007) to exercise an option for the procurement of joint helmet mounted cueing systems for the Navy and Air Force. This modification provides for the procurement of 100 40-degree night vision cueing and display unit hardware and associated support equipment for the Navy (53) and the Air Force (47); 500 step-in visors for the Navy (359) and the Air Force (141); 25 aviation night vision (ANV-126) night vision goggles test set adapter kits for the Navy; and associated engineering services for the Navy and Air Force. This contract combines purchases for the Navy ($12,247,152; 54 percent) and the Air Force ($10,346,342; 46 percent). Work will be performed in San Jose, Calif., and is expected to be completed in January 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Sailors Tour Everglades Holiday Park

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer Hunt, USS Iwo Jima Public Affairs

April 29, 2010 - PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) enjoyed the many scenic parts of Fort Lauderdale April 27 while riding air boats at Everglades Holiday Park for Fleet Week 2010.

"The boats were like mini versions of the LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushions) we have on board," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 3rd Class Kara Nelson, Iwo Jima crew member. "It was nice to relax on them and it felt really refreshing."

The tour commenced with Sailors perusing through the park's gift shop, where there was an array of unusual selections from alligator jerky to actual taxidermy alligator carcasses. Once the crew boarded the air boat, Capt. Gerald Motes gave a brief description of the Everglades and sailed them around the park.

"I was born and raised in South Florida," said Motes. "I've been in and around the Everglades my whole life. I live out here, I work out here, and I drive an airboat to and from work everday. It makes me happy."

Motes also stopped along the tour path to demonstrate medicinal benefits of the saw grass abundantly spread around the Everglades. While pulling apart the plant, he explained that while the leaves could cut you, they could also heal your wounds if used as a bandage. Motes' vast knowledge of the area added to the magic of the tour for its participants.

"Cruising through the Everglades was quite an experience," said Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Jonathan Mallory, Iwo Jima crew member. "I got to get out in the sun, see some gators, and learn a lot about the local area."

"The experience is really a once in a lifetime for a lot of people," said Motes. "They really get to see another side of life. The concrete jungle is not all there is out there."

After the boat tour, guides led Sailors to a wildlife exhibit which displayed a number of South Florida's natural inhabitants. The crew interacted with a few of the reptiles, and even observed one of the nation's most endangered species: the Florida panther.

Everglades Holiday Park was contributed to Broward County, Fla., by a local farmer. The park is used for public recreation, but is best known for its air boat tours.

This is the 20th Fleet Week Port Everglades, South Florida's annual celebration of the maritime services. More than 2,500 American and German Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen will participate in a number of community outreach activities and enjoy the hospitality and tourism of South Florida.

Navy to Start Training Female Submariners in July

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2010 - Navy officials today announced they are moving ahead with plans to integrate women onto submarines beginning in late 2011 or early 2012.

The decision became public after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress in February of the Navy's desire to add women to submarines. With a congressional review period complete, Navy officials say they will begin taking applications with a goal of training 19 women, starting in July.

"There are extremely capable women in the Navy who have the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a press release. "Enabling them to serve in the submarine community is best for the submarine force and our Navy. We literally could not run the Navy without women today."

Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of Naval Operations, seconded his enthusiasm for the change. "As a former commanding officer of a ship that had a mixed-gender crew, to me it would be foolish to not take the great talent, the great confidence and intellect of the young women who serve in our Navy today and bring that into the submarine force."

Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, commander of Naval Submarine Forces, noted that about half of all science and engineering bachelor's degrees today are awarded to women. "Maintaining the best submarine force in the world requires us to recruit from the largest possible talent pool."

The Navy's plan for integration calls for recruiting female Naval Academy graduates and providing them the same training as given to male submariners, Rear Adm. Barry L. Bruner, commander of Submarine Group 10 and the leader of the Women on Submarines Task Force, said during a phone interview with reporters.

"We're looking for the same qualifications that we have for men," Bruner said. "There is no difference." Those qualifications include a technically-based education that includes calculus and physics, he said. Female candidates for submarine duty also will undergo the Navy's intense interview and screening process for prospective underwater sailors.

Because the policy is new, officials can't yet gauge women's interest in serving on submarines, Bruner said, but added that a number of female academy students and graduates have shown interest.

The plan calls for phasing in three female officers in eight different crews of guided-missile attack and ballistic missile submarines, Bruner said. The class they will serve in is comprised of 14 ballistic missile submarines and four cruise missile submarines, he said. The submarines were chosen because the berthing and restrooms are designed so they need very few changes, he said. It is too soon to say specifically which submarines they will serve on, but there will be one each in King's Bay, Ga., and Bangor, Maine, he said.

Bruner became convinced of the need to integrate women onto submarines years ago, he said, after spending some time aboard allied nations' submarines that included women crew members.

"I went in really with my eyes wide open," he said. "I came away under the impression that there is no difference in the camaraderie or abilities [of crews] on ships with women on board."

Bruner later became the commander of a strike group with women on all of its ships. "I asked, 'Why aren't we doing this on submarines? It's such a viable talent pool.'"

The Navy has learned from its 1994 change that integrated women onto surface ships, Bruner said. The service will have enough women on ships and submarines, he said, so that they aren't isolated. And, men and women submariners will have additional training before the integration and there will be female sailors available as mentors, he said.

After talking to current submariners and their families, Bruner said, he doesn't think the integration will cause much of a cultural change.

"The change to the culture on submarines is going to be pretty minimal, to be honest," Bruner said. The only concern among current submariners, he said, is that all crew members live up to the demands of the undersea service.

"When you wear the dolphins of a submariner, you have to prove that if there is a casualty on the ship that could result in the loss of the ship and all the lives on the ship, you have to be able to react correctly to save the ship," Bruner said. "That's the most import thing to submariners."

Bruner said he has no doubt that the women will prove themselves.

"I think we have the right processes in place and we'll train on them again," he said. "We'll hit all the potential areas that could cause problems."

At a town hall meeting held last night at King's Bay Naval Base, Bruner said, only two wives within an audience of about 75 expressed discontent over the new policy. Their concerns, he said, were whether women would get preferential promotions.

Bruner reiterated that the women will be held to the same workplace rules as men. "Sometimes change can be hard, and the way you get through it is through education and explaining why you're doing it and how you'll go through it," he said.

U.S. Airmen MIA from WWII are Identified

April 29, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of eight U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted-for and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

The group remains of Lt. Jack S. M. Arnett, Charleston, W.V.; Flight Officer William B. Simpson, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Tech. Sgt. Charles T. Goulding, Marlboro, N.Y.; Tech. Sgt. Robert J. Stimson, San Bernardino, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Jimmie Doyle, Lamesa, Texas; Staff Sgt. Leland D. Price, Oakwood, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Earl E. Yoh, Scott, Ohio, and the individual remains of Lt. Frank J. Arhar, Lloydell, Pa. were buried today in Arlington National Cemetery. The individual remains of Arnett, Yoh, Doyle and Stinson were buried earlier by their families.

On Sept. 1, 1944, their B-24J Liberator bomber was shot down while on a bombing mission of enemy targets near the town of Koror, Republic of Palau. Crewmen on other aircraft reported seeing Arnett's aircraft come apart in the air and crash into the sea between Babelthuap and Koror islands. Two parachutes were spotted, but none of the 11-man crew ever returned to friendly territory. An aerial search was unsuccessful, and more thorough recovery operations could not be conducted due to Japanese control of the area.

Post-war Japanese documents established that three other members of the crew survived the crash but died while prisoners of the Japanese. In 1949, the American Graves Registration Service declared the remains of all 11 crew members to be non-recoverable.

In October 2000, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command mounted several investigations on Babelthaup island to attempt to locate several reported mass burial sites. A team returned in November 2001, but their excavation did not recover any material or biological evidence indicating a mass burial. They returned again January 2004, and shortly before the team completed their excavation, they were contacted by a private wreckage hunting group called the "Bent Prop Project" which had discovered the wreckage of a B-24 on the ocean floor four miles northeast of where a diagram from U.S. records indicated a crash site. The JPAC team examined the wreckage and recovered remains.

Divers from JPAC and the U.S. Navy examined the underwater site again in 2005 where they recovered more remains and material evidence. After stabilizing the underwater site for safety reasons, the joint JPAC-U.S. Navy team dived on the site again in early 2007 and recovered additional remains. The joint team returned again in 2008 and recovered more remains and evidence.

The use of mitochondrial DNA analysis from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, the biological profile of the remains, dental records, material evidence including machine gun serial numbers and identification tags of Arnett, Doyle and Yoh, enabled JPAC scientists to establish the identifications.

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

Airmen send wounded cyclists off at White House


by Ian Graham
Defense Media Activity

4/29/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- More than 200 Airmen and uniformed members from across the services gathered on the White House's south lawn April 27 to give wounded servicemembers a send-off as they began a bike trip from the nation's capital to Annapolis, Md. The White House to the Lighthouse Challenge, the fourth such trek hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project, is a four-day ride taken by servicemembers who have been injured in combat.

Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki met with the troops before they mounted their bikes and took a ceremonial lap around the south lawn.

The vice president spoke to the riders before they began their ride, reminding them that while everyone is grateful for their sacrifice, nobody can know the extent of what they've given.

"What's even more unfathomable is your courage," Vice President Biden said. "You define -- I mean this literally -- who we are as a country. You're the heart, the soul and the spine of this country. You aren't just showing us what we should be; you show us that we can be anything we want to be."

The audience for the send-off was primarily composed of fellow servicemembers from around the Washington area who came to support their brothers and sisters in uniform.

It is vitally important for servicemembers to meet and get to know their wounded peers, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Mellott, from the 12th Aviation Battalion. That way they can learn what it means to wear a military uniform.

"It reminds everyone in the service what we're here for; the sacrifices we make for our country," he said. "It's what we do, it's our job. People get to live their lives how they want because of the sacrifices made by the people riding those bikes."

I came to the send-off because I want to support my fellow servicemembers as much as I can, said Staff Sgt. Erin Everhardt, of the 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington D.C.

"I thought it was a great opportunity to show our support for them," Sergeant Everhardt said. "It was really nice to come see them off."

The riders biked through Washington to Baltimore and then to Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Station Washington in Maryland, before they headed to Annapolis.

Airmen train on combat search, rescue missions


by Airman 1st Class Jessica Green
129th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

4/29/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- Airmen participating in Exercise Angel Thunder 2010 here performed a combat search and rescue mission at the Barry M. Goldwater Range April 19 more than 140 miles northwest of Tucson, Ariz.

Two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters carrying teams of pararescuemen accompanied by multiple A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters flew to rescue 10 Airmen acting as survivors in the Sonoran Desert.

The teams are expected to complete entire rescue operation in one hour; from the time the emergency is called in to the time the patients return to base or a medical treatment facility.

Although the exercise has many scenarios, the participants are still expected to meet real-world goals.

A CSAR mission comprises many layers of capabilities working together to successfully rescue the isolated members, said a survival specialist from the 336th Training Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. The names of survival, evasion, rescue and escape specialists are withheld for security reasons.

"The first layer was just aircraft coming into the area, basically making sure that there were no enemy threats on the ground that could do any damage to the recovery vehicle that was coming in," the SERE specialist said. "That's exactly what we want to see out there, that everyone is safe and that nothing happens to the survivors on the ground."

After authenticating the number of survivors and the location for where the rescue was going to take place, the SERE specialist got word through his radio that the area was clear and the rescue helicopters were coming in.

Two pararescue teams were dropped into the area where they assessed the patients on the ground, prepared them for travel and called back to the HH-60Gs for pick up.

The A-10s provided cover during the rescue as well, firing into desert targets meant to simulate tanks south of the recovery site.

"That was like the best-case scenario, as far as the number of aircraft involved," the SERE specialist said. "It can be done with a lot less; however, if there was a need for more, they could probably add a couple more birds. We have so much air superiority right now."

With such a high number of patients, it's common for independent duty medical technicians to fly along on similar missions, said Tech. Sgt. Wayne Johnson, also from the 336th TRG.

"The (pararescuemen) play a really big part in personnel recovery," Sergeant Johnson said. "They're the first responders. They'll come in under fire to collect patients, give initial evaluations, stabilize the patient and bring them back to infinitive care where an (independent duty medical technician) will then take over."

Having a SERE specialist play the role of a survivor helps everyone involved in the recovery process understand what was done correctly or what could've been done better during the mission, the SERE participant said.

"One of our tasks, as far as SERE, is to work hand-in-hand with personnel recovery making sure that survivors are personally taken into account versus not thinking about them as survivors," he said. "We make sure the (pararescuemen) know exactly what to do, as far as authentication, and what the survivor(s) may be expected to do when they are on the ground."

SERE specialists from Fairchild AFB teach all aircrew that could be in harm's way the fundamentals of survival, evasion, resistance and escape. They are taught exactly what to do if they find themselves isolated on the ground.

"The simplest things are how to find shelter, food and procure water," the SERE specialist said. "The evasion side of training includes teaching ways of survival so they can't be caught."

Navy Medicine Program Cuts Stress for Military Families

By Judith Snyderman, Defense Media Activity

April 29, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- A program that started three years ago to help Navy and Marine families cope with stress from multiple deployments and other types of pressure has proven so successful it has become a model for the defense department.

Kirsten Woodward directs family programs at the Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery. She developed the multifaceted approach in partnership with UCLA Health Services Research Center in 2007.

During an April 28 DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, Woodward said that in the past, a gap existed between family social service programs and medical mental health care services.

"There really wasn't anything in the middle, addressing both prevention and intervention," Woodward said.

The program Woodward created called FOCUS, or Families OverComing Under Stress, aims to fill that gap. The licensed clinical social worker said the goal is to offer practical help in situations where symptoms may be mild, acute or anywhere in between and it aims to remove the stigma from seeking assistance.

FOCUS uses a color code to help families pinpoint current levels of stress. Woodward explained the colors range from "green being 'good to go' and through the continuum to red being 'hot' or 'not good to go.'"

That baseline guides the entry tier of service best suited for clients. Woodward said the tiers range from education and guidance on stress prevention to skills-based peer learning groups geared to children, adolescents and adults.

"The bull's eye, or most intense treatment," she said, "is what we call our multi-session resilience training. That course runs from eight to 10 weeks."

So far about 97,000 people have tried it out at 10 Marine Corps and eight Navy locations. The staff at each site includes psychologists, social workers, licensed marriage family therapists and resilience trainers.

A year ago, Woodward said the Office of the Secretary of Defense Child and Youth Family Policy independently reviewed the program and cited it as a best practice program. As a result plans are underway to expand FOCUS to other branches of the military. So far four Air Force and four Army locations are running pilots.

All members of the military community are eligible to tap FOCUS services at any of those locations. Woodward said there's no need to wait for stress to build to high levels before seeking help. She also said that while she is pleased by studies that have proven the effectiveness of the program, she is most gratified by the good word of mouth referrals the program has garnered.

"It's the actual families who've worked through the program who found it beneficial [who] were able to then share that information with their friends and colleagues and suggest that they may benefit from the program," said Woodward.

SECDEF Announces Flag Officer Nominations

April 29, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced Apr. 29 that the president has made the following nominations:

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Joseph P. Aucoin has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Aucoin is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group 3, Bremerton, Wash.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Terry J. Benedict has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Benedict is currently serving as program executive officer for integrated warfare systems, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Patrick H. Brady has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Brady is currently serving as deputy commander for undersea warfare, SEA-073, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Ted N. Branch has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Branch is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group 1, San Diego.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Paul J. Bushong has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Bushong is currently serving as commander, Navy Region Marianas/U.S. Pacific Command representative, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau/commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, Guam.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) James F. Caldwell Jr. has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Caldwell is currently serving as commander, Submarine Group 9, Silverdale, Wash.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas H. Copeman III has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Copeman is currently serving as commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, U.S. Southern Command, Guantanamo, Cuba.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Samuel J. Cox has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Cox previously served as director, plans, policy and intelligence integration, Naval Network Warfare Command, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Philip S. Davidson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Davidson is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Kevin M. Donegan has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Donegan is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Five, Yokosuka, Japan.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Patrick Driscoll has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Driscoll is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Ten, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) David A. Dunaway has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Dunaway is currently serving as commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, Norfolk, Va.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas J. Eccles has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Eccles is currently serving as deputy commander for ship design, integration and engineering, SEA-05, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Mark D. Guadagnini has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Guadagnini is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine, Everett, Wash.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Joseph A. Horn Jr. has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Horn is currently serving as program director, Aegis ballistic missile defense, Missile Defense Agency, Dahlgren, Va.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Anthony M. Kurta has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Kurta previously served as commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Djibouti, Africa.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Joseph P. Mulloy has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Mulloy is currently serving as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget/director, Fiscal Management Division, N82, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Sean A. Pybus has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Pybus is currently serving as commander, Special Operations, U.S. Pacific Command, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) John M. Richardson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Richardson is currently serving as director, plans and operations, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Sixth Fleet/deputy commander, Sixth Fleet/commander submarines, Allied Naval Forces South/commander, Submarine Group Eight, Naples, Italy.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Michael S. Rogers has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Rogers is currently serving as director for intelligence, J2, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas S. Rowden has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Rowden is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Seven, San Diego, Calif.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) David G. Simpson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Simpson is currently serving as director, CJ6, Multi-National Force - Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Nora W. Tyson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Tyson is currently serving as commander, logistics group, Western Pacific/commander, Task Force 73/commander, Navy Region Singapore.

Navy Program Cuts Stress for Military Families

By Judith Snyderman
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

April 29, 2010 - A program that started three years ago to help Navy and Marine Corps families cope with stress from multiple deployments and other types of pressure has proven so successful it has become a model for the Defense Department.

Kirsten Woodward directs family programs at the Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery. She developed the multifaceted approach in partnership with the UCLA Health Services Research Center in 2007.

During a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable yesterday, Woodward said a gap existed in the past between family social service programs and medical mental health care services.

"There really wasn't anything in the middle, addressing both prevention and intervention," she said.

The program Woodward created -- called FOCUS, short for Families Overcoming Under Stress -- aims to fill that gap. The licensed clinical social worker said the goal is to offer practical help in situations where symptoms may be mild, acute or anywhere in between, and it aims to remove the stigma from seeking assistance.

FOCUS uses a color code to help families pinpoint current stress levels. Woodward explained the colors range from "green being 'good to go' and through the continuum to red being 'hot' or 'not good to go.'"

That baseline, she said, guides the entry tier of service best suited for clients. Woodward said the tiers range from education and guidance on stress prevention to skills-based peer learning groups geared to children, adolescents and adults.

The "bull's eye," or most intense treatment, she said, is multi-session resilience training. That course runs from eight to 10 weeks.

So far, about 97,000 people have tried it out at 10 Marine Corps and eight Navy locations. The staff at each site includes psychologists, social workers, licensed marriage family therapists and resilience trainers.

A year ago, Woodward said, the officials at the Pentagon's military community and family policy office independently reviewed the program and cited it as a best-practice program. As a result, plans are under way to expand FOCUS to other branches of the military. So far, four Air Force and four Army locations are running pilot programs.

All members of the military community are eligible to tap into FOCUS services at any location where it's offered, Woodward said, noting there's no need to wait for stress to build to high levels before seeking help.

While she is pleased by studies that have proven the effectiveness of the program, Woodward said, she is most gratified by the good word-of-mouth referrals the program has garnered.

"It's the actual families who've worked through the program who found it beneficial [who] were able to then share that information with their friends and colleagues and suggest that they may benefit from the program," she said.

Academy NCO selected for Warrior Games

by Ann Patton

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Just before three mortar bombs exploded around Tech. Sgt. Crystal Lovato in Iraq, she was ordering winter coats online for her two children back home.

"It would have been the last thing I had done to show my kids I love them," she said of the moments before the attack and her survival.

Sergeant Lovato, a Dean of Faculty support staff NCO, will be among 20 athletes selected to compete in the Department of Defense's Warrior Games May 10-14 in Colorado Springs.

Now a Reservist with the 302nd Security Forces Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Sergeant Lovato left active duty in 2006, but the memories of the bomb attack remain vivid. As a radio traffic operator, she had just finished briefing the incoming shift operator in Kirkuk, Iraq. She stepped outside to await transportation when the explosives went off.

At first, she recalled hearing a "thump thump," as if a truck were navigating over potholes (most likely) or a bomb hitting the ground.

It was the latter. The first bomb exploded across the street from her, and another detonated just steps away from her location next to a parked Humvee. She can still see the flying wood chips, rocks and dirt as an explosion destroyed the nearby bus stop.

"I can still hear it as clear as day," she said, recalling the sounds of shrapnel pinging the vehicle.

A third bomb went off just on the other side of a wall where she had taken shelter. The attacks burned her uniform sleeve and damaged her right ear, resulting in some hearing loss, but her eardrum remained intact.

Back in Colorado, the frequent and often erratic changes in weather, plus shifts in altitude, caused her pain until the ear "popped," as she described it, equalizing the pressure inside and outside the ear. Sergeant Lovato now has tubes in her ears, which has alleviated the discomfort, but she still has trouble hearing at times. She has to face anyone speaking to her, including her children and her husband, a FedEx employee at Peterson AFB. She remains in treatment for the injured ear and related functions such as balance. However, like many returning wounded warriors, she has found reintegration hard.

"Coming home has been really tough. It's still a work in progress," she said, explaining the temperament of her world now seems different with dramatic changes.

On active duty for six years, Sergeant Lovato first served in Turkey in security and later in law enforcement as a patrolman and desk sergeant before being hand-picked for corrections facility training. Born in Albuquerque, N.M., she is the oldest of five siblings and a confessed "Navy brat." Though she desired a Navy career herself, her father advised her that the Air Force would be a better fit for her.

"I was a good girl and did what my dad told me to do," she said with a laugh. "But I love the organization and structure of the military."

She expects to complete a bachelor's degree in accounting next month. Nonetheless, the path ahead seems unclear for the mother of a son, now 6, and a daughter, now 2.

"I can't plan a future," she said. "I don't have a Plan B."

But she remains hopeful, despite her injuries.

"It's what you make of it," she said.

During the games, she expects to participate in swimming, discus, and archery. Sergeant Lovato is especially enthusiastic about the archery competition. "It's a quiet weapon I can shoot," she said.

Approach to Changes in Warfare

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2010 - Warfare has changed, and the U.S. military must shift to meet the new threats, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said to the World Affairs Council here last night. Lynn said he and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have tried to shift military strategy "to move the tectonic plates of our national security environment."

The Defense Department is doing more to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while still preparing for future conflicts, Lynn said. Past strategy, he told the group, did not pay enough attention to current conflicts, and the department has changed the balance toward fighting today's wars.

The biggest change in war is that rogue nations, terror groups and even criminal gangs can field increasingly lethal technologies, the deputy secretary told the audience.

"Terrorist organizations and rogue states seek weapons of mass destruction, insurgents are armed with [improvised explosive devices] that can penetrate even our most sophisticated armored vehicles," he said. "We even see criminals who have world-class cyber capabilities."

The military must be ready to face these challenges, he said, and still maintain the capabilities to take on peer competitors.

Another change is that wars, conflicts, emergencies are longer than they used to be, Lynn said. The old strategy was based on fighting two major, nearly simultaneous conflicts. But planners thought the wars would be like Operation Desert Storm in 1991 – a powerful, quick war.

"But the concept no longer fits our current reality," Lynn said. "We are already fighting two wars, and it wasn't the intensity of the initial combat phase that proved the most challenging in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather, after eight years in those two conflicts, we are finding the duration of those conflicts is what places the most stress on American's military. These wars have now lasted longer than the United States' participation in World War I and World War II combined."

War has moved more toward asymmetric threats. No nation or group can match the U.S. military's conventional strength, Lynn said, so they don't try.

"Rather than fighting us head-to-head, they use IEDs to counter our mechanized advantage or guerilla tactics to avoid direct combat," he explained. Some countries also are investing in weapons such as surface-to-surface missiles, cyber capabilities and anti-satellite technologies to deny U.S. access to battlefields.

The cyber threat is another profound change in warfare, Lynn told the group.

"There is no exaggerating our nation's dependence on information networks," he said. The Defense Department alone has thousands of networks, millions of computers and more millions of computer users. All major weapons systems, the intelligence and logistics efforts and personnel programs rely on information technology.

"The Internet is magical in its ability to connect us to others," Lynn said, "but it is a two-way street. Over the past 10 years, the frequency and sophistication of cyber intrusions has increased exponentially." More than 100 foreign intelligence services are trying to hack into U.S. systems, he said, and foreign militaries are developing offensive cyber capabilities.

President Barack Obama has called the cyber threat one of the most serious challenges America faces, Lynn said. Cyber attacks threaten not only the U.S. military, but also the American infrastructure and economy, he added.

Lynn said the department is addressing all of these threats. The U.S. military is developing the capabilities to handle the range of conflict from low-end insurgencies to high-end near peer wars. The military services are adjusting the way they recruit, train and retain servicemembers in face of long wars. And the United States is working to counter asymmetric attacks and to continue to enhance asymmetric advantages of its own.

The way the Defense Department buys equipment, programs services also has to change, Lynn said, acknowledging that the department has not been a good buyer. Changing the way the acquisition process works is an important part of funding the capabilities to handle future threats, he added.

To illustrate his point, Lynn noted that Apple developed the iPhone in 24 months. "That's less time than it would take for us to budget for an IT program," he said. "I'm serious. Just to prepare, defend and receive congressional approval for our budget takes about 24 months."

Overall, he added, it takes 81 months – nearly seven years -- from an IT program first being funded until it becomes operational. This means the equipment already is four generations old by the time it gets in the hands of servicemembers.

Cancelling programs that don't work, are redundant or are too specialized is another way to shape the budget, Lynn said. Gates has made the hard decisions, he told the group, and the programs he has cancelled or recommended for cancellation would have cost $330 billion if they continued.

"By exercising program discipline, we are able to direct resources to the highest priority programs," Lynn said. "These tough decisions enhance our ability to protect the American people."

The changing environment places great stress on the military and the department, the deputy secretary said. "Succeeding in these tumultuous times, while prevailing in Afghanistan and Iraq, will not be easy," said he added. "But I'm confident that we have charted a path that will keep out nation safe."

Biden Kicks off Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2010 - "Riders ready?" Vice President Joe Biden asked wounded warriors this morning before sounding the air horn that kicked off the fourth annual "White House to Light House" Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride.

Twenty-eight wounded warriors got a vice presidential sendoff at the White House south lawn today as they launched a three-day bicycle and wheelchair ride to show the world and themselves what they're still capable of accomplishing.

Joined by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, along with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and National Security Advisor James L. Jones Jr., the vice president told the participants they define what America represents.

"Your losses to most Americans are incomprehensible, but what's even more, more unfathomable to Americans, is your courage," he said. "You have no idea, I expect, what an inspiration you are to all Americans."

Calling the wounded warriors "the heart and the soul and the spine" of the United States, he said they set an example for others to emulate.

"You not only let us know what we should be, you're showing us that we can be anything we want to be," Biden said. "And for that, I thank you on behalf of my children and my grandchildren and all Americans."

Almost 600 active-duty servicemembers, along with the wounded warriors' families and caregivers, crowded the White House lawn to cheer on the participants as they set out on their ride. They erupted in cheers after the vice president sounded the air horn to kick off the ride, the cyclists whizzed by him, waving as they made a loop around the asphalt trail that rings the south lawn.

"As you circle this lawn and ride out of the White House gate, know that we will be cheering for you every mile of your journey," Jill Biden told the riders. "Thank you for your service, your courage and for your sacrifices for our country. Thank you on behalf of a grateful nation."

After leaving the White House, the riders will make stops at the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, followed by a reception at the U.S. Capitol. Tomorrow, the riders will visit Baltimore's Inner Harbor and see an Orioles baseball game at Camden Yards. The final day of the ride, they will visit Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington in Maryland, then historic downtown Annapolis and the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Chris Roberts, director of the Soldier Ride, said riders get excited about the reception they receive in the nation's capital and Maryland. "It is also particularly meaningful for them to ride past areas of historical significance to the country while drawing attention to the needs of the greatest patriots of this generation," he said.

Soldier Ride is a program of the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides key rehabilitation opportunities for wounded warriors and raises public awareness for those who have been severely injured during the current conflicts.

All participants with a disability or missing a limb or limbs are provided the adaptive equipment customized to their individual needs.

NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Tom Kreidel, Naval Facilities Engineering Command

April 29, 2010 - NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic hosted a ceremony at building LP-20 on board Naval Station Norfolk April 26.

Capt. Mark Libonate relieved Capt. David Boone as commanding officer.

Boone explained that the venue, a maintenance garage for the Norfolk Public Works department was in honor of the NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic work force of more than 3,500. During the ceremony, guest speaker Rear Adm. Mark Boensel, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic praised Boone's performance as both NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic commanding officer and regional engineer.

He cited Boone's work in Base Re-alignment and Closure, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects, along with the day-to-day work of maintaining and improving bases throughout the NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility, which stretches from North Carolina to Maine.

"There is no disputing the numbers, the employees of this command have done extraordinary work to accomplish the mission across the entire Area of Responsibility," said Boone. "But it is not the numbers; it is the people I will remember most.

Rear Adm. Kevin Slates, commander NAVFAC Atlantic presented Boone with the Legion of Merit for his work over the last 19 months at NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic. Boone, who has recently been selected for advancement to rear admiral, will report to his next assignment as director, Shore Readiness Division (N-46) on the Chief of Naval Operation's staff.

Libonate comes to NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic from NAVFAC Atlantic where he served as operations officer.

Crews Vie for Top Spot in Fleet Week Damage Control Olympics

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles, Fleet Week Media Center

April 29, 2010 - PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors and Coast Guardsmen came together for a bit of friendly competition at the Damage Control (DC) Olympics, an event held as part of the 20th Anniversary Fleet Week Port Everglades.

DC Olympics is an annual tradition at the south Florida-based fleet week, pitting damage control teams against each other. The timed multi-stage event is designed to test all aspects of damage control aboard a ship. The events in this year's competition included fire attack, search and rescue, p-100 race, dress out relay, and pipe patching.

"This is stuff we do on our ship on a daily basis, now we get to come out and do it for fun," said Fireman Aubry Rupp, from the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) team.

Teams from multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), guided missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40), USCGC Key Biscayne (WPB 1339) and German multi-purpose frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) gave it their all.

"It gives them something to do besides remain on the ship. It's a great day to be outside, to have a little fun, and cheer on their teammates," said Bob Corbett, Lead Instructor at Resolve Marine Group. The marine services company has a facility located at Port Everglades, and they have hosted the Fleet Week DC Olympics for the past several years.

The competition requires speed, technical skill, damage control knowledge and communication, and though the competition is more about fun and camaraderie, it is nice to be the winner, as the Iwo Jima team learned when they took the first place trophy. The German ship Hessen placed second, and the Coast Guard cutter Key Biscayne took third place.

The event was held as part of the 20th anniversary of Fleet Week Port Everglades, which started April 26 and will last through May 3.