Monday, May 10, 2010

Armed Forces Ride Raises Money for Wounded Warriors Fund

By Machinist's Mate Fireman Wade Oberlin, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Bangor Public Affairs

May 10, 2010 - BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Navy and Marine Corps commands teamed up with the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce and a local motorcycle dealership for the Armed Forces Day Ride and Poker Run May 8.

Riders checked in at The Brothers Powersports motorcycle shop, made sure everyone had their proper protective equipment, and prepared for their cross-county motorcycle trip to Manchester Park, Keyport's Naval Undersea Museum, Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton and the Bremerton Olympic College campus.

All net proceeds were used to benefit the Wounded Warriors Fund.

Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class (SW) Derrick Bennet assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) said there were many benefits of the group ride.

"It was fun; it was sunny. It's for a good cause, and it was very accommodating of everyone, civilians, Navy and Marine Corps. I have been a rider for eight years now, and this has been by far the largest group ride I have seen sponsored by a dealership. Riders who have been around for a while can get into it, but it also really helps show new guys the ropes."

Upon returning to The Brothers Powersports, riders were treated to a barbeque and an awards ceremony with door prizes including hats, T-shirts and sets of free tires. Brothers Powersports also provided dynamometer-testing on participants’' bikes at no charge.

"We wanted to make this the biggest and best ride in the county, even the state," said Brian Nilsen, Brothers Powersports general manager. "It's a public and private event, and it really shows camaraderie between civilians and military. We all ride, and we can all ride together. This was our very first annual ride. It was safe, enjoyable, and it went towards a good cause."

NEX Launches New Online Store

By Kristine M. Sturkie, Navy Exchange Service Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA ABEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Authorized patrons of the Navy Exchange (NEX) now have the added convenience of shopping online with the launching of its new Web-based store at

The new Web site features select merchandise such as tactical gear, Navy uniforms, Navy Pride items, fitness apparel and shoes, motorcycle safety gear, watches and sunglasses.

"We want our NEX customers to be able to purchase great merchandise geared towards our Navy Sailors online," said Karen Connery, Navy Exchange Service Command's (NEXCOM) director of merchandising e-commerce. "This new online store will prove especially helpful for those customers who don't live near a NEX, like many of our Reservists, retirees and deployed active duty. We want all our customers to have access to the products they need at the great savings the NEX offers."

NEXCOM oversees NEX operations worldwide. According to NEXCOM officials, the new venture is the first phase in a major leap to satisfy the growing interest of online shopping in an extremely competitive retail industry.

In conforming with Navy regulations and privacy concerns, NEXCOM developed a secure system that validates authorized customers from those that aren't eligible before accessing the online store. Once a customer is confirmed as an authorized patron, access is granted into the online store where they can shop and purchase merchandise. Once a transaction is completed, the site allows customers to track their purchases and the delivery process.

Customers can also purchase NEX Gift Cards on the new Web site. This feature continues to be available outside the customer validation firewall for both exchange-authorized and non-authorized customers. NEX Gift Cards can be purchased in varying amounts from $5 and up and can be redeemed at any military exchange around the world.

To save on paper and postage, customers may also sign up to receive the new digitally-enhanced NEX sales flyer rather than have one mailed to their home. The NEX also offers e-mail and text messaging services to inform customers of events at their local store, such as special sales events or guest appearances – all in an effort to enhance the convenience and shopping experience for the customer. Customers can sign up for the free e-mail and text messaging services, find information regarding weekly sales, locate NEX stores and access customer service features on the new website. Customers can also follow what is happening at the NEX on both Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

NEXCOM's command-specific information has been relocated to a new Web site domain under Naval Supply Systems Command's Web site. Information about NEXCOM's enterprise including the programs it oversees, such as Ship's Stores; Navy Clothing, Textile and Research Facility; Uniform Program Management Office; Navy Lodges and the Telecommunications Program, can be accessed at: The NEXCOM Web site is located on the left hand side of the page under the section entitled "Our Team."

"Both public-access websites are cross-linked so customers can move from one site to the other with ease," said Connery.

McChrystal, Eikenberry Express Confidence in Strategy

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 10, 2010 - Here for Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit this week with President Barack Obama and other high-level administration officials, the top military commander and senior U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan both expressed confidence today that the U.S. strategy being employed there will succeed. "Seeing clearly the challenges in front of us, I have confidence that our campaign plan will succeed," Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, told reporters in the White House briefing room.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry expressed similar confidence in progress taking shape. "I've got cautious optimism that we're making progress right now on an array of areas that are critical to our combined success with Afghanistan," he said.

"We're having military successes," he added. "We're having success in terms of working with the government on a basis of partnership to steadily improve the capacity and accountability of the government. We're making a great success in trying to come up with ways to make progress in the economy."

Eikenberry expressed hope that this week's sessions will reaffirm mutual commitment toward building on this success while addressing challenges yet to be confronted.

"Our two governments will frankly address these challenges in the next few days, with an eye on developing common solutions and with confidence that we have now the necessary resources, the appropriate strategy and the national will to make continued progress," he said.

The top strategic priority in Afghanistan is development of Afghan national security forces that ultimately will secure the country, McChrystal told reporters. "Much work lies ahead to mature this force," he said, "but its growth is largely on track."

Meanwhile, McChrystal called securing the southern part of Afghanistan the top operational priority, and cited additional forces flowing into Afghanistan to support Afghan efforts as key to its success.

He noted operations started 10 months ago into Taliban-controlled parts of the Helmand River valley that expanded the Afghan government's influence there. Earlier this year, more U.S. forces arrived to partner with Afghans and secure parts of central Helmand that had remained under Taliban control.

Additional arriving forces will reinforce ongoing efforts to secure Kandahar in an Afghan-led operation that McChrystal said focuses on the province's complex political and governance issues. "These dimensions are at the heart of the problem, and their solution will ultimately be decisive," he said.

"Our efforts in Afghanistan are ultimately about changing the perceptions of people," said McChrystal, emphasizing the importance he has placed on preventing civilian casualties while enhancing security and other developments.

"Afghans long impacted by conflict and struggle believe more of what they see than what they hear," the general said. "Only when they experience security from [insurgent] coercion, and only when they benefit from better governance, will they begin to believe in the possibilities of the future."

It's a process McChrystal conceded won't be easy or happen overnight. "It will demand courage and resilience," he said. "We encounter increased violence as our combined security forces expand into Taliban-controlled areas."

Asked his view of Karzai's reconciliation plans involving the Taliban, McChrystal said the most important thing is that it be "an Afghan solution crafted by Afghans." In addition, such reconciliation efforts must be inclusive and "feel fair to everyone," he said, ensuring "everybody has the opportunity to reintegrate in or rejoin the political process."

McChrystal acknowledged Iran's reach into Afghanistan, but said most of it is "fairly legitimate."

"There is evidence [and] intelligence that indicates some malign activity as well," he said, noting insurgent training and arms shipments. "But, they are not significant in numbers, and they have not been enough to change the basic calculus of the fight at this point."

NMCRS Millington Provides $140,000 in Assistance to Flood Victims

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronda Lyn Spaulding, Naval Support Activity Mid-South Public Affairs

May 10, 2010 - MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Millington office has provided nearly 250 families with financial assistance after the May 1 storm and severe flooding which displaced more than 300 families.

Melissa Cantu, NMCRS Millington office director said the assistance came in the form of $600 checks to families and $300 checks to single Sailors. She also said that more than $140,000 has been awarded through the Millington NMCRS.

"Some of these families lost everything; their houses were under 4-5 feet of water," Cantu said. "They lost their vehicles, their clothing and, their food. Through us, they were able to get enough to get by."

Cantu said the money distributed is designed to provide individuals a means through which to get basic necessities, and will be repaid through an allotment scheduled to begin in August. Cantu added that when she realized the seriousness of the situation, she immediately contacted the NSA Mid-South Emergency Management Office in an effort to determine when she could start disseminating funds to individuals affected by the flooding. She added that families have been grateful for the assistance they have received.

"We've had several families that have come in and have been so thankful that we've been there for them," she said. "With this, they can get their children some clothes to go back to school. We have always tried to be on the ground and in first response as quickly as possible. And we're always here to help."

Hospital Ship Mercy Visits Pearl Harbor, en route for Pacific Partnership

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

May 10, 2010 - PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 8, while en route for its Pacific Partnership 2010 (PP10) mission.

"The Pacific Partnership leadership aboard Mercy are Capt. Lisa Franchetti, Mercy's mission commander; Military Sealift Command Capt. David Bradshaw, Mercy's civil service master; and Capt. Jeffery Paulson, commanding officer of Mercy's shipboard hospital.

"Mercy is a big part of our Maritime Strategy," said Franchetti. "Being able to build cooperation and strengthen our regional alliances is a key component of our strategy. We want to engage the world and build partnerships that we continue to grow."

Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian civic assistance endeavors aimed at strengthening regional relationships with host nations and partner nations in Southeast Asia and Oceania.

"This deployment offers an incredible opportunity to continue to build the relationships and capabilities that will be essential in responding to real world disaster in the region," Franchetti said.

The deployment, which is scheduled to take place through late September 2010, is designed to enhance relationships through medical, dental and engineering outreach projects that reinforce the mutually supporting roles between participants.

Mercy, as lead vessel, is scheduled to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The medical treatment facility includes multiple operating rooms, sophisticated X-ray capabilities and more than 500 volunteer and military staff. Two additional visits will be made in Palau and Papua New Guinea by other Navy and partner nation ships as part of PP10.

"We're very excited to be there," said Franchetti. "As you know, the mission, in a lot of ways, has been planned for the last two years. The last time Mercy was out was in 2008. We've really been working hard at the Pacific Fleet level to develop the mission. It seems like we've been planning on this forever, so we are really excited about getting there and getting started."

Mercy is one of two U.S. Navy hospital ships and is crewed by 66 civil service mariners, of the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, who navigate the ship to each mission stop, run the ship's engineering plant and transport patients and mission personnel between ship and shore in small boats.

Pacific Partnership conducts humanitarian and civic assistance by working with and through host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government agencies. In addition to providing humanitarian assistance, Pacific Partnership also provides valuable experiences to learn from host nation military and civilian experts. This experience helps ensure the U.S. military is able to rapidly respond in support of emergency relief efforts in the future.



Mission Essential Personnel, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded on May 7 a $679,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity with cost-plus-award fee contract. This contract action seeks the continuation of linguist/translation services which provide our forces with the ability to communicate effectively with the local populace, gather information for force protection, and interact with foreign military units in Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan (86.202 percent); Bahrain (0.926 percent); Djibouti (0.102 percent); Germany (2.081 percent); HOA (1.230 percent); Italy (0.92 percent); Kenya (0.174 percent); Kirgizia (0.042 percent); Qatar (0.163 percent); Redstone Arsenal, Ala. (0.002 percent); Camp Pendleton, Calif. (1.235 percent); Los Angeles, Calif. (0.002); Atlanta, Ga. (0.002 percent); Fort Gordon, Ga., (4.743 percent); Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. (0.504 percent); Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (0.401 percent); Camp Lejeune, N.C. (0.501 percent); Fort Bragg, N.C. (0.127 percent); Nashville, Tenn. (0.001 percent); Fort Hood, Texas. (0.343 percent); San Antonio, Texas. (0.0104 percent); Arlington, Va. (0.027 percent); Fort Belvoir, Va. (0.144 percent); and Quantico, Va., (0.017 percent), with an estimated completion date of Apr. 1, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting, Alexandra, Va., is the contracting activity (W911W4-07-D-0010).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on May 7 a $410,066,021 firm-fixed-price contract for the production of 2,634 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles; 2,230 trucks; and 404 trailers. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. TACOM LCMC, Warren CCTA-ATB, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Textron Systems Corp., Slidell, La., was awarded on May 7 a $290,169,680 firm-fixed-price contract to establish the following options to be exercised between the date of award and Sept. 30, 2011: 475 M1117 armored security vehicles (ASV); 220 M1200 Armored Knights (AK); 82 M1117 ASV field sets; 28 M1117 sustainment sets; 63 M1200 AK field sets; 21 M1200 AK sustainment sets; 240,000 systems technical support hours; 19,710 Iraq/Afghanistan field services representative (FSR) man-days; 2,190 Kuwait FSR man-days; and 6,570 FSR man-days throughout the continental U.S. Exercising the following options: 327 M1117 ASVs; 96 M1200 AKs; 55 M1117 ASV sustainment sets; 19 M1117 ASV sustainment sets; and 44 M1200 AK field sets. Work is to be performed in Slidell, La., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, CCTA-ATB-D, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0532).

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on May 7 a $105,334,824 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for fiscal 2010 Patriot engineering services contract for 907,043 man-hours of effort. Work is to be performed in Tewksbury, Mass (73.77 percent); Andover, Mass. (12.79 percent); Huntsville, Ala. (7.02 percent); Burlington, Mass. (4.46 percent); and El Paso, Texas (1.96 percent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2014. One bid is solicited with one bid received. Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0057).

Honeywell International, Inc., Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded on May 7 a $93,391,753 firm-fixed-price contract. This modification is for a funding action to provide parts and support for the overhaul of 1,000 automotive gas turbines; 1,500 engines; or equivalents for Program Year 5 of the Total Integrated Engine Revitalization program support of Abrams tank production, Abrams derivative vehicles, and Army stock spares. Work is to be performed in Phoenix, Ariz. (66 percent); Greer, S.C. (19 percent); Anniston, Ala. (13 percent); and Rocky Mount, N.C. (2 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM, Warren, AMSCC-TAC-AHPD, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-C-0173).

Hellfire Systems, LLC, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on May 7 an $84,515,385 firm-fixed-price contract for fiscal 2010 option exercise for a total quantity of 1,253 Hellfire II missiles. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-08-C-0361).

A. E. New Jr., Inc, Pensacola, Fla., was awarded on May 6 a $16,132,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design-build two single-story sprinkler-equipped child development center facilities, each consisting of a concrete foundation, split-faced concrete block over a steel frame, and sloped standing seam metal roof. Facility includes core administration area, staff support area, facility support area, and child care areas. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 17, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with 21 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-10-C-0060).

BAE Systems, Sealy, Texas, was awarded on May 7 a $11,942,784 firm-fixed-price contract for the federal retail excise tax for 401 M1157A1P2 10-ton dump trucks scheduled to remain within the continental U.S. Work is to be performed in Sealy, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

AeroVironment, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded a $11,198,967 firm-fixed-price contract to definitize and exercise not-to-exceed fiscal 2010 option for 113 full rate production Raven systems, 113 Raven initial spare packages, and Raven engineering services. This effort procures 63 Raven systems; 63 Raven initial spare packages; Raven engineering services; and logistics support for the family of systems proof of principle. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338).

Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc., Houma, La., was awarded on May 6 a $9,410,156 firm-fixed-price contract to obtain marine services to modify the dredge Potter. The modification includes replacing the existing upper deckhouse and pilothouse areas. This project requires engineering and design, fabrication, testing, and delivery services to provide the required modifications. The dredge Potter is in support of dredging efforts for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District. Work is to be performed in Houma, La., with an estimated completion date of July 23, 2011. Thirteen bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-10-C-0019).

Hawker Beechcraft Corp., Wichita, Kan., was awarded on May 6 a $6,219,165 firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of one Beechcraft King Air B350 aircraft in a click configuration. Work is to be performed in Wichita, Kan., with an estimated completion date of April 28, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Commands, CCAM-RD-F, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0087).


Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a cost-plus-incentive-fee modification with a total value of $54,320,048 under contract N00024-07-C-6119. Under this modification, Raytheon will procure, fabricate, and assemble Standard Missile-3 Block IA spares common and unique material for the U.S. manufacturing components and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) manufacturing components. The work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. The performance period for this work is from May 2010 through March 2011. Research, development, test, and evaluation funding fiscal 2010 ($15,000,000) and FMS funding fiscal 2010 ($7,905,395) will be used to incrementally fund this effort in the amount of $22,905,395. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (HQ0276).


L3 Communications Integrated Systems, LP, Greenville, Texas, was awarded a $31,072,452 contract which will provide preliminary design review through critical design review to include both A & B kits for the C-20B switch digitization airborne information management system Phase II prototype and install. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-08-C-0005).

Raytheon Co., Omaha, Neb., was awarded a $21,778,959 contract which will provide for joint environment toolkit program which represents the next generation of existing weather systems, focusing on the incremental integration, consolidation, extension, and potential replacement of existing and evolving meteorological operational capability component systems capabilities. At this time, $7,203,670 has been obligated. 651 ESS, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8720-04-C-0015).

Barksdale Airmen test ability during exercise

by Staff Sgt. John Gordinier
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

5/10/2010 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- Approximately 150 maintenance Airmen, 2nd Bomb Wing pilots and support members recently returned from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, where they participated in the 10-day Exercise Red Flag-Alaska.

The exercise is designed to provide realistic and demanding air-combat training to flying unit members from across the Air Force, Department of Defense and Allied nations.

"Everyone who participates (in the exercise) benefits greatly from the training," said Maj. Thomas Aranda, the 96th Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations. "The aviators enjoy some of the most realistic air-combat training available and the maintainers push the edge of the envelope by generating combat power under very tight timelines and challenging conditions."

Support personnel also benefit from the exercise by operating in a deployed environment and acquiring experience in providing expeditionary combat support to the joint war-fighter, the major said.

According to Major Aranda, there are two critical aspects of Red Flag: integration and realism.

Integration provides rare opportunities for combat Airmen from across the armed forces to meet and practice combat tactics together, Major Aranda said. This provides B-52 Stratofortress combat aviators valuable experience integrating with the rest of the combat air forces.

Captain A.J. Schrag, the 96th Bomb Squadron B-52 pilot, agreed.

"These types of exercises are fantastic," he said. "Any exercise with many people from many different backgrounds, unifying as one team, adds extreme value in mission capability and readiness."

"Integration also provides our escort fighters experience in protecting the bomber, which is something we want them to do well when we go to combat," Major Aranda said. "Our crews learn quite a bit from other units and they learn from us. It is a win-win situation."

Major Aranda said realism provides relevant combat training to participating units. The events associated with combat, from adversary tactics to friendly force operations, are replicated as authentically as possible. A notional Combined Air Operations Center sends an air tasking order to exercise participants every day. The aviators, maintainers and support personnel then plan and execute missions to fulfill the requirements in the ATO.

"The tactical problems are demanding and push aviators and maintainers to new heights," the major said. "During execution, highly trained aggressors replicate adversary tactics and provide a realistic combat experience to the exercise participants. This sharpens the edge of the warfighter and results in finely honed combat Airmen."

This is one of many Red Flag-Alaska exercises to come.

Red Flag-Alaska occurs four times per year during the non-winter season and takes place at both Eielson and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Units deploy to both bases and meet in the air over the state of Alaska twice a day for two weeks to conduct their exercise training.

Captain Schrag gathered some experience by participating in the exercise.

"I enjoyed learning the specific capabilities of the B-52H," he said. "This exercise shows each pilot and maintainer how they fit into the big picture. It gives you more insight on what you bring to the fight."

"We are very grateful for the opportunity to participate in Exercise Red Flag-Alaska," Major Aranda said. "I am very proud of our maintainers for producing B-52 sorties at a rate well above average with scarce resources. Our aviators held their own in a demanding combat-like environment and integrated well. They did a tremendous job."

Fighter Squadron produces 205 sorties in three days

by Senior Airman Frances Locquiao
23rd Wing Public Affairs

5/10/2010 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Members of the 74th Fighter Squadron here recently produced a total of 205 sorties while conducting surge operations April 26 through 28.

The squadron's main focus during the surge operations was to test their capability to produce as many sorties as possible within the three-day span and to simulate pilots' wartime flying rates. A successfully generated flight is considered to be a single sortie.

"Conducting surge operations is a great opportunity to build morale while at the same time preparing our personnel for deployments," said Capt. Jeremy Jacobson, the 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. "In addition, it helps increase flying hours and sorties as well as pushes the limits of pilots, maintainers and support functions."

The original goal of the surge was to produce 138 sorties.

"I've been flying this jet since 1996, and I've never seen a unit produce this many sorties," said Lt. Col. James Clark, the 74th Fighter Squadron commander and A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot.

To accomplish the 205 sorties, each pilot spent at least five hours per day flying the aircraft.

"Most pilots were flying three lines a day and would turn over the aircraft so another pilot could fly two more sorties," Captain Jacobson said. "It's so impressive to have observed the continuous efforts of everyone to help generate as many sorties as possible."

The surge was not only a test to see how many sorties could be produced, but also a learning tool for maintainers as well.

"It is an opportunity for maintainers to test their learned skills," said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Townes Jr., the 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "When they see the number of aircraft they launched during the three days, they see the fruits of their labor and realize how vital they are to the mission. It also reminds them that as a team they can accomplish anything."

Although the surge lasted for only three days, it took two months of preparation to organize the event.

"We made sure that everyone was up to date in all of their training," Captain Jacobson said. "All of our A-10s also went through early maintenance so they would be ready to fly during the three days."

After the successful three days and months of planning, Captain Jacobson said it was the hard work and dedication that made the execution of the surge possible.

"We have far exceeded our goals and I want to thank everyone for their hard work," he said. The 74th FS will use the surge operations event as a template for the upcoming Phase II Operational Readiness Exercises.

Navy Hero Honored in New York

By Lt. Sean P. Riordan, Navy Office of Information, East

May 10, 2010 - New York City (NNS) -- A portrait of Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt. Michael Murphy was unveiled during a ceremony attended by Murphy's family at Fort Hamilton, N.Y., May 7.

Yoni Park, a Fellow at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, painted the portrait that will be displayed prominently at the New York City Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) where Murphy was processed for entry into the Navy.

The painting, based on one of the last photographs taken of Murphy, shows him with a beard and laden with the tools of his trade as a Navy SEAL.

"That photo was chosen because it tells the story of Mike Murphy," said retired Navy Cmdr. Ellen Emerson, the former commander of the MEPS. "He was a SEAL committed to his mission and his men."

Emerson commissioned the painting while she was commanding the MEPS.

"I thought the painting would be great way to inspire our applicants, but I also thought it would serve as an inspiration for the staff – to remind them of the incredible potential in the young men and women we process every day," said Emerson.

Yoni Park, the artist, called this one of her most important paintings because it honors a man who gave his life in service to the nation honoring a solemn oath he made. This painting and his memory will now serve as inspiration for the future service members taking that same oath.

Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, the deputy commander of Naval Special Warfare Command and the keynote speaker, said there was no better inspiration for young men and women contemplating the commitment they are making to the military.

"It is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and Mike was one of those guys. He was a true teammate fighting for the guy on his left and the guy on his right," said Bonelli.

The Medal of Honor was awarded to Murphy posthumously for his actions in Afghanistan in 2005.

The New York MEPS is one of 65 stations located throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Its mission is to ensure all applicants for enlistment in the Armed Forces meet the aptitude, physical and moral standards of the Department of Defense.

Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Event Raises Awareness

By April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs

May 10, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Motorcycle riders stationed in and around Washington got an opportunity to hone their skills, swap riding stories, and learn from professional riders May 7-8 at the fourth annual Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Event.

The event's keynote speaker was Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). He commended the Navy and Marine Corps for their successes in motorcycle safety, noting that fatalities in fiscal year 2009 were down by 61 percent for Sailors and 44 percent for Marines.

"This was no fluke," he said. "It was due to committed leadership across the fleet and to riders like you who decided to close the gap between what the rules for responsible riding say, and what you actually do out there on the roads."

The motorcycle rodeo featured several screenings of the Marine Corps-funded feature film "Semper Ride" and demonstrations by several stunt riders. Athletes who appeared in the movie were on hand to sign autographs and speak to riders about motorcycle safety. Garcia said riders of all experience levels can learn from the stars of the film, who always wear the proper personal protective equipment, and who only ride fast in controlled environments, such as motorcycle racetracks.

"If you are one of those people who feel the need for speed, take a lesson from these guys and get to the track. That's where speed belongs – not out on the highway," Garcia said.

The Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Event also featured information from various Department of Defense agencies. Of particular note to Sailors is the new requirement that all motorcycle training be logged in the web-enabled Enterprise Safety Application Management System, or ESAMS, which can be accessed at Each service had motorcycle safety experts available to speak to riders and help ensure they comply with all training and PPE requirements.

Garcia said motorcycle safety events like this one at the Pentagon are happening all across the fleet, and that they serve an important purpose.

"As you well know, our resources are stretched thin," he said. "Many of you have been asked to do more with less. That's why the loss of even a single trained and ready Sailor or Marine is so tragic. These are preventable losses, and we can't afford them. The American people are counting on each of you to ride smart."

Navy Personnel Command Gets Back to Business

May 10, 2010 - MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Just a week after torrential rains sent up to four feet of water across Naval Support Activity Mid-South (NSA) Millington, Navy Personnel Command (NPC), with the assistance of NSA personnel, have restored the majority of services that support the fleet.

The May 1 flooding caused base-wide power and phone outages, interrupted internet access and damaged the servers that provide NMCI services to the more than 2,000 military, civilians and contractors that work at NPC as well as PERSNET which hosts a variety of systems that provide services to the fleet.

"We are incredibly lucky that no one was injured May 1st," said Rear Adm. Don Quinn, commander, Navy Personnel Command. "We, the entire Millington military community, all came together to support the local families who lost their homes and possessions and then turned to restoring our mission of supporting personnel in the fleet.

"Many of our NPC buildings were damaged by the flood. At least three buildings' first decks are still uninhabitable," said Quinn. "Most heavily damaged include the Reserve Personnel Management Division, the officer detailer offices and the computer server buildings."

The Reserve Personnel Management Division has relocated to the local Navy Operational Support Center and minimal services have been restored.

"We're open for business, and we're providing basic services now and hope to be at 90 percent by the end of this week. We expect to steadily add to the services we're providing as they become available" said Capt. Greg Smith, assistant chief for Reserve Personnel Management.

"We ask for patience as we bring more processes back online. We want to assure members of the Reserve force that their information is secure and that they can be proud of the way their fellow Reservists, active duty counterparts and civilian peers all pulled together to protect the computers and files that make up their records," said Smith.

The NPC Customer Service Center was also located in a heavily damaged building.

"We were able to relocate agents and get them back on the phones in a short period of time but ask that, for the next few days, only those with emergency questions call," said Fred Chambers, director, Customer Relations Management department.

"In addition to taking calls, we have begun processing the electronically submitted selection board packages. Members can check the status of their packages by logging into and select 'selection board status' in the upper right-hand box," Chambers said. "Also I would ask those who submitted any information via fax after 30 April to resubmit the information electronically."

Electrical power and most phones were restored by May 6 and some personnel began to return to business.

"The Web site is back online, but at this time we have no ability to change or add information to the front page of the site. We will update information as soon as we can but until then we are still using social media avenues to inform the fleet," said Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Mertz, NPC public affairs officer.

Some selection boards were affected by the flood, the E-8 Active Duty board was suspended and the O-4 Staff Board was postponed along with some Admin Screening boards.

"The systems that support officer statutory boards are back up and have been tested. However, some systems that support Enlisted Boards are not up. Once the final systems are up and tested for the enlisted boards we'll update the schedule," said Capt. Leo Falardeau, NPC assistant commander for Career Progression. "The active 0-4 Staff Board has now been rescheduled to convene on May 20. No boards have been cancelled. Everyone will still get their chance in front of their board."

According to Falardeau, the Active E-7 Board is a priority and NPC is working to minimize impact on the fleet to have a full as possible "induction season" for the new chief selects.

Today, PERSNET is back on-line. It hosts BUPERS on Line (BOL), Electronic Military Personnel Records System (EMPRS), Electronic Service Record (ESR), Web-Enabled Record Review (WERR), Career Management System/Interactive Detailing (CMS/ID), Perform to Serve (PTS) and Fleet Rating Identification Engine (FleetRIDE), Physical Readiness Information Management System (PRIMS) and the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) which serve the whole Navy and all are back on line.

"Navy Personnel Command is basically open for business," said Ann Stewart, deputy commander, Navy Personnel Command.

"We still would like the fleet to have some patience with us as we finish bringing the systems back up and getting the last of our folks relocated into new spaces," said Stewart.

She also asked the fleet to limit calls to emergencies this week as they move people into offices and set up phones and computers.

The NSA base commanding officer has warned it could take months to complete the building renovations for NPC's most severely damaged spaces according to Stewart.

Stewart is committed to being back to providing full level of service to the Fleet soon as possible.

"As we continue to do reconstruction over the next months there may be short periods of power outages and loss of connectivity and we would appreciate people's continued understanding while we recover from this significant event," said Stewart.

Peace Officers' Memorial Day.

EXECUTIVE ORDER # 314 - As a Mark of Respect for Peace Officers Who Have Given Their Lives in the Line of Duty - Peace Officers' Memorial Day.

Date: May 15, 2010

Details: The flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Wisconsin shall be flown at half-staff at all buildings, grounds and military installations of the State of Wisconsin equipped with such flags beginning at sunrise on Saturday, May 15, 2010, and ending at sundown on that date.

Any jurisdiction of this state is authorized to fly the flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Wisconsin at half-staff on any day during Police Week (May 10, 2010 through May 16, 2010) for the purpose of honoring, in a public ceremony, peace officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

DOD authorizes HSM for Haiti relief efforts

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

May 10, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –The Department of Defense has approved the Humanitarian Service Medal for personnel assigned to Operation Unified Response who directly participated in humanitarian relief assistance to the people of Haiti following a 7.0 earthquake Jan. 12, 2010.

U.S. military personnel supporting Joint Task Force-Haiti, for at least one day between Jan. 13 to Feb. 4, must have been assigned to the immediate area of operation within the earthquake’s 41-mile radius of Port au Prince, Haiti.

Individuals who believe they are eligible for the HSM must provide source documents confirming their entitlement to the award to their unit commander or designated representative. The source documents include temporary duty orders, travel voucher, decoration citation, performance report, etc. Documents must show the operation being supported, location and duration of service in the qualifying area.

For more information on this and other Air Force recognition programs, visit the Air Force Personnel Center personnel services website or call the Air Force's 24/7 Total Force Service Center toll-free at (800) 525-0102.

Officials still seeking those impacted by stop loss

Daniel P. Elkins
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

May 10, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – More than 2,600 current and former Airmen have been approved for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay since Air Force Personnel Center officials here began accepting claims in September.

Officials continue to seek Airmen who were involuntarily held on active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, to determine if they may be eligible for the special pay compensation of $500 for each month they were affected. Eligibility includes active, retired and former servicemembers as well as members of the Reserve component who served on active duty while their enlistment or period of obligated service was involuntarily extended, or whose eligibility for separation or retirement was suspended as a result of stop loss.

Eligible individuals have until Oct. 21, 2010, to file their claim with AFPC. Claims are being evaluated based upon historical records as well as all supporting documentation the applicant may submit. Officials here have received more than 3,200 claims to date with just about 100 still pending review or approval determination.

“The process is running very smoothly,” said Lt. Col. Damon Menendez, chief of the AFPC Separations Branch. “The more information the member provides, the better. However, we are still able to adjudicate cases efficiently whether the member provides supporting documents or not.”

Of the fewer than 500 claims disapproved, Colonel Menendez cites two chief reasons those claims have been found to be ineligible. First, while a member's Air Force specialty code was affected by stop loss, the individual’s desired date of separation or retirement date was not impacted involuntarily. Second, the member accepted a selective re-enlistment bonus subsequent to being affected by stop loss, which by law disqualifies the member for the stop loss special pay.

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriation Act set aside $534.4 million for the Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay compensation authority. The Air Force used stop loss for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001-2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

To file a claim, eligible members or legally designated beneficiaries may download a stop loss claim application at Applicants who were serving in the Reserve or Guard at the time of stop loss may find an application by visiting the Air Reserve Personnel Center website at

“If you are unsure as to whether or not you are eligible, apply,” Colonel Menendez urged. “You have nothing to lose and potentially $500 or more to gain.”

For more information on program eligibility and claims instructions, visit the Air Force Personnel Center public website or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

Guardsman Gears Up for Warrior Games

By Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada
Texas National Guard

May 10, 2010 - A Texas National Guard soldier receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder hopes to get a boost in his recovery by competing in the inaugural Warrior Games this week in Colorado Springs, Colo. Army Spc. Shawn Porter will compete in the 10-meter air rifle standing/non-supported and the 30-meter recurve-bow open events.

The 136th Military Police Battalion soldier deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. While recovering from surgery at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany in November,

Porter was diagnosed with PTSD and transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where has been undergoing treatment when he's not at the shooting range.

"The intense six- to eight-hour rifle and archery training is helping me to quiet my brain," he said. "When I shoot, I can only focus on one thing, and I believe the sport has helped me therapeutically."

Porter said he used to be one of those soldiers who don't believe in PTSD.

"This has been a real eye-opener for me," he said. "The PTSD did not manifest itself after I returned from Iraq, but was [was] diagnosed when I returned for surgery from Afghanistan during my second deployment." Porter said he wanted to return to Afghanistan after his surgery, but the PTSD prevented that from happening.

"It is an illness, and because I am seeing my psychologist twice a week, I am making great progress," he said. "When I returned home, I could not cope with being a dad and husband, and my family deserves that I get good treatment."

The sport is a healing aid, Porter said, because it has allowed his competitive nature to come to the forefront.

"I am confident that I will bring back medals," he said, "and I want my fellow soldiers to know that I will be doing it for the 136th MP Battalion in Tyler, Texas."

Porter is a part-time soldier. When he's not activated for military duty, he manages an outdoor sports warehouse in civilian life. He has been training with archery coach Skip Dawson.

"He has the patience and intelligence to do it," Dawson said of Porter's ability to compete in archery events. "He is physically in very good shape, and his stance and form are very good."

Competition comes naturally to Porter, who likes to hike, fish, hunt and ski. He trains every day.

I can't stand to stay home and do nothing," Porter said. "I just have to stay busy."

The Warrior Games, which kick off today, feature some 200 of the most athletic wounded active-duty members and military veterans in Paralympic-style competition. The U.S. Olympic Committee is hosting the games at the Olympic Training Center. Events will include shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.