Military News

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Disabled Vets, Troops Compete in First Warrior Games

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

May 11, 2010 - Let the games begin.

With the lighting of the ceremonial Olympic cauldron by National Football League hall of famer and U.S. Naval Academy graduate Roger Staubach, the much-anticipated inaugural Warrior Games are under way.

Some 200 wounded warriors and disabled veterans from all five branches of military service marched proudly down Irwin "Ike" Belk Olympic Path at the U.S. Olympic Training Center here yesterday evening in the games' opening ceremony.

The ceremony marks the culmination of months of training and an even longer road to recovery for many of the athletes. And although the games are a time for competition and celebration, it may be difficult not to reflect on how the troops earned the title of wounded warrior.

Many had fallen victim to roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others suffer from the psychological toll of long bouts of combat. All served and were willing to sacrifice their lives for their country.

"The cloth of your nation is proud of you today," Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said at the ceremony. "The flag that you fought to represent is proud of you."

Despite their disabilities, this group of troops has learned to adapt and achieve what many of them may have thought impossible. They marched down the Olympic Path with prosthetic limbs and in wheelchairs with a glow of confidence gleaming from within the formation. The roar of cheers from hundreds of families, friends and supporters may have made it difficult for them to disguise their rough, tough military personas.

But the truth is they should be proud. The troops have come a long way to compete in the Paralympic-style events. More than a few of the participants were restricted at one time to their hospital beds, unable to walk and get around on their own. But this week, they will display their re-learned skills in track and field, cycling, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming and marksmanship events.

Their resolve and desire to improve their lives is an inspiration for the nation, Renuart said, and is in keeping with the military community's goal to build resilience among its members. The games are a testament of the influence of sports and proof of what one can accomplish through determination and will power, the general added, noting that the games are a "significant event" for Defense Department and military leaders.

"They know how important this is," he said, "not just to you, but to our services and what we hope to promote for each and every one of our men and women serving as they go forward in their lives."

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter hailed the troops as heroes and role models, calling them "the pride of America" for volunteering to serve and for their ability to triumph over adversity.

"You really are the core of who we are as a people," Ritter said. "Your resilience exemplifies the kinds of things that we would all like to believe about ourselves -- that we would like our children to emulate."

Juan M. Garcia III, assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, lauded the troops for their willingness to compete and to never give up on themselves and their nation. He praised their readiness to accept new challenges.

"Who could not be inspired by what's going on here?" Garcia asked. "Before us are men and women who suffered injuries both physical and mental. [But] they refuse to be defeated, no matter where their battlefields were –- Afghanistan, Iraq, rehab centers or even their own minds.

"It's old cliché saying, 'Getting here makes you winners, no matter the results of the competition,'" Garcia continued. "But just because it's cliché doesn't make it less true."

The games are a joint venture of the Defense Department, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the USO to promote resilience and the healing power of sports. Officials hope to make the games an annual event and possibly expand participation and future venues.

Competition begins today, and the closing ceremony is May 14.

Olympic Path Marks Troops' Journeys to Fulfilled Dreams

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 11, 2010 - The ceremony began much as any typical military procession does – with troops called to formation. "I need a four-man front. Give me a four-man front," yelled a platoon leader.

The troops joked and shifted, jostling about and adjusting spacing.

"Everybody in this row right here, shift back one," the leader called out.

The commands for uniformity kept coming, customary of getting a platoon ready to look its best.

"If you've got a water bottle, get rid of it!"

"Zippers should be zipped up to the writing on the jackets."

But for all of the commands sounded, one stood out and marked the uniqueness of both the occasion and the troops who made up the ranks.

"If you're in a wheelchair, move to the front."

About 200 servicemembers marched down the center of the U.S. Olympic Training Center here yesterday before an enthusiastic crowd of local people, families and volunteers at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Warrior Games.

Hundreds of spectators waved flags, took pictures and cheered and clapped as the formation of troops passed by basking in what has become the gold standard of community support this new generation of veterans enjoys. Hailed as hometown heroes well beyond their capability to take up arms on the battlefield, they are a group of war-wounded veterans who redefine the term "standing on your own two feet."

The ceremonial torch was delivered by a double-leg amputee who had plans to parachute in, an entrance that high winds prevented. In fact, the five troops selected to represent their services carrying the torch along the Olympic path had barely two pairs of real legs among them.

Army Sgt. Robert Price took the torch for the first few steps. His right leg was claimed by a bomb in Iraq in 2007. Price has eyes on making the 2012 U.S. Paralympic team, and he describes himself as a "prior" wounded warrior. He now spends his time in the Army helping others who are just beginning their recovery.

Price joked that he was about as nervous carrying the torch as he was on combat missions in Iraq.

"It's all eyes on you," he said, and then he laughed.

It is not the physical limitations of these troops that define the games -- the omission of the word "wounded" in the title is not unintentional. It is the spirit of these warriors that leaders hope to capture. It is the fight that is left that drives them to compete. It is their dreams that keep them alive.

Navy Master Chief Petty Officer James Wilson was grateful for the dark Ray-Ban sunglasses he wore as he traveled down the path carrying the torch. The salty, 32-year veteran sailor said he was glad no one could see the tears streaming down his face.

Wilson has always been athletic, and like most children, he once dreamed of a sports career on the playing field. But real life led to a career in the Navy. He stayed connected by coaching sports and staying in shape until a 40-foot-fall from a ship in 2003 broke his neck and back, and eventually claimed his right leg.

"I was speechless," Wilson said of the moment he was asked to lead his team at the games. "That was a dream of mine since I was a child. I thought I'd never realize it." This week, Wilson will stand against all odds on a sports field wearing a U.S. uniform and competing against troops half his age.

"I'm going to hold out just fine. It's these guys I'm worried about," he joked.

Jokes are as abundant here as prosthetic limbs.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro, who was burned over 80 percent of his body by a bomb blast in Afghanistan, is notorious for joking about his very visible injuries.

"I didn't want to get burned," he deadpanned when asked what he was thinking as he carried the torch for the Air Force.

Del Toro, or "DT" as he is called, will compete in a host of events, taking on all comers.

"I want to see how good I can do," he said. "It doesn't matter if I am first, second, third or last, as long as I finish."

Del Toro noted that he and the other competitors here are part inspired, part inspiration. There is an odd, harsh reality among this group. A troop struggling with one amputation is encouraged by someone who has overcome the challenges of a double amputation. In turn, they are inspired by a triple amputee.

It is difficult to feel sorry for yourself in this crowd -- not because someone always has it worse, but because people who had been through worse have gone on to realize dreams they never thought possible.

Former Marine Lance Cpl. Chuck Sketch was told a year ago that he had about six months to live. His friends told him to find a nursing home where he could live out his last days. Sketch had joined the Marines 1991. He found out he had a brain tumor in 1993. In 1997, he lost his sight. In 1998, both of his legs were amputated because of blood clots.

"I thought my life was over. I didn't think I would be able to do anything again," Sketch said. But with the help of a determined father and some new chemotherapy introduced to the medical field, Sketch is still alive. And in the past year, he has skied, surfed and swum his way across the country participating in nearly every disabled veteran, Paralympic-sponsored, get-off-your-butt-and-do-it program he can sign up for.

"I never thought I would be here. Not in a million years," he said.

Sketch is even working on his master's degree at night school. His comrades chose the former Marine to carry the torch on their behalf.

"They like my sense of humor, and I have the biggest mouth," he joked.

Sketch said troops here have to work much harder than able-bodied athletes to be where they are. A regular athlete starts training at Square One, he said. These troops, he noted, start at Square "Minus 500."

"You've got to do so much just to get to the point where you can start training," he said.

But don't mistake Sketch's remarks as a plea for sympathy. You won't find any of that here. Sketch trained intensely, and now can perform the 1,500-meter freestyle swim faster than many of his two-legged counterparts.

When asked how he likely will fare this week, Sketch's solemn vow is characteristic of the never-say-uncle, intensely competitive nature of all the troops here. Bonded by the brotherhood of war, brought together by the shared pain of fighting for their very lives, only one thing separates them: the color of their uniforms.

"I'm going to kick the Army's butt," Sketch said.

VA officials cutting insurance premiums for families

Story courtesy of the Air Force News Service

Department of Veterans Affairs officials announced here that military members insuring their families under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, which is administered by the VA, will have reduced out-of-pocket expenses beginning July 1.

"VA hopes these reductions will allow more military personnel to obtain affordable life insurance coverage for their spouses, particularly in these difficult economic times," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Without insurance protection, life after the loss of a spouse can be not only challenging emotionally, but can place a severe financial strain on a family."

Family SGLI, or FSGLI, monthly premium rates will be reduced for all age groups by an average of 8 percent. The new rates are based on revised estimates for the cost of the program. This is the third time that premiums have been reduced since the FSGLI program began in November 2001. Spousal premiums were previously reduced for all age groups in 2003 and 2006.

FSGLI coverage provides life insurance protection to military personnel for their spouses and children. Children are automatically insured for $10,000, with no premiums charged.

Based on the coverage of service members, spouses may be insured for up to $100,000. Military members pay age-based premiums for spousal coverage; the older the spouse, the higher the premium rate.

VA officials said the premium reduction ensures FSGLI remains highly competitive compared to commercial insurers.

FSGLI coverage is available in increments of $10,000. The current and revised monthly premium rates per $10,000 of insurance, along with other information, are available at http://www.insurance.va.gov/.

Airman Attributes Survival to Lifestyle

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

May 11, 2010 - Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Pollock II practically lived in the gym. He was a competitive body builder, a lean 235 pounds with only 10 percent body fat. In August 2008, Pollock was riding his motorcycle to work when he collided with a car that ran through a stop sign. He was traveling 55 miles per hour, and upon impact, he flew 97 feet from his bike. Everything below his waist was broken -- his pelvis, knees, legs and feet.

He was in a coma for three weeks after the accident and was in six different hospitals in six months. All of his broken bones were rebuilt with metal.

"Being a competitive body builder -- staying fit -- saved my life," he said.

Although he is still recovering from his injuries, Pollock continues to stay active. He is one of the wounded, injured and ill airmen representing the Air Force during the inaugural Warrior Games here this week. He will compete along with 17 teammates against participants from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Pollock will compete in multiple events, including wheelchair basketball, shot put and discus, and he will be the only archer representing the Air Force.

He said he first began to play these sports while in therapy at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. The Center for the Intrepid is a rehabilitation center for amputees and burn victims. During therapy, Pollock said, he participated in training camps hosted by trainers from the U.S. Paralympics Committee. Prior to arriving here for training camp, he said, he trained every day in sports similar to those in which he will be competing.

"We train all the time. I'm in therapy; that's my job," he said. "Athletics put you out of the realm of pain, because when you are doing sports, you have adrenaline built up and it subsides pain."

Pollock said his active lifestyle and stubbornness have helped him battle depression and to recover.

"People will say, 'Wow, you're walking a lot better or sooner than I figured,'" he said, "and that's just stubbornness." He is in therapy to walk again.

As he does at the Center for the Intrepid, Pollock said, he will continue to stay active not only to stay healthy, but also to lead other disabled athletes by example.

"He has quiet leadership," said Cami Stock, the Air Force team's head coach. "He doesn't motivate outwardly as much as the other athletes, but he leads through walking the walk."

Pollock said these games are important to show what's available for people with disabilities.

"[These games] bring exposure to the members with disabilities and the sports for disabled veterans," he said. "The whole thing is getting it out there, the more [we] bring exposure to members with disabilities and the sports [we] do, the more the country can get involved."

Amputee Soldier Carries Torch at Warrior Games

By Elizabeth M. Collins
Army News Service

May 11, 2010 - A soldier whose leg was amputated below the knee carried the torch into the Olympic Training Center here yesterday during opening ceremonies for the inaugural Warrior Games.

Army Sgt. Robert Price was the first servicemember to carry the torch before handing it over to representatives from each of the other services. Hall-of-Fame football player, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Vietnam veteran Roger Staubach completed the short journey and lit the Olympic flame. Price, who remained in the Army after losing his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq, is a cadre member at the warrior transition battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He was given the honor because he made sure other soldiers had the opportunity to compete as well.

"I helped out quite a bit [with] other posts that don't have the training materials or for people to ... get them out and do their training at my post," he explained. "I just took the initiative [and] took over the BAMC part of it for the Warrior Games [to], get these guys to come in and start doing it at Fort Sam Houston.

"I was actually very surprised," he continued. "I didn't even expect [to carry the torch]."

He was happy to do it, though, especially because sports helped to keep him in the military. In fact, one of the reasons he decided to stay in the Army after losing his leg was to show other soldiers that they could, too.

"I'm walking, living proof of that," he said. "I'm out there. I made a difference. I'm out doing the right thing, being better. The importance of having an event like this is it gives all these wounded and injured or sick servicemembers out here ... that sitting back in your room playing X-box, that's not what your life is about. There are other things you can go do, more things you can go out and do. There are a lot of sports activities. You can intermingle with your community again. Life doesn't come to an end just because you're sick or you're injured."

Price didn't even make allowances for his injuries while training for the Warrior Games. Nothing, he said, could slow him down. He plans to compete in three sports: archery, which he took up after his injury three years ago; 10-meter prone shooting, because he's always loved to shoot; and sitting volleyball, which is a lot harder than it sounds, Price said, explaining that it requires a lot of core strength. "You've got to have some strong abs, some strong arms to move around," he said.

Bearing the torch and taking part in the history-making competition isn't all fun and games to Price, however. Equally important, he said, are the friends and comrades who can't be there to cheer him on.

"It felt great," he said, "but at the same time, you have happiness and joy, but you've also got the sorrow part that goes inside the back of your head when you're sitting there going, 'I've lost a bunch of friends. A bunch of people aren't here to see this, to experience this."

Chairman's Corner: Help Us Support the Warrior Games

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

May 11, 2010 - Since I was a midshipman, I have always believed physical fitness is at the core of a military career. From those very first push-ups in boot camp right up to combat in the field, fitness builds teamwork and enhances readiness. But physical fitness takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to the recovery and rehabilitation of our wounded, ill, and injured troops. It can mean re-learning to walk, to run, to swim – all with the ultimate goal of getting back to an active life of independence.

This week in Colorado Springs, 200 of our wounded warriors are competing in Warrior Games – a joint effort between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Defense Department. They will demonstrate not only the benefits of fitness to recovery, but the finest sense of courage after fire.

These brave warrior athletes will compete in nine different sports over four days. As I have repeatedly expressed during my Conversations with the Country, please support the first of hopefully many such games that showcase the astounding ability and spirit of our nation's wounded warriors.

To those competing in Warrior Games, congratulations on what you've already accomplished, and I look forward to following your exploits over the next few days. Good luck out there!

Louisiana Guardsmen Continue Oil Spill Response

By Army Sgt. Michael L. Owens
Louisiana National Guard

May 11, 2010 - The Louisiana National Guard is conducting around-the-clock operations to fill in a breach near here in support of operations related to the oil spill off the Louisiana coast. Guardsmen of the 922nd Horizontal Engineer Company, 769th Engineer Battalion, have been working day and night to fill in a 700-foot gap on Elmer's Island in an effort to keep oil-tainted water out of an area that is critical to the state's shrimp and tourism industries.

"It is important that we keep this operation continuous," said Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Lanclos, who is in charge of the night operations. "If we were to take nightly breaks before the entire mission was complete, the water's current would push and break the sand. Each morning, we would be back to Square One."

Using five dump trucks, the Guardsmen travel about two miles round-trip along the shoreline to pick up and drop the sand. After the dump trucks drop the sand, a bulldozer pushes and packs it into place.

"It is a really complex mission, but the engineers can handle it," Lanclos said. "Because we are working after nightfall, we make sure safety is an important element, especially working so close to water."

Many of the Guardsmen, including Baton Rouge, La., native Army Spc. Collin M. Parent, had never been to Grand Isle, but realize they have a very important mission on their hands.

"I know that we are helping Louisiana out tremendously, especially since the governor and adjutant general came here yesterday," Parent said. "What we are doing is very important, and I am happy to be a part of it."

Department to Study Compensation, Incentives

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

May 11, 2010 - Defense Department officials today announced the start of the congressionally mandated 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation.

The review's focus, officials said, will be on combat pay, compensation for reserve-component servicemembers, caregivers and survivors and pay incentives for critical career fields.

Thomas L. Bush, a recently retired senior executive who worked in the office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and as the principal director for manpower and personnel in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, was tapped to lead the review. He will report to Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

The last review, released in two volumes in 2008, focused on housing allowance, retirement pay, Tricare health system premiums, pay incentives for health care professionals and quality of life.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jan D. "Denny" Eakle chaired the 10th review and said upon its release that the first question for any quadrennial review of compensation is whether military pay is comparable to that in the private sector. The second is whether military pay is adequate to maintain the force.

William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel policy, testified April 28 before a Senate subcommittee that military pay is competing well against the private sector, as evidenced by the high rate of recruitment and retention.

Using regular military compensation – basic pay with housing and food allowances and federal tax advantages – as a comparison, military members are paid higher than 70 percent of their private-sector peers of similar education and experience, Carr told the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel subcommittee.

Carr also called specialty and incentive pays essential to maintaining the force, especially for special operations forces and people with medical, dentistry, mental health, aviation and nuclear backgrounds.

The 11th review, which will take about two years to complete, will focus on:

-- Compensation for service performed in a combat zone, combat operation, or hostile fire area, or while exposed to a hostile fire event;

-- Reserve and National Guard compensation and benefits for consistency with their current and planned utilization;

-- Compensation benefits available to wounded warriors, caregivers, and survivors of fallen servicemembers; and

-- Pay incentives for critical career fields such as mental health professionals, linguists and translators, remotely piloted vehicle operators and special operations personnel.

Summer Safety Resources Available

By April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- In an effort to save lives and reduce the risks associated with common summertime activities, the Naval Safety Center has compiled various resources for service members.

The theme for this year's summer safety campaign is "Live to Play, Play to Live," and it focuses on the many ways Sailors, Marines, and their families can have fun without becoming a victim.

"Nearly everything we do for fun during the summer involves some level of risk," said Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson, commander, Naval Safety Center. "The important thing is to understand the potential dangers; carefully consider them and take the actions necessary to reduce the risk as much as possible. That's how you set yourself up for success all summer long."

Summer safety resources have been designed so commands can personalize them for their own safety standdowns or training sessions. The campaign includes presentations, videos, articles for base newspapers, and traffic and recreation booklets.

Focus areas for this year's campaign include motor vehicle safety, alcohol awareness, and water safety. The majority of last summer's fatalities fell into these categories, and Johnson said these deaths affect mission readiness across the fleet.

"The loss of even a single trained and ready Sailor or Marine is unacceptable, especially during a time of war when manning, training and operating resources are tight," he said. "We need each and every one of you engaged and in the fight. We cannot afford the mission impact of any preventable-mishap losses this summer."

Former Naval Officer Honored with Ball Field Dedication

By Lt. Ben Tisdale, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain dedicated a baseball field May 8 to an officer who was killed last year while deployed to Camp Liberty in Iraq.

The the ball field was named in honor of Cmdr. Charles K. Springle March 8. Springle was one of five people killed by an Army sergeant at a military counseling clinic with the Army 55th Medical Company Combat Stress Center in Baghdad.

"Springle was a true American hero who died in service to his country, selflessly providing care to those who were forward deployed," said Capt. Donna Styles, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, Spain. "It was his selfless devotion to duty and service to others that we honor today."

Springle served in Rota three times during his career. His first tour was from 1994 to 1998 when he served as the chief of ancillary services and team leader for the Southwest Europe Special Intervention Response Team.

In 2003, Springle returned to Rota as the deputy director medical services and oversaw mental health, social work, early developmental intervention services and substance abuse rehabilitation services. Finally, in 2007, he returned briefly before transferring to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune as the director of the Community Counseling Center. From Camp Lejeune, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"He is remembered by family and friends as a man who loved life and lived it to the fullest," said Capt. Bill Mosk, NAVSTA commanding officer. "He enjoyed travel, music and sports. Although he was fully dedicated to his work, he also loved his family immensely."

Although the primary focus of his work involved counseling service for suffering from battle stress, multiple deployments and family issues, Springle had a passion for baseball, said Bond Henry, one of the David G. Farragut (DGF) High School baseball coaches.

"When Springle coached here in Rota, he not only had to organize practice and field a team," said Henry. "He had to research and find teams to play high school aged boys. Trust me, that is no easy task. He had to spend countless hours fundraising to have the funds to move a team to places in Europe where he found games for his team."

During the dedication ceremony, the DGF Rota Admirals baseball team presented Springle's old baseball glove to his wife, Susan Springle, and son, Marine Cpl. Charlie Springle.

"We are very proud," said Susan Springle. "We did not realize his catcher's mitt was still here. He would have been very proud."

Mosk said the baseball field dedication was a fitting tribute to Springle.

"Baseball is about teamwork," said Mosk. "It's about helping out your teammates – fittingly, something Springle was exceptionally good at."

USS The Sullivans Protects Oil Terminal, Hosts Visitors

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) is part of a defense group whose primary mission is to guard Iraq's Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) in the North Arabian Gulf (NAG).

In addition to focusing on this task during their first month on station, The Sullivans has also been able to participate in joint training with coalition forces and act as the reception platform and host of several groups of distinguished visitors.

The Sullivans, which arrived in the NAG in early April, centers its mission on protecting ABOT, where massive tankers moor alongside to fill their ships with crude oil meant for world-wide distribution. The oil that flows through ABOT accounts for approximately 80 percent of Iraq's gross domestic product and is a vital asset to the stability of the country's economy.

Additionally, the destroyer is also called upon to provide a ready flight deck and small-boat transport for the defense group's personnel and distinguished visitors transiting to and from the terminal. The Sullivans deck division and engineering department have already performed more than 30 flight hours and 120 small boat operations at this early point in their deployment.

"The focus and preparation of our Sailors has been outstanding," said The Sullivans Commanding Officer Cmdr. Neil Funtanilla. "Executing these operations for a sustained period requires strict discipline. The success of The Sullivans lies in the dedication of our personnel and leadership to execute the mission time and time again."

The U.S. military, Coast Guard and coalition forces have worked with Iraqi Maritime Forces to provide defense and security to ABOT since 2004. The Sullivans, coalition forces and Iraqi Maritime Forces participate in training exercises each week that focus on defending the platform, deterring an attack and transitioning to Iraqi control.

The Sullivans operates under Combined Task Force 50 in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Area of Responsibility.

SPS 2010 Kicks Off Exchanges in Jamaica

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rachael Leslie, High Speed Vessel Swift 2 Public Affairs

PORT ANTONIO, Jamaica (NNS) -- The crew on board High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) kicked off a series of subject matter expert exchanges with Jamaican defense forces in Port Antonio, Jamaica, May 10.

The ship is currently deployed in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010, a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Latin America, with the primary goal of information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region.

"We're just beginning, but so far, it's been very informative," said Cpl. Chetoldi Rowe, who is participating in the Junior Enlisted Leadership Principles exchange, and a member of the Jamaica Defence Force. "I was selected by my chain of command to attend, and I really enjoy the format and the classroom setting. I really look forward to expanding some of what I already know about leadership, and working on both my strengths and weaknesses."

Nearly 70 members of the Jamaica Defence Force came aboard Swift for the weeklong exchanges, designed to engage the U.S military sea services with partner nation's defense forces, police departments and coast guards.

Some of the topics of discussion over the next few weeks will include port security, non-commissioned officer professional development, operational risk management, medical readiness, outboard motor maintenance and patrol craft operation.

"It's always interesting getting to interact with defense forces from other nations, and see how they conduct themselves and work," said Yeoman 1st Class (EXW/SW) Tiffany Summers, from Vineland, N.J., and a facilitator with the Maritime Civil Affairs Instructor and Security and Training Command Security Forces Detachment aboard Swift. "I look forward to seeing what we'll be able to learn and take back to the command."

The U.S. Marine Corps also has an five-man mobile training team aboard Swift to participate in the exchanges. The team will provide instruction in martial arts, non-lethal weapons, military operations in urban terrain, check-point security, marksmanship and small unit tactics.

"This is so important because even though we operate so differently, and on a much smaller scale, we have so much to learn from each other," said Rowe. "Because the U.S. military's mission is so large, they have a lot to offer and exchanges of this nature are a good way to expand our own knowledge."

This is the fourth SPS deployment in USSOUTHCOM's AOR and the vision is to continue this effort to maintain a persistent presence in the region as a way to further enhance strong relationships.

Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

Kearsarge ARG Completes Integrated Training

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cristina Gabaldon, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted PHIBRON-MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) with the Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) off the coast of North Carolina April 20-May 5.

PMINT was a 16-day exercise that included many evolutions the ARG and MEU would execute during real-world operations. It began with the embark of nearly 900 Marines and all of their vehicles and equipment on USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21)

"PMINT gave us the opportunity to integrate with the 26th MEU and conduct operations with the ARG," said Capt. Baxter Goodly, Kearsarge's commanding officer. "This was the first time we've had a full MEU embarked in over two years and we were able to train with the MEU in everything from well deck to flight deck operations."

PMINT lays the groundwork for the ARG and the MEU to create a "Blue-Green" team and to work through the initial challenges faced when integrating Marines on board a ship.

"This training period is almost like a practice run for the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) the ARG will be doing in July," said Cmdr. Christopher Korn, operations officer on board Kearsarge. "We weren't graded for PMINT, but we were able to successfully run through several war-time missions of delivering Marines and their equipment to theater."

Capt. Larry Grippin, PHIBRON 4 commodore, was pleased with how well the operations went.

"We exceeded all standards and we were able to accomplish all the Blue-Green training we needed," said Grippin. "We were able to successfully integrate with the 26th MEU and we established a good working relationship in the process."

Commander of the 26th MEU Col. Mark Desens thanked the Kearsarge crew for the success of PMINT.

"I would like to compliment and congratulate the crew of USS Kearsarge," said Desens. "[The] 26th MEU came into PMINT with a long list of tasks and we were able to complete them on time, even exceeding expectations. PMINT was a great success, and I look forward to upcoming exercises and the deployment with the Kearsarge ARG."

Kearsarge will continue training with the ARG and the 26th MEU leading up to COMPTUEX in July and an upcoming deployment this fall.

Soldier Sets Crosshairs on Warrior Games

By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown
Army News Service

May 11, 2010 - Army Staff Sgt. Dean Isaacs and his wife, Leigh, know a lot about back pain.

The Fort Bragg, N.C., warrior transition battalion soldier had his fourth spinal surgery six months ago. His wife, who worked at the physical therapy office where he was being treated after his first surgery, had her spine completely fused when she was 16.

Isaacs and his wife won't let their injuries sideline them -- Isaacs is competing in the inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., this week.

The challenge of preparing for the Warrior Games is helping in his goal of becoming fit enough to return to regular duty, Isaacs said. During the games, he will compete in Olympic-style 10-meter air rifle shooting in both the prone and standing positions, and also will participate in sitting volleyball.

Just four months after his latest surgery, Isaacs heard about the Warrior Games at a company formation. He asked how to register, sent in his form, and soon was selected to be one of the Army's 100 representatives at the games. Isaacs said he doesn't know what the selection process was, but he's glad he was chosen.

"It's a true honor," he said. "Of all the wounded soldiers and servicemembers throughout the entire military, they only picked 200 people to compete in this, and 100 came from the Army. To be one of those 100 ... I'm shocked."

He didn't really know what air rifle shooting was, he acknowledged, until he was sent to Fort Benning, Ga., to train with the Army marksmanship unit.

"When I was first approached about this, and they said, 'air rifle shooting,' the first thing that came to my mind was shooting tin cans off a fencepost with a BB gun like I did when I was a kid," Isaacs said. When he learned that air rifle shooting was an Olympic sport, and harder than it looked, he added, he got nervous.

"That's when it hit me. That's when I thought, 'Hold on a minute here, can I actually measure up? Can I do this?'"

Air rifle shooting involves keeping a 12-pound rifle steady while aiming at a .02-inch diameter target from 10 meters away. Isaacs explained that with such a tiny bull's-eye, breathing and concentration are extremely important.

"One little muscle twitch can mean the difference between a 7 on the target and a 10 on the target," he said.

Isaacs travelled to Fort Benning for two week-long training sessions where he learned to hone his shooting skills. Isaacs also learned core-strengthening exercises, which he said not only help to keep his body still while shooting, but also have helped him to recover from his surgery.

"It's a science of shooting that you get into," he explained.

And, while Isaacs admitted he's still a little anxious about competing in the games, he's even more excited and looks forward to representing the Army.

"The excitement is to see how well we do against our peers. ... The Marines are going down," joked Isaacs, whose brother is a Marine.

Although air rifle shooting is an individual event, Isaacs said, he and the other Army competitors became a team during their training.

It still is painful sometimes just to get out of bed in the morning, Isaacs said, but with more than 15 years of active service, he hopes to stay in the Army for at least 20. Originally a loadmaster in the Navy, and later an artilleryman in the Army, Isaacs said the active-duty lifestyle hasn't been easy on his body.

The Clarion, Pa., native said he first noticed there was something wrong with his back 11 years ago, when he occasionally felt numbness and tingling. He initially dismissed his discomfort. But when he eventually visited a doctor, the doctor told him he needed immediate surgery.

An MRI exam showed that two of the discs near Isaacs' neck were pushing on his spinal cord. Isaacs was soon sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center here, where his C5 and C6 discs were removed and replaced with a mixture of cadaver bone and a bone-growing substance, then enclosed in a mesh cage. A titanium plate secured with four screws holds the replacement together.

"I've got bulletproof vertebrae," Isaacs quipped.

But that wasn't the end of Isaacs' operating-room visits. The veteran of operations Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom has had three more back surgeries since 2006, including two procedures in his lower back to eliminate bulging discs that were pushing on nerves, followed by a fusion just six months ago.

Despite tough recovery from these surgeries, Isaacs credits his wife with helping him literally to get back on his feet. There were moments during his numerous recoveries that she offered him a "tough love" approach, which was exactly what was needed, he said.

"Having somebody there who has experienced your frustrations and experienced your pain makes going through it that much easier," he said of his wife.

And although he wishes his wife could accompany him in Colorado, he said she is cheering him on from home.

"She's proud," Isaacs said of his wife's support. "She's more than ecstatic."

Issacs is currently up for review by a medical evaluation board, and hopes to stay in the Army.

"If it was up to me, I'd keep my boots on," he said.

Isaacs is braced for more surgeries in the future, but said he will consider getting through 2010 without one a success. For now, his sights are set solely on Colorado.

"I just want to shoot," he said. "I just want to do the best I can and see where this takes me."

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 11, 2010

NAVY

CNMS, JV, Honolulu, Hawaii (N62742-10-D-1306); Core Tech-AMEC-SKEC, LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii (N62742-10-D-1307); DCK-ECC Pacific Guam Construction, LLC, Clairton, Pa. (N62742-10-D-1308); Guam MACC Builders, JV, Honolulu, Hawaii (N62742-10-D-1309); Hensel Phelps-Granite-Traylor Pacific, JV, Greeley, Colo. (N62742-10-D-1310); Kiewit-Mortenson, JV, Kapolei, Hawaii (N62742-10-D-1311); and Tutor Perini Corp., Sylmar, Calif. (N62742-10-D-1312), were each awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity design-build multiple award construction contract May 10 for construction projects for sites in Guam and other areas in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Pacific area of responsibility (AOR). The maximum dollar value, including the base period and four option years, for all seven contracts combined is $4,000,000,000. DCK-ECC Pacific Guam Construction, LLC, is being awarded task order 0001 at $23,405,000 for design and construction of the Torpedo Exercise Support Building and Consolidated Submarine Learning Center Training and Commander Submarine Squadron 15 headquarters facility at Polaris Point, Guam. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by November 2011. All work on this contract will be performed within the NAVFAC Pacific AOR, which includes Guam (80 percent), Hawaii (10 percent), Diego Garcia (5 percent), and other areas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (5 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of May 2015. Contract funds for task order 0001 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with eight proposals received. These seven contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Abbott General Construction, Inc.*, Hampton, Va. (N40085-10-D-0233); Charlotte Paint II, LLC*, Mount Holly, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0234); Chavis' Inc.*, Red Springs, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0235); Fix Painting Co.*, Woodland Hills, Calif. (N40085-10-D-0236); Olympic Enterprises, Inc.*, Hubert, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0237); Pro Coating Services, Inc.*, Jacksonville, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0238); S & L Paint & Decorating, Inc.*, Winston Salem, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0239); Talon Construction, Inc.*, Smithfield, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0240); Thomas Brand Siding Co., Inc.*, Bowling Green, Ky. (N40085-10-D-0241); and WECC, Inc.*, Fayetteville, N.C. (N40085-10-D-0242), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract for general painting-type projects at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The total contract amount for all ten contracts combined, including the base period and four option years, is $100,000,000. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C. (80 percent), and Havelock, N.C. (20 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of May 2015. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site with 20 proposals received. These 10 contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

CACI Systems, Inc., Chantilly, Va., was awarded May 10 a $28,864,223 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-06-C-0074) to provide for additional technical and engineering services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's Special Communications Requirements Division. The estimated level of effort for this modification is 336,000 man-hours. Work will be performed in Lexington Park, Md. (80 percent), and Saint Inigoes, Md. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

Nightforce, Inc., Orofino, Idaho, was awarded a $25,767,124 firm-fixed-price contract May 10 for family of dayscopes, spares, repairs and upgrades. Dayscopes will be used by special forces for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps snipers. Work will be performed in Orofino, Idaho, and is expected to be completed by April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured and solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, with one offer received. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JQ23).

Beltsville Industrial Group/Desbuild, JV*, Beltsville, Md., was awarded a $14,471,000 firm-fixed-price contract May 10 for construction of a child development center at Marine Corps Base Quantico. The work to be performed provides for construction of a single-story reinforced concrete masonry unit. The facility will include kitchen and laundry areas; classrooms; offices; toilets; storage spaces; a new recreation area with playgrounds and athletic fields; and outdoor lighting and playground equipment. The project also includes miscellaneous site demolition. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with 23 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N40080-10-C-0010).

Rockwell Collins, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded May 10 an $11,047,202 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-09-C-0069) to exercise an option for the procurement of AN/ARC-210(V) electronic radios and ancillary equipment for the EA-18G, F/A-18E/F, F-16 Block 40, and U.S. European Command aircraft. Equipment being procured includes 40 RT-1556B receiver transmitters; 144 RT-1851A(C) receiver transmitters; and 143 MT-4935 mounting bases. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $1,030,752 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Navy ($1,768,320; 16 percent); Air Force ($9,212,346; 83.4 percent); and Army ($66,536; 0.6 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, St. Petersburg, Fla., is being awarded a $9,676,800 modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-05-D-6014) for continuation of 120mm precision extended range munition Phase III technology demonstration for Expeditionary Fire Support Systems/Internally Transportable Vehicle system. Work will be performed in Redmond, Wash. (23 percent); Minneapolis, Minn. (23 percent); Valencia, Calif. (18 percent); Red Lion, Pa. (18 percent); St. Petersburg, Fla. (10 percent); and Mesa, Ariz. (8 percent), and is expected to be completed by August 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Clark/Balfour Beatty, JV, Bethesda, Md., was awarded a $9,511,644 firm-fixed-price contract May 10 for design and construction of traffic mitigation measures for Gates 1 and 2 at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda. The work includes repair, upgrade and reconfiguration of two existing entry control points, North Wood Road Gates 1 and 2, and the construction of a visitor center to improve access, security and aesthetics. Work will be performed in Bethesda, Md., and is expected to be completed by July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was procured as a sole source in accordance with FAR 6.302-1, "only one responsible source." The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Officer in Charge of Construction, Bethesda, Md., is the contracting activity (N40080-10-C-1504).

AIR FORCE

L-3 Communication Systems, Camden, N.J., was awarded a $35,017,839 contract which will develop and field robust medium speed National Security Agency Type 1-certified cryptographic aerospace vehicle equipment end cryptographic units, single component encryption/decryptors, and ground operating equipment used to secure plain text mission data for satellite systems. At this time, $8,800,000 has been obligated. HQ CPSG/PK, San Antonio, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA8307-10-C-0010).

Alion Science and Technology Corp., Chicago, Ill., was awarded a $19,826,289 contract which will provide research and develop capabilities to model and simulate emerging operational and training missions. At this time, $920,031 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Bremen Bowdon, Bowdon, Ga.*, is being awarded a maximum $5,649,210 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, total set-aside contract for women's dress coats. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web-solicited with five responses. The date of performance completion is Aug. 27, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-1061).

Senior Executive Service Appointments and Reassignments

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments and reassignments:

Appointments

Matthew C. Flavin has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. Flavin previously served as director of veterans and wounded warrior policy, The White House, Washington, D.C.

Richard D. Pino has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as deputy director, communications and networks programs and policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Networks and Information Integration/Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, Washington, D.C. Pino previously served as deputy director and chief technical advisor for transformation communications, Space and Missiles System Center, El Segundo, Calif.

Brian G. Wilczynski has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director, portfolio management and enterprise infrastructure, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Networks and Information Integration (OASD) (NII))/Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Officer, Washington, D.C. Wilczynski previously served as director, enterprise architecture and standards, OASD (NII)/DoD Chief Information Officer, Washington, D.C.

Reassignments

William E. Brazis Jr. has been assigned as director, Washington Headquarters Services/deputy director, administration and management, Office of the Director, Administration and Management, Washington, D.C. Brazis previously served as general counsel, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C.

Michael L. Bruhn has been assigned as executive secretary, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. Bruhn previously served as deputy director, Office of the Secretary of Defense Special Access Programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Washington, D.C.

Mullen Responds to Military Spouses at Surprise Appearance

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 11, 2010 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made a surprise visit to Norfolk, Va., last evening, where he fielded questions from Navy spouses while emphasizing their important role in supporting the force. "It is easy for us to say this is the finest military we have ever had, no question," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told almost 200 participants at a spouses' conference at Norfolk Naval Station, Va. "And you are a part of that. You have been extraordinary – more than you know – in supporting [them] at a really critical time in our history. I can't thank you enough."

The admiral's wife, Deborah Mullen, who regularly meets with military families, was the keynote speaker at the event. She unexpectedly called her husband to the stage about 45 minutes into a question-and-answer session.

"Well, why don't I have my husband come up here and answer that?" she said as she responded to a question, drawing surprised chatter, then wild applause from the crowd.

The chairman joined her in responding to a range of questions about deployments, family support and programs for wounded warriors and combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and other mental-health issues.

Every military service is working to address the challenges of long, repeated deployments and the stress it puts on the force, he told the spouses. In addition to building resilience within the ranks, the military is putting more emphasis on helping returning combat troops reintegrate into their families and communities when they return.

Mullen noted the problem of suicides within the military, citing a direct correlation with repeated deployments and combat stress.

"I personally believe it has a lot to do with the [operations] tempo for everybody," said the admiral, who called on military families to assist loved ones experiencing difficulties to get the help they need.

Both the chairman and his wife praised the role families play in helping wounded warriors recuperate.

"It makes a big difference in their recovery," Mrs. Mullen told the group. The medical staffs tend to the servicemembers' physical wounds, she noted. "But it is the family that [provides] the spiritual and emotional healing," she added.

While emphasizing the capability and compassion provided at military hospitals and medical centers, the chairman urged families to "be ferocious" in ensuring their loved ones get the care and services they deserve. Bureaucracy sometimes needs "a jolt" from a spouse, mother or father, he said.

Mullen said he fully supports efforts within the services to allow every wounded warrior who's qualified and wants to remain in uniform to continue military service. "Each service is leaning forward for those who have sacrificed so much," he said.

The chairman also emphasized the value of his and his wife's visits with servicemembers and their families around the world, as well as in military hospitals, to gauge issues percolating within the force that need top-level attention. Mullen said he passes what he learns on to the service chiefs.

"It's a fresh set of eyes on a problem," he said.

The Continuum of Resource Education organized the spouses' conference at Naval Station Norfolk.

SECNAV Announces Five New Principles for Navy Acquisitions

By Jessica A. Faller, Defense Media Activity-Anacostia

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced five governing principles for Navy and Marine Corps acquisitions at the Navy League's annual Sea, Air, Space symposium May 5.

Designed to address the affordability of procurement programs, these principles are also intended to empower program managers to seek cost-savings, establish baseline performance parameters for Navy and Marine Corps programs, and support development of the acquisition workforce.

Similar to the Navy and Marine Corps' five energy goals outlined in October, Mabus outlined the acquisition principles the Navy plans to execute: clearly identify the requirements; raise the bar on performance; rebuild the acquisition workforce; support the industrial base; and "make every dollar count." Mabus did, however, draw a clear distinction between the five energy goals and the acquisition principles, stating "These are not goals, these are imperatives, these are have to's. In order to build the fleet that we need – the Navy, the Marine Corps and our industry partners – we have to do all these things."

Discussing the first principle, Mabus said the Navy would put all programs through a formal Gate Review Process. This process will allow acquisition teams to properly analyze the requirements before granting a contract. "We're going to be doing this analysis on everything," the Secretary said, including the future SSBN, the Ohio-class replacement submarine and other initiatives.

Turning to the second principle, Mabus vowed to raise the bar on performance by holding both industry and the Navy - Marine Corps acquisition team more accountable for what they do. "Quality has to improve, man hours have to come down, and budgets and milestones have to be met. That's the bar," he said.

In line with the second principle, Mabus also announced a new aviation and shipbuilding change-order policy that requires leadership review "to ensure that both unit cost and total ownership costs are considered before a change-order is approved." He said the Navy would redefine acquisition standards to allow for more industry collaboration.

Citing the third principle and current education programs in place, Mabus said, "the Navy and Marine Corps are creating wonderful opportunities for the future of America [that] will bring some very lasting benefits to our country." The secretary challenged his acquisition team to enhance these efforts with a plan "to double the Department of Navy's science, technology and engineering outreach" by 2015.

Mabus addressed the fourth principle by announcing establishment of an Industrial Base Council that will begin meeting later this year. The Council is intended to bring together representatives from major shipbuilding and aircraft firms and will be "an opportunity for [the Navy and Marine Corps] to be more informed about industry concerns," he said.

Mabus also encouraged top performing companies to improve performance so that they will qualify to join a Preferred Provider Program, expected to be released for comment in the Federal Register later this month. Through this program, the Navy would reward contractors with favorable contract terms, conditions and payment schedules "in return for consistent and exemplary contract performance." Mabus mentioned that energy efficient products and manufacturing capabilities would be part of entry criteria.

Mabus also said the Navy will turn to fixed-price contracts to "make every dollar count." Cost-plus contracts will only be used for high risk, first-of-class ships and other high-risk systems.

Mabus closed by saying "The Navy and the Marine Corps are the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known. There has never been a force like the fleet we put to sea and the Marines that ride with that fleet and fight ashore. Building an effective partnership between industry and the Navy will reduce costs and will lead us to the fleet that we need. We owe that to America and we owe that to the generations that will follow us."

Navy Medicine Takes a Look Back at Mission in Haiti

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine, along with personnel from key military commands, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and interagency partners, came together May 5-6 for an after action review conference to capture lessons learned from Navy Medicine's support for Operation Unified Response.

The conference was held at at the National Naval Medical Center/Uniformed Services University.

"This is the first time Navy Medicine has ever conducted an after action review of this magnitude," said Cmdr. Brad Hartgerink, Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Support for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

During the two-day event, both military and civilian personnel gathered, prioritized, and identified key lessons from Operation Unified Response, the United States military's response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Actionable items on the tactical, operational, and strategic levels were developed that will become tools for future humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief missions.

"While we did well overall, future success in correcting some of our deficiencies will be determined by our collaboration efforts with the fleet and our inter-agency and NGO partners," said Hartgerink.

Participants included representatives from the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, as well as, participants from a variety of NGOs including the Red Cross, Operation Smile, Johns Hopkins, Project Hope, Orthopaedic Trauma Association and the University of Michigan. Also in attendance were many of the USNS Comfort and USN Bataan's medical personnel and crew.

"Medical operation success is very dependent on to what was happening on land by a host of other facilities and the ability to get situational awareness so we can get the right patients, out at the right time, and then back," said Dr. Harold Timboe, Project HOPE's chief medical officer. "So the freedom to maneuver and the freedom to communicate is important on that aspect of mission success."

Lessons learned and the actionable items found by working groups during the conference were presented to a flag panel on the last day of the event.

"If you take this mission as an exam, we scored about a 95 percent," said Rear Adm. Thomas Cullison, deputy Navy surgeon general during the panel. "We did well and that had a lot to do with leadership - both military and civilian - that made this mission happen."

Medical operations during Operation Unified Response and the disaster in Haiti were one part of the Navy's Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response mission. The Department of the Navy has become increasingly involved with other U.S. government agencies and NGOs since it adopted the "Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower" in 2007 that elevated stability missions to the same priority as combat operations and committed itself to working more closely with its civilian partners.

Former Airman Continues on Despite Illness

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

May 11, 2010 - Former Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeanne Goldy-Sanitate used to be referred to as "Our Lady of Perpetual Motion." A broken back and multiple sclerosis may have slowed her down, but at 54 years old, she's still rolling. Goldy-Sanitate, known as Jersey Jeanne to her teammates, will be shooting, swimming and cycling during the inaugural Warrior Games here May 10 through May 14.

She is one of 17 Air Force athletes competing in these games against other wounded, ill and injured athletes from across the services. Her positive attitude is an inspiration to her teammates.

"I told one of (my teammates), 'I'm old enough to be your mother,' and he said, 'No, you're old enough to be my mentor,'" she said.

Goldy-Sanitate served as a military optometry technician from 1976 to 1984. During a training exercise in 1984, she broke her back when the ambulance she was riding in crashed. She was told she probably would not walk again.

"Six months later, I was walking with a cane," she said.

After the accident, Goldy-Sanitate said she wasn't able to run the six miles she used to run, but she stayed active by biking and pacing a neighbor as she ran six miles.

Goldy-Sanitate is no stranger to adaptive sports. Since 2006, she has participated in golf, softball, hand-cycling, shooting, basketball, snowboarding and her favorite, Nordic biathlon. She earned five gold medals and a bronze in competition during various veterans' games and sports clinics.

"Sports gave me my life back," she said. "I may be 54, but I feel like I'm 21."

At one particular sports clinic, a U.S. Paralympics athlete and Air Force veteran, Sean Halstead, noticed Goldy-Sanitate's love of the Nordic biathlon. He told her to take up hand-cycling in the off season.

Once she received her handcycle, Goldy-Sanitate joined other disabled veterans and biked 350 miles as part of a "Ride to Recovery," in Florida.

Goldy-Sanitate said she bikes in support of disabled veterans, but also tries to help some of the wounded warriors she meets at Dover Air Force Base, Del., by encouraging them to get active.

"For some of the wounded warriors who transition to the civilian world, they'll notice there isn't the camaraderie that there was in the military," she said. "I always tell them to get into sports. Sports gives them [back] that camaraderie."

Her teammates said her attitude creates a positive atmosphere.

"She's a really positive person and tough competitor," said retired Master Sgt. Kim Bradshaw, an athlete on the Air Force team and Goldy-Sanitate's roommate during the games. "It's never a competition between us, just us encouraging each other."

Goldy-Sanitate said she is just happy to be on a team again.

"I'm totally jazzed; just the fact that I'm here," she said. "Just being on a team, because we are a team always. The thing I always missed was the camaraderie."

Goldy-Sanitate, along with her wheelchair basketball teammates, will compete against the Marine Corps and Navy team May 11 at the Olympic Training Center here.

Warrior Games Airman attributes survival to active lifestyle

by Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

5/11/2010 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -- Before a motorcycle accident in 2008, Staff Sgt. Richard Pollock II lived in the gym.

He was a competitive body builder, a lean 235 pounds with only 10 percent body fat.

In August 2008, Sergeant Pollock was on his way to work on his motorcycle when he collided with a car that ran through a stop sign. Sergeant Pollock was traveling 55 miles per hour and upon impact, flew 97 feet from his bike. Everything below his waist -- his pelvis, knees, legs and feet -- was broken.

He was in a coma for three weeks after the accident. After the coma, he was in six different hospitals in six months. All of his broken bones were rebuilt with metal.

"Being a competitive body builder, staying fit, saved my life," he said.

Although he is still recovering from his injuries, Sergeant Pollock continues to stay active. He is one of the wounded, injured and ill Airmen representing the Air Force during the inaugural Warrior Games taking place here May 10 through May 14.

Sergeant Pollock will be competing along with 17 of his team members against participants from the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.

Sergeant Pollock, like many members of the Air Force team, will compete in multiple events during these games. His events include wheelchair basketball, shot put and discus. He will be the only archer representing the Air Force.

He said he first began to play these sports while in therapy at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio. The Center for the Intrepid is a rehabilitation center for amputees and burn victims.

During therapy, Sergeant Pollock said he participated in training camps hosted by specialists from the U.S. Paralympics Committee. Prior to arriving in Colorado Springs for the Warrior Games, he trained in sports similar to those he will be competing in every day.

"We train all the time," he said. "I'm in therapy, that's my job. Athletics put you out of the realm of pain because when you are doing sports you have adrenaline built up and it subsides pain."

"People will say, 'Wow, you're walking a lot better or sooner than I figured,' and that's just stubbornness," he said, noting he is in therapy to walk again.

As he does at the Center for the Intrepid, Sergeant Pollock said he would continue to stay active not only to stay healthy, but also to lead by example for other disabled athletes.

"He has quiet leadership," said Cami Stock, the Air Force team head coach. "He doesn't motivate outwardly as much as the other athletes, but he leads through walking the walk."

Sergeant Pollock said these games are important to show what's available for people with disabilities.

"(These games) bring exposure to the members with disabilities and the sports for disabled veterans," he said. "The whole thing is getting it out there, the more (we) bring exposure to members with disabilities and the sports (we) do, the more the country can get involved."

Air Force officials announce FY 2011 force structure alignments

5/11/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced May 11 the proposed force structure realignment for fiscal 2011. The proposal provides a summary of the civilian and military personnel changes and aircraft assignments at Air Force installations for the upcoming fiscal year. This announcement supersedes all previous announcements, including the January 2008 Roadmap.

"The Air Force continues to support new and emerging missions while making every effort to remedy the stress experienced by critically manned career fields," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff. "This realignment emphasizes the strength and synergy of the total force -- active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve -- putting the right skills in the right place."

This force structure announcement addresses the Air Force's FY 2011 force structure, realignment and management actions supporting the FY 2011 President's Budget submission. This announcement outlines the civilian and military personnel changes and reassignment of aircraft at Air Force bases for the upcoming fiscal year and includes base and statewide summation impacts. It includes prior year programmatic actions that impact force structure in FY 2011, but doesn't include Future Years Defense Program data for FY 2012 and beyond. The document specifies the force structure changes experienced by the total force: active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Total force personnel changes include more than 13,000 people including approximately 2,450 active duty, 9,200 civilians, 1,300 Air Force Reserve and 220 Air National Guard positions. Prior year programmatic actions account for more than 90 percent of the changes experienced by the total force. Several prior-year actions were key drivers including contractor-to-civilian conversions, 34 percent; Base Realignment and Closure 2005 directed joint basing actions, 16 percent; Air Force Reserve end-strength increase, 12 percent; and increases in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance manpower, 11 percent.

"These initiatives will continue to make more efficient use of Air Force resources and savings to the American taxpayer over the long term," General Schwartz said.

Partnership with Air Guard, Reserve offers new options with C-130 training

5/11/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The secretary of the Air Force announced May 4 that officials will proceed with a plan to augment the C-130 Hercules training fleet with C-130s from Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve squadrons.

Secretary Michael Donley said Air Force planners will "continue to analyze the allocation of tactical airlift force structure between the active and reserve components to ensure we have the best allocation of assets to meet the nation's warfighting requirements and to meet the needs of the states."

As a part of that allocation of assets, Secretary Donley said Air Force officials plan to establish an Air Reserve Component training unit at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

"This will include the temporary movement of some Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve aircraft to establish an ARC C-130 formal training unit to meet the Air Force's total force training needs," Secretary Donley said. "We consulted extensively with the (adjutants general) of the states providing the loaned aircraft in the development of this plan."

The chief of Air Force Reserve said this plan goes along with his philosophy of active-duty and Reserve Airmen working together to achieve the mission.

"This C-130 arrangement is a great example of how the Air Force Reserve leverages its strengths and capabilities to support Air Force and combatant command requirements," said Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., chief of Air Force Reserve. "Within the Air Force Reserve, I've emphasized associations and integration to meet (Air Force) operational and training mission requirements by aligning equipment, missions, infrastructure and manpower resources to enable more effective use of assets with our component partners.

"Guard and Reserve crews are well versed in a variety of C-130 mission sets and are certainly well-qualified for this training mission," General Stenner said. "We're poised and proud to join our resources with those of our active-duty and Guard partners to meet the needs of Air Education and Training Command and the Air Force."

The director of the Air National Guard also echoed his support for the plan.

"We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with our active-duty and Reserve partners on this plan," said Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard. "I'm glad this partnership will better assist the Air Force in training qualified total force C-130 crews."

"Our Air National Guard C-130 fleet adds value to America in many ways," General Wyatt said. "Not only do these versatile airlifters allow us to significantly contribute to overseas contingency operations, they provide timely support to our governors and adjutants general in fulfilling our domestic Army and Air National Guard missions."

The secretary explained that as new C-130J Super Hercules continue to enter the Air Force inventory, legacy C-130 training requirements will decrease. This will allow the temporarily relocated C-130s from Air Guard and Reserve components to return to their home units.

The retirement of C-130Es, which average 46 years of age, will save $256 million in modification and operations costs while "maintaining a large enough fleet to meet current and forecasted requirements," according to the secretary.

Navy Athletes Participate in Warrior Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NNS) -- Twenty-five Sailors joined nearly 200 service members marching down the center of the U.S. Olympic Training Center Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10, at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Warrior Games - a weeklong competition among wounded athletes from all the services.

Participants will compete in archery, cycling, basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field and volleyball during the weeklong games.

However, it is not the physical limitations of these service members that define the games -- the omission of the word "wounded" in the title is not unintentional. Despite their disabilities, this group has learned to adapt and achieve what many of them may have thought impossible.

Juan M. Garcia III, assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, lauded the troops for their willingness to compete and to never give up on themselves and their nation. He praised their readiness to accept new challenges.

"Who could not be inspired by what's going on here?" Garcia asked. "Before us are men and women who suffered injuries both physical and mental. [But] they refuse to be defeated, no matter where their battlefields were."

Army Sgt. Robert Price took the torch for the first few steps. His right leg was claimed by a bomb in Iraq in 2007. Price has eyes on making the 2012 U.S. Paralympic team, and he describes himself as a "prior" wounded warrior. He now spends his time in the Army helping others who are just beginning their recovery.

"It's all eyes on you," he said, and then he laughed.

Navy Master Chief Petty Officer James Wilson, a 32-year veteran Sailor said he was glad no one could see the tears streaming down his face as he took his turn carrying the torch.

"I was speechless," Wilson said of the moment he was asked to lead his team at the games. "That was a dream of mine since I was a child. I thought I'd never realize it."

This week, Wilson will stand against all odds on a sports field wearing a U.S. uniform and competing against troops half his age.

"I'm going to hold out just fine. It's these guys I'm worried about," he joked.

MCPON Visits Sailors and Celebrates Armed Forces Day

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (EXW) Jennifer A. Villalovos, Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West traveled to San Diego and Chattanooga, Tenn., to visit Sailors and celebrate Armed Forces Day May 3-8.

In San Diego, West delivered opening remarks at the Divers Working Group at the Adm. Kidd Club Conference Center and then took a familiarization dive under the USS Midway museum with divers from Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC).

"As a submariner, I've operated many years underwater and this dive took it to another level," said West. "I have the utmost respect for those that conduct their business underneath the water. The opportunity to work with our Navy divers provided me a snapshot of what they do. What a demanding and great job, which you can tell they love. HOOYAH!"

During his visit, West toured the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20).

"It's important for me to get out and see what jobs our Sailors are doing," said West. "I enjoy it, and they enjoy showing me. It keeps me close to the fleet and the Sailors I love."

In Chattanooga, West was invited to the 61st Armed Forces Day Parade to be the Grand Marshal and Reviewing Officer. Chattanooga is one of the few cities that still hold an Armed Forces Day parade. Each year the parade highlights a branch of service and this year the focus was on the Navy.

Chief Yeoman Diana Fleshman marched along with Sailors from Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Chattanooga. Fleshman is a kindergarten teacher at North Hamilton Elementary School and her students and parents were out to show their support and cheer her and the Armed Forces at the parade.

"I marched two years ago, and last year I was deployed," said Fleshman. "This year I felt it was really important for me to be out here again. We had 25 marchers out today from the NOSC and it was a great honor for MCPON to be here with us."

During his speech after the parade, West highlighted a few Sailors from Chattanooga including commanders, command master chiefs and hospital corpsmen who he knew were from the area. He also spoke of how proud he is of also being from the area and credits much of his success in the Navy to his upbringing there.

Operations Specialist 1st Class Arcenia Pierre, from NOSC Chattanooga, was chosen by the Women Veterans Network to represent all women veterans and sit on the reviewing stand for the parade and attend the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council luncheon, where West was the keynote speaker.

"In my 11 years in the Navy I never imagined I would meet the MCPON," Pierre said. "It was truly an awesome experience."

West finished his visit by attending the USS Haddo Base Submarine Veterans Group monthly meeting. During the meeting, he talked with World War II submariners and also met with Sea Cadets from Chattanooga and Sailors from USS Tennessee who were special guests to the meeting.

"It's always a great week when you can see fleet Sailors in action, interact with the local community and have a fireside chat with our veterans - all of that, and a paycheck too," said West.

Navy Week Underway in Spokane, Washington

By Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun, Navy Office of Community Outreach

SPOKANE, Wash. (NNS) -- Spokane Navy Week kicked off May 10 with events designed to give the public an up-close look at the men and women of the U.S. Navy.

Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO), Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Seattle and Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Spokane join forces this week, along with Sailors from the USS Constitution and Navy Band Northwest, to provide opportunities for citizens to meet Sailors and learn about the Navy's capabilities during Spokane Navy Week May 10-15 in conjunction with the Spokane Lilac Festival. Spokane Navy Week is one of 20 Navy Weeks being held across America in 2010.

The week kicked off with performances by the Navy Band Northwest, "Passage," as well as community service projects supported by Sailors from USS Constitution, NOSC Spokane and NRD Seattle, setting the tone for Spokane Navy Week and culminating with a proclamation from Mayor Mary Verner.

"It's really great to see the Navy Band at my old high school," said Seaman Apprentice Nathan Cerenzia, of Riverside, Wash., as he watched rock band, "Passage," perform at Riverside High School.

Cerenzia was home on leave following his graduation from "A" school, his technical Navy class, to become an aviation boatswain's mate, aircraft handling. Following his leave time, the Spokane area native will report to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

The Sailors from USS Constitution, the Navy's oldest commissioned warship, visited with students at Reardon, Wash., Middle School to demonstrate a slice of Navy history.

"Anytime I can get someone else to reinforce the importance that history plays in these students' lives, that is a positive thing," said Cory Oliver, Reardan Middle School history teacher. Oliver added that reenacting the War of 1812 using students as ships' captain, crew and sound effects was a fun and interactive way to teach them about history.

The weeklong schedule of events include civic, corporate and educational engagements by Vice Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy, and Rear Adm. James A. Symonds, Commander, Navy Region Northwest.

Interactive displays such as the Navy Suburban, a wrapped Navy-theme media center on wheels equipped with video games; and the Navy simulator, featuring live-action Navy films programmed to move in sync with point-of-view imagery presented on a large screen, will provide additional entertainment during Navy Week events at a variety of locations.

From public concerts in local parks and participation in community events designed to interact with Spokane citizens, to giving back to the community by building homes and encouraging smiles from patients at a children's hospital, Spokane Navy Week promises to engage, inform and increase understanding about the Navy's multitude capabilities and career opportunities.