Military News

Monday, May 17, 2010

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 17, 2010

NAVY

DRS Technologies, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $78,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded contract for satellite IP services to support morale, welfare and recreation and other non-global information grid operations and programs. The cumulative value of this contract, including this modification, is $328,000,000. Work will be performed in Southwest Asia (95 percent) and Europe (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity (N65236-07-D-5120).

Diesel Engineering, Inc.*, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is being awarded a $20,784,887 firm-fixed-price-contract for engine upgrade kits for the Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers for the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The Achzarit engine upgrade kits modify the engine, transmission and cooling systems, resulting in an increase in horsepower of approximately 20 percent and an increase in acceleration of approximately 200 percent. This contract involves a Foreign Military Sales to Israel (100 percent). Work will be performed in Elizabeth, N.J. (71 percent), and Prague, Czech Republic (29 percent), and is expected to be completed by June 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-4200).

USA Environmental, Inc.*, Oldsmar, Fla., is being awarded an $18,000,000 cost-plus-award-fee modification to increase the maximum dollar value of a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N62742-05-D-1868) for munitions response and incidental environmental remediation at sites which potentially contain munitions and explosives of concern. The work to be performed provides for surface and subsurface munitions clearance on roads and beaches on Vieques, and vegetative and operational range clearance on Farallon de Medinilla. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $68,000,000. Work will be performed in Vieques, Puerto Rico (90 percent), and Farallon de Medinilla, Marianas Islands (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

USA Environmental, Inc.*, Oldsmar, Fla., is being awarded a $13,969,727 cost-plus-award-fee task order modification JN03-06 under a previously awarded munitions response contract (N62742-05-D-1868) for munitions and explosives of concern removal at former Vieques Naval Training Range. The work to be performed provides for the removal of surface and subsurface munitions and explosives of concern at the live impact area, surface impact area, eastern conservation area and the eastern maneuver area. After award of this modification, the total cumulative task order value will be $25,453,833. Work will be performed in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and is expected to be completed by August 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded $13,245,888 for firm-fixed-price task order #0003 under a multiple award construction contract (N62478-09-D-4015) for repair of wharves W1, W2 and W3 in the West Loch channel at Naval Magazine, Pearl Harbor. This project includes selective removal work; concrete rehabilitation; marine concrete; refurbish marine hardware; concrete fender piles; fender system; metal fabrications; coating of waterfront steel structures; asphalt-based pavement sealers; pavement markings; oil-spill containment booms; low pressure compressed air; water distribution; sanitary sewer; exterior salt pressure compressed air; water distribution; sanitary sewer; exterior salt water distribution system; electrical work; and incidental related work. Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by February 2012. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Six proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

2020 Company, LLC, Falls Church, Va. (FA9200-10-0018); Colsa Corp., Huntsville, Ala. (FA9200-10-D-0166); and Oasis Systems, Inc., Lexington, Mass. (FA9200-10-D-0173), were awarded a $28.5 million contract which will provide a wide range of diverse, non-engineering, technical and acquisition management support required in the acquisition, development, production and support of various equipment and weapons systems within the Air Armament Center and other organizations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. At this time, no money has been obligated. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Harris Corp., Palm Bay, Fla., was awarded a $19,753,657 contract which will provide for the manufacture, maintenanc and repair of the warhead replacement Tactical Telemetry Missile. At this time, no money has been obligated. 882 CBSG/GBKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8520-10-D-0001).

Warrior Games Conclude, But Its Drive, Spirit Continues

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sally Foster, Defense Media Activity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., (NNS) -- Family and friends with voices hoarse from yelling joined athletes with bodies tired and emotions drained to conclude five days of full speed ahead competition May 14 at the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The closing ceremonies took place in Arnold Hall, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and featured speakers from the USO including Rocky Bleier, a Vietnam war veteran and four-time Superbowl winner Pittsburgh Steeler. The Olympic Training Committee presented a video showcasing the competitive spirit and camaraderie of all five services, as well as a video message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen.

"You've just completed a rigorous test of your physical and mental skills, your strength and endurance," said Mullen. "But now is no time to rest. I'd like you to take what you've done here, what you've learned here and continue to serve as role models for others striving to find the independence they need."

The Marine Corps team received the Chairman's Cup award, for the team with the most points at the end of the week, based on medal count.

The Ultimate Champion award, the games' top individual honor, went to team Navy's Special Warfare Boat Operator 1st Class Daniel Hathorn, who said he really enjoyed competing against other service members who, regardless of injury, are constantly striving to excel despite physical or mental setbacks.

"Participating in the Warrior Games is not only an honor," Hathorn Said. "It's an opportunity for me to represent Naval Special Warfare and the Navy on a much bigger level."

Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., Commander U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command said service men and women fight together as a joint team around the world, and this week, they fought together in a friendly way.

"Certainly there were teams out there, fighting for their colors, but I noticed in every circumstance when competition was over, there were arms around each other, there were pats on the back. Healing is an interesting situation a person goes through. Healing is about finding out how far you can push yourself. And I think you can see that there was a lot of healing going on this week."

To cap off the evening and the five-day event country music superstar, multi-platinum singer/songwriter John Rich and Cowboy Troy shared the stage with several wounded warriors who participate in Musicorps - an intensive music rehabilitation program founded by composer Arthur Bloom to improve quality of life and aids healing for severely injured soldiers.

Chief Touts Alliance's New Strategic Concept

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 17, 2010 - The new NATO strategic concept seeks to help the alliance sort through the challenges of the future and discuss where the alliance is going, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe said here today.

Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis briefed the Defense Writers Group on the new strategic concept document, released today, that NATO leaders are expected to approve during the alliance's Lisbon, Portugal, summit in November.

The concept is the first update since 1999, the admiral noted. "Obviously, the world has changed," he said. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright chaired the 12-member panel that developed the concept.

The concept talks a lot about a comprehensive approach that Stavridis described as international, interagency and private and public entities coming together to address security problems. "I believe that we will not deliver security from the barrel of a gun as we move forward in the 21st century," he said.

The alliance has to combine the international and interagency efforts, Stavridis noted. For example, he said, the U.S. Agency for International Development has to work with its equivalent organizations from other NATO countries.

"I believe security has to be multinational, and I think it is more than just the military aspect as well," Stavridis said. "I think we need to encourage partnership among different government agencies, so our development efforts are linked together internationally, our diplomatic efforts are linked and our telecommunications efforts are linked."

The admiral said he believes the alliance is beginning to understand this need.

"I think the next big thing is public/private," he said, finding ways NATO can help private-sector organizations engaged particularly in humanitarian and disaster-relief efforts. Some 2,000 private-sector organizations are working in Afghanistan, he added.

The concept also recommends that any decisions about nuclear weapons in Europe must be made by the alliance as a whole, and it also recommends talks with Russia about strategic arms. Stavridis said there is a role for nuclear weapons in the alliance, "at least strategically and, at the moment, tactical nuclear weapons."

Building a cyber-defense capability is a rising need, the admiral said. NATO finds itself in the same situation as the United States: having to define what constitutes an attack, how to pinpoint its origin and how to respond in a proportional manner.

The concept also calls on changing the way NATO does business. Stavridis already has started this process, and this dovetails well with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' desire to cut overhead in the U.S. Defense Department.

"I am looking to make significant reductions in staff size and [the number of] flag and general officers," the admiral said. "This includes reducing the number of actual NATO headquarters. So that is a very strong effort."

The admiral said he thinks this NATO effort can parallel the U.S. effort, and he has instructed his staff to look at where these reductions might come from. "I'm confident that we will find some cuts that will be acceptable, because they are rational," he said.

Finally, communication is key to any change in strategy, Stavridis said. "Generally speaking, the future of security is not kinetic," he said. "We're very good at launching Tomahawk missiles; we're not very good at launching ideas."

Two Chinese Nationals Convicted of Illegally Exporting Electronics Components Used in Military Radar and Electronic Warfare

BOSTON, MA—Following a five-week trial, a federal jury in Massachusetts found two Chinese nationals, one of whom resided in the United States, guilty of illegally conspiring to violate U.S. export laws and illegally exporting electronic equipment from the United States to China. Several Chinese military entities were among those receiving the exported equipment.

The jury also convicted a Waltham, Massachusetts corporation, owned by one of the defendants, which procured the equipment from U.S. suppliers and then exported the goods to China, through Hong Kong. The exported equipment is used in electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, and satellite communications, including global positioning systems.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Assistant Attorney General David Kris of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; John J. McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office; Matthew J. Etre, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Boston Field Division; Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office; and Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Resident Agent in Charge of Defense Criminal Investigative Service in Boston, announced that ZHEN ZHOU WU a/k/a Alex Wu, YUFENG WEI a/k/a Annie Wei, and CHITRON ELECTRONICS, INC. (“CHITRON-US”), were convicted of unlawfully exporting defense articles and Commerce controlled goods to China on numerous occasions between 2004 and 2007 and conspiring to violate U.S. export laws over a period of ten years. WU and WEI were also both convicted of filing false shipping documents with the U.S. Department of Commerce. In addition, WEI was convicted of immigration fraud for presenting a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, which she knew had been procured by making false and fraudulent statements to immigration officials, to enter the country.

“For more than 10 years, this corporation and these defendants conspired to procure U.S. military products and other controlled electronic components for use in mainland China – for military radar, military satellite communications, and military guidance systems,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. “In doing so, these defendants violated U.S. export laws and compromised our national security. The result in this case was achieved through the exemplary investigative efforts of dedicated agents and prosecutors working with various law enforcement and other government agencies.”

“Today’s convictions demonstrate the importance of safeguarding America’s sensitive technology against illicit foreign procurement efforts. They also serve as a warning to those who seek to covertly obtain technological materials from the U.S. in order to advance military systems of their own. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about this successful outcome,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Evidence presented at trial proved that the defendants illegally exported military electronic components, which are designated on the U.S. Munitions List, to mainland China, through Hong Kong, between April 2004 and June 2006. The defense articles the defendants illegally exported are primarily used in military phased array radar, electronic warfare, military guidance systems, and military satellite communications. Since 1990 the U.S. government has maintained an arms embargo against China that prohibits the export, re-export, or re-transfer of any defense article to China.

The defendants also illegally exported Commerce controlled electronics components to China that could be used in military applications in electronic warfare, military radar, satellite communications systems and space applications. These items could make a direct and significant contribution to weapons systems and war-fighting capabilities of U.S. adversaries, and cannot be exported to China without an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

WU founded and controlled CHITRON, including its headquarters in Shenzhen, China and its U.S. office located in Waltham, Massachusetts. While WU resided in China, WEI served as the manager of the U.S. office. Using CHITRON, WU targeted Chinese military factories and military research institutes as customers of CHITRON, including numerous institutes of the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (“CETC”), which is responsible for the procurement, development, and manufacture of electronics for the Chinese military. Indeed, WU referred to Chinese military entities as CHITRON’s major customer since as early as 2002. WU hired an engineer at CHITRON’s Shenzhen office to work with Chinese military customers. By 2007, 25% of CHITRON’s sales were to Chinese military entities.

Correspondence between WU, WEI and other CHITRON employees showed knowledge that U.S. export restricted parts were being shipped overseas to Chinese customers without having first obtained an export license. WU instructed WEI and employees of CHITRON-US on numerous occasions to never tell U.S. companies that parts were going overseas. At WU and WEI’s direction, U.S. companies were told to ship all ordered products to the CHITRON-US office located in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Upon receipt by CHITRON-US of the ordered products, the U.S. commodities were inspected by CHITRON-US employees and consolidated into packages, which were then exported to CHITRON’s Shenzhen office (located in Mainland China) using freight forwarders in Hong Kong, without the required export licenses from the Department of State and Department of Commerce.

“Today’s convictions represent an outstanding collaborative investigation and prosecution to bring to justice those who flout our export control laws and endanger our national security,” said John McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the Commerce Department’s Boston Office of Export Enforcement. “Preventing dangerous U.S.-origin items from falling into the wrong hands is one of our top priorities at the Commerce Department,” he said.

“Today’s verdicts underscore the importance of ICE’s global investigative efforts aimed at disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations that profit from the illegal exportation of sensitive U.S. technology that threatens our national security,” said Matthew J. Etre, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Boston.

Warren Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Boston Field Office said, “This was a significant verdict in a joint investigation with ICE, Commerce, DCIS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The illegal export of U.S. defense technology to foreign countries is harmful to the national security of the United States. These types of violations will continue to be aggressively investigated because this conduct cannot and will not be tolerated.”

“The convictions in this case are the end result of a joint investigation conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its partner Federal law enforcement agencies,” said Resident Agent In Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey. “This investigation demonstrates the commitment DCIS has to ensuring that sensitive military equipment and technology are not illegally exported to restricted countries, which could put America’s war fighters and the Nation at considerable risk.”

WU and WEI both face up to 20 years imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release and a $1 million fine. After serving their sentence, both will face deportation to China.

CHITRON-US face up to a $1 million fine for each count in the Indictment charging the company with illegal export of U.S. Munitions List items and $500,000 for each count in the Indictment charging them with illegal export of Commerce controlled electronics. Sentencing is scheduled for August 17, 2010.

The Government also indicted SHENZHEN CHITRON ELECTRONICS COMPANY LIMITED ("CHITRON-SHENZHEN"), the Chinese company owned by WU which received the U.S. electronics and delivered the parts to Chinese end-users, for these same crimes. The Court has entered a contempt order against CHITRON-SHENZHEN for refusing to appear for trial and fined the corporation $1.9 million dollars.

Co-defendant BO LI, a/k/a Eric Lee, previously pled guilty to making false statements on shipping documents, and faces five years imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 22, 2010 in Boston.

The case was investigated by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Defense Criminal Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

West Virginia shares ideas on rural health in Peru

By Lt. Col. Mike Cadle
West Virginia National Guard

(4/26/10) Poor dental health, lack of adequate immunizations, and a shortage of resources for preventive care are many of the challenges involved in providing health care in rural settings, the chief of aerospace medicine here at the Charleston Air National Guard base, said today.

Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Steve Nathanson led a team of American military and civilian rural health experts on a mission to Peru recently to exchange ideas with that country's Ministry of Health on how best to combat these challenges and implement effective rural health practices.

Nathanson, who works full time for Team Health Atlantic as chief of emergency medicine at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston, W.V., said education is the key.

"I think the best thing we could help with is basic education. If we give people some basic education and then spread them throughout the rural parts of the country, that is probably where we could do the most good over the longest period of time," Nathanson said.

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. That old proverb might be the best way to describe how we could best help the people of Peru."

The visit was coordinated with the Peruvian Ministries of Defense and Health under the National Guard's State Partnership Program, which was created in the 1990's as a means of reinforcing military and civilian relationships with developing countries to strengthen economic, military and political ties.

West Virginia has been partnered with Peru since 1996 and was one of the first two states to implement the partnership program in the U.S. Southern Command area of operations. That area includes more than 31 countries and 10 territories in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Since the program's inception, West Virginia Guardsmen have coordinated more than 30 exchanges with various Peruvian government agencies.

"It's not about fighting wars," said Maj. Todd Miller, West Virginia's partnership coordinator. "We want to demonstrate our desire to make the world a better place and to be a good neighbor. We can do this in places like Peru by developing long-term relationships based on mutual interests," Miller said.

A team of leading rural health experts from around the country accompanied the West Virginia Guard on the week-long visit.

Heading up the civilian group was Hilda Heady, whose impressive resume includes 10 years as president of a rural hospital in West Virginia and nearly 20 years as the associate vice-president for rural health at West Virginia University.

"I was honored to be asked by the West Virginia Guard to help them take a global view of the rural health needs in Peru," Heady said. "My first impression is that there are a lot of similarities between our countries that have populations spread over mountainous areas and desert or sparse areas where the population lives."

Heady said Peruvians have the same challenges in terms of access to healthcare as do Americans who live in rural areas.

"Given particularly the experience we've had in the U.S. trying to increase access for pregnant women to healthcare, to immunizations, to education, it's been wonderful sharing those experiences from one country to another," Heady said.

The next step in this rural health initiative, said Miller, is to bring Peruvian health officials to the U.S. to visit West Virginia's rural health clinics.

"Doing that would reinforce many of the discussions held in Peru and establish a long-term plan for conducting more tangible, results-oriented initiatives in the future," he said.

Army Reserve Opens Second Community Center

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell
81st Regional Support Command

May 17, 2010 - Tucked away at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina, this community of about 6,000 residents welcomed the nation's second Army Strong Community Center during a grand opening ceremony May 15.

Several hundred soldiers, veterans, family members, business owners and community leaders helped to launch the second community-based center that's filled with resources designed to take care of not only Army Reserve families, but also any military families seeking assistance.

"Thank you for hosting us in God's country," Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, said during the early-morning ceremony. "I'm glad to be here to celebrate what America is really about. For me, at least, it brings you back home to places like Brevard, N.C., and to see really what the strength of America is.

"It's not in Washington D.C.," the general continued. "It's not in the halls of Congress. It's in Brevard, N.C., and other small communities across America."

The center -- the second of its kind, with the other located in Rochester, N.Y. -- will give military families and veterans the information, services and support they otherwise would have to drive to a major military base to find, officials said.

Located more than 160 miles from Fort Jackson, S.C., and more than 250 miles from Fort Bragg, N.C., Brevard was selected because of its remote location from a major military installation, Stultz explained. "If you build it, they will come," he said, quoting a famous line from the movie "Field of Dreams."

When the Brevard community was selected as the second community center location, Stultz said, everyone asked him and his family programs staff why they chose the town.

"Why not?" Stultz said he responded. "Why wouldn't we choose Brevard? We said, 'Soldiers and family members need help there.'"

Though the weekend event marked the center's official grand opening, over the past several months more than 100 families have walked through the Brevard Army Strong Community Center to ask questions, get information, or find comfort in knowing someone is there to help. Stultz noted that one-third of the families walking through the door were active-duty families seeking assistance.

"We have to bring the installations to the soldiers and their communities," Stultz said, "because they don't have a Fort Campbell, they don't have a Fort Drum, they don't have Fort Hood in Brevard, N.C. -- so we have to bring it to them."

That, he said, is what the Army Strong Community Center does.

"It establishes, for us, a center that says, 'If you are military in western North Carolina, we are here for you,'" Stultz said. "We are here to take care of you. We are here to offer services. We are here to find solutions."

For the Army Reserve to be successful, Stultz said, he needs four things: a soldier, that soldier's family, the soldier's employer and a supportive community.

"A community like Brevard has to be there for that soldier and that soldier's family – especially when I take that soldier away," he said.

For the Army Reserve family, the center is a place where the community can plug in, Stultz said. His wife, Laura, recalled past difficulties of being alone with four children when her husband deployed to Iraq.

The general gave full credit for the community center concept to his wife, who said she remembers not being able to attend numerous family readiness group meetings because of the distance to travel and her life as a temporary single mom.

"I knew there was something missing," she said. "I didn't feel connected."

All that changed, she said, when her husband was sworn in as Army Reserve chief in May 2006.

"I said, 'This is it. This is my chance,'" she said about helping families left behind while their spouses deploy overseas. "I wanted to bring a military installation to the communities." The general's wife said she was happy to assist in the opening of the Army Reserve's second center and hopes there will be many more in the future.

Laura Stultz envisions local communities coming together with area military residents to help those in need.

"I have every confidence that the people of North Carolina will step up and support their local military families," she said.

Air Force veteran and Brevard mayor Jimmy Harris pledged his community's support for the new center.

"Families are important, and they make a difference in the lives of soldiers," he said. "When I am amongst you, and I see these flags and these volunteers in uniform, I am a proud American. I am proud of being a part of something that is this good."

Harris said the residents of Brevard will stand tall and are committed to the Army Strong Community Center.

"We will stand and support you in this mission," the mayor told Stultz. "We are proud that we were selected. This is a blessing."

Services Meet or Exceed April Recruiting Goals

From a Defense Department News Release

May 17, 2010 - All four services met or exceeded their April recruiting goals for their active and reserve components, Defense Department officials reported today.

Navy active-duty and reserve numbers are preliminary, however, because flooding required Navy Personnel Command officials to take some information technology systems down temporarily, officials said.

Here are the April active-duty recruiting numbers:

-- Army: 6,287 accessions with a goal of 6,056 for 104 percent;

-- Navy: 2,618 accessions with a goal of 2,618 for 100 percent;

-- Marine Corps: 798 accessions with a goal of 795 for 100 percent; and

-- Air Force: 2,275 accessions with a goal of 2,275 for 100 percent.

Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force retention are above goals for the first seven months of the fiscal year. Navy retention information was unavailable due to the flooding.

Here are the reserve-components' recruiting numbers for April:

-- Army National Guard: 6,774 accessions with a goal of 5,150 for 132 percent;

-- Army Reserve: 2,191 accessions with a goal of 2,070 for 106 percent;

-- Navy Reserve: Accession figures were unavailable for the goal of 351;

-- Marine Corps Reserve: 705 accessions with a goal of 513 for 137 percent;

-- Air National Guard: 701 accessions with a goal of 487 for 144 percent; and

-- Air Force Reserve: 829 accessions with a goal of 784 for 106 percent.

Attrition in all reserve components was within acceptable limits, officials said.

General Officer Announcement

May 17, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nomination:

Air Force Col. Paul H. McGillicuddy has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. McGillicuddy is currently serving as the commander, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Air Combat Command, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

Utah Guard joins African Lion exercise

Story by Master Sgt. Grady Fontana
U.S. Marine Forces Africa

AGADIR, Morocco, (5/15/10) -- More than 150 members of the joint task force conducting Exercise African Lion 2010 arrived here to mark the beginning of the exercise May 14.

The Utah National Guard alog with Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen will participate in the largest exercise in U.S. Africa Command's area of activity.

"I know I have the best [service members] of what each unit can offer," said Col. Anthony Fernandez III, the Combined Joint Task Force commander for the exercise, while addressing the members of the task force. "This is a complicated exercise, and it is a large exercise; I know we're going to be successful."

Exercise African Lion, a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored exercise, will include various types of military training including command post, live-fire training, peacekeeping operations, disaster response training, intelligence capacity building seminar, aerial refueling/low-level flight training as well as a medical, dental, and veterinarian assistance projects and exercise related construction to run concurrent with the training.

Various units from the Marine Corps Forces Africa and Marine Corps Forces Reserve along with the Tennessee Army National Guard and Naval Forces Africa will conduct bi-lateral training, weapons qualification training and peacekeeping operations training with units from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.

Marines and aircraft from the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 and 11th Tactical Aviation Command will conduct various ground courses as well as aerial refueling and low-level flight training with their counterparts in the Royal Moroccan Air Force.

Concurrent with the exercise, U.S. military professionals from the Utah Army and Air National Guard, which is joined with Morocco in the National Guard's State Partnership Program, will provide medical, dental and veterinarian assistance to the local residents in and around the community of Taroudant.

The exercise is an annually scheduled, joint, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise. It brings together nearly 1,000 U.S. service members from 16 locations throughout Europe and North America with more than 1,000 members of the Moroccan military.

African Lion is designed to promote interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's military tactics, techniques and procedures.

The exercise is scheduled to end on or around June 9. All U.S. forces will return to their home bases in the United States and Europe at the conclusion of the exercise.

The last African Lion exercise occurred in May 2009 and involved about 1,400 Moroccan and U.S. military personnel.

Wisconsin Soldier marches on to Best Warrior competition

Date: May 17, 2010
By Spc. Eric W. Liesse
112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

A Wisconsin National Guard Soldier in the second year of his military career will represent Wisconsin and the upper Midwest in August at the National Guard Bureau's Best Warrior Competition at the Warrior Training Center, Fort Benning, Ga.

Pfc. Randy Fendryk of Mukwonago, a multiple launch rocket system specialist with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery in Sussex, was named Soldier of the Year for Region 4, consisting of seven states around and including Wisconsin. Spc. Trevor Garner, Illinois National Guard, was named first alternate.

Staff Sgt. Adam Little, Michigan Army National Guard, was named Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for Region 4. Sgt. Cody Brueggen of Oconomowoc, a utilities equipment repairer with Detachment 1, 107th Support Maintenance Company in Sparta, was named first alternate.

Fendryk and Brueggen advanced to the regional competition after being named the top finishers at the state Soldier and NCO of the Year competition March 7. Both the state and regional competitions were held at Fort McCoy. There Soldiers competed over the course of three days in such events as a physical fitness test, weapons qualification, land navigation, hand-to-hand combat and a formal board appearance.

Starting in the early-morning hours Tuesday, May 11 and ending Thursday, May 13, the annual competition tested two Soldiers from each of the region's Army National Guard organizations: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and the competition's host state, Wisconsin. With about 800 total points over 14 different rated events, the competitors were forced to give their all to have any chance of winning.

"Despite Mother Nature trying her best, I think we pulled of a pretty successful competition," said Command Sgt. Major George Stopper, Wisconsin state sergeant major and host of the regional competition. The many different Wisconsin units gave what Stopper said was an "absolutely flawless execution."

"With the 15-20 mile-an-hour winds, 40-degree weather and freezing rain, I think everyone's performance suffered on the [physical fitness] test," Little said. The PT test, starting early morning on Tuesday, began the weather pairing that plagued the entire competition: belowaverage temperatures and near-constant rain and drizzle. The Soldiers' soaked boots after the three-hour land navigation course that afternoon vividly displayed their hardships.

"The most challenging event for me would have been the land navigation," Fendryk said. "I just couldn't find my points for some reason. I kind of wanted to break down, but I still pushed on." "You can't really judge someone just by looking at them," Brueggen said. "You're not a supersoldier. You just have to be better than everyone else."

"When I did my state-level competition in March, it was like a run-through for this competition," Stopper said. He began planning the competition in June 2009, intending the state and regional competitions to mirror each other.

"This was a chance to showcase my people," said Command Sgt. Major David Wetuski, Wisconsin's 641st Troop Command Battalion senior enlisted leader. The Madison-based 641st was in charge of many of the week's logistics and personnel support, supplying everything from equipment needs to medics to photographers. The battalion was also in charge of developing and executing the land navigation courses.

"I keep using the word 'showcase,' but I'm just so proud of all my Soldiers here," Wetuski said. "The state and regional's were essentially the same competition - minus four miles on the road march," Fendryk said. The week's last rated event on Thursday, a 12-mile road with each Soldier carrying at least a 35-pound load, did have a few less miles and a flatter course than the state competition. However, it was by no means easy.

"Even if you win in the road march, you still lose," Fendryk joked. "12 miles with any amount of weight on your back hurts."

Tuesday saw multiple other events as well. After the PT test, the Soldiers competed for the highest rifle qualification score, as well as a high marks in a "stress fire" event. That event required the Warriors complete a two-mile road march followed immediately by a five rounds of quick, short-ranged rifle fire between fast-pasted physical exercises. The event is made to test the Soldiers' accuracy under harsh physical and mental stress.

The land navigation, both day and night, followed the rifle ranges. Between the two navigation courses, the competitors took a short written exam and a "mystery task" requiring Soldiers to indentify different objects at a distance as well as properly send the information using proper radio etiquette.

"I'd like to take back to my unit [to help train others] the Army Warrior Tasks," Little said of Wednesday's largest event. "It was like a mini-field training exercise." The AWT event, developed and ran by the Milwaukee-based 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, had multiple smaller stations held concurrently. It had the Soldiers display proper procedure for many different warrior tasks such as evaluating a casualty, requesting a medical evacuation and moving through obstructed and harmful terrain.

Wednesday began, however, with an old Army standard: the confidence and conditioning course. The obstacles forced the competitors to literally dig deep to get through many stations like monkey bars, a vertical rope climb and low rope crawls.

The day's last event was, as Stopper put it, a "pretty ruthless" senior enlisted board consisting of three different state sergeants major from the region. With three questions per minute for 30 straight minutes, plus a close inspection of each contestant's dress uniform, many of the contestants talked of high nerves prior to appearing before the board.

At the competition's end, finishing with the road march early Thursday morning, all the Soldiers were visibly weary. However, none had given up.

"What they gain here, they take back to their unit and train [other Soldiers]," Stopper said. The caliber of Soldiers required to compete at this level allows for their attitude and pool of talents to "spread like wildfire" through their home units.

"Being a Soldier is all about the strong protecting the weak," Little said. Through this grueling competition, these 14 Soldiers should the paragon of that strength - true Army Strong.

This is the second straight year Wisconsin has sent a contender to the National Guard's Best Warrior Competition. Last year, Spc. John Wiernasz of Vadnais Heights, Minn., a member of Detachment 1, 950th Engineer Company in Spooner, advanced to the National Guard-level competition.

DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for April 2010

The Department of Defense announced today its recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for April 2010.

• Active Component.

• Recruiting. All four active services met or exceeded their accession goals for April 2010. Navy data are preliminary due to flooding at its personnel command.

o Army - 6,287 accessions with a goal of 6,056; 104 percent

o Navy - 2,618 accessions with a goal of 2,618; 100 percent

o Marine Corps - 798 accessions with a goal of 795; 100 percent

o Air Force - 2,275 accessions with a goal of 2,275; 100 percent

• Retention. Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force retention are above the fiscal-year-to-date goals for the first seven months of the year. Navy data are unavailable due to flooding at its personnel command.

• Reserve Component.

• Recruiting. The reserve components who reported data exceeded their accession goals for April 2010. Navy data are unavailable due to flooding at its personnel command.

o Army National Guard - 6,774 accessions with a goal of 5,150; 132 percent

o Army Reserve - 2,191 accessions with a goal of 2,070; 106 percent

o Navy Reserve - the goal was 351; accession data unavailable due to flood

o Marine Corps Reserve - 705 accessions with a goal of 513; 137 percent

o Air National Guard - 701 accessions with a goal of 487; 144 percent

o Air Force Reserve - 829 accessions with a goal of 784; 106 percent

• Attrition. Losses in all reserve components are within acceptable limits.

Detailed information on specific recruiting data can be obtained by contacting the individual military recruiting commands at 502-626-0164 for Army, 210-565-4678 for Air Force, 703-784-9454 for Marine Corps and 901-874-9049 for Navy. The reserve components can be reached at the following numbers: National Guard Bureau 703-607-2586; Army Reserve 404-464-8490; Air Force Reserve 703-697-1761; Navy Reserve 757-322-5652; and Marine Corps Reserve 504-678-6535.

VA Nurse is Veterans' "Bridge" from Active Duty to Veteran

May 17, 2010 - Think "nurse" and you might think of syringes, blood pressure readings and thermometers. Not if you knew Brenda Stidham. She's an example of how the role of a nurse comes in many forms. Throughout her career, she has made headway in clinical research, played a key role in developing an electronic records tool and now works as a vital liaison between military and VA hospitals.

Brenda's current position is one of three VA/DoD Polytrauma rehabilitation nurse liaisons. She is employed by the VA, but her physical workplace is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

She is the nursing "bridge" for OEF/OIF active duty service members and Veterans transitioning from Walter Reed to one of the four VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers, located in Palo Alto, Minneapolis, Tampa and Richmond. On a daily basis, she is responsible for informing families of VA care, answering questions, and making sure the logistical details between medical centers are managed smoothly.

Polytrauma care is a unit for those suffering from more than one severe injury, such as Traumatic Brain Injury and the loss of a leg. It's an intense environment where Veterans and service members are adjusting to their injuries and their new surroundings. With so many changes in their life, patients and their family members are generally apprehensive about a move to a new city and facility.

In order to counteract these fears, Brenda steps in to ease the concerns of men and women injured in combat, as well as their families. She is an information source for any and all questions regarding the medical facility transfer.

"What I enjoy most about my job is the time at the bedside with the Veterans, active duty service members and their families, reassuring them and providing information about the Polytrauma system of care. It can be a very stressful time and they have a lot of questions, but I help keep the transition as calm and smooth as possible."

It may have something to do with her tranquil nature and her small town Kentucky charm that help her keep things unruffled.

Helping the Process by Advancing the System

Another part of her job entails working with VA Polytrauma Centers and Walter Reed to make sure both sides are well-informed and well-prepared for the move.

In the four years Brenda has worked in this position, she has helped revolutionize the process of transferring patients between DoD and VA Polytrauma Centers. She was a driving force behind the development of an electronic nursing hand-off tool, an electronic record that provides necessary information for each patient, including the nature of the injuries, symptoms and functional status.

Her nursing career includes working as a coordinator for clinical research with stroke patients and working on a caregiver study. "I've enjoyed and gained a deeper appreciation for nursing throughout my career. I'm very lucky. The position as liaison has been one of the most challenging and rewarding in my career."

Brenda planned to be a nurse when she was young. She grew up near the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky, a family-centered healthcare system and nursing school, and was inspired by the fleet of well-trained nurses. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing at Eastern Kentucky University and a master's degree in public health at the University of Kentucky. She is now working on a doctorate in nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.

"I'm honored to serve in this way. It's a unique role for nurses and it's a unique opportunity to provide needed information and help relieve anxiety in patients and families."