Military News

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pacific Partnership Receives Logistical Support in Guam

By Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Defense Media Activity

May 21, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- In the Southeast Pacific, the Military Sealift Command's hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and her crew are moored in Guam as they bring on additional mission support teams, supplies, and other equipment to further prepare for their five-month Pacific Partnership 2010 deployment.

The hospital ship will re-supply at two other logistical hubs during the deployment, Singapore and Darwin, Australia. Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in an annual series of U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors, and officially kicked off a five-month deployment on May 1, 2010 when Mercy departed San Diego for Southeast-Asia.

"We have a lot of partners out here. We have eight partner nations, six host nations and 17 NGOs that will be sending volunteers throughout the mission," said U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander for the overall Pacific Partnership mission.

This year's mission will focus on providing assistance ashore with a variety of engineering, medical, dental, subject matter expert exchanges, and logistic civic action programs to provide humanitarian and civic assistance to Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Palau and Papua New Guinea. Mercy is expected to arrive in Vietnam on May 31, and will remain on station for slightly more than two weeks.

"I can't emphasize enough what a partnership it is, that's why they call it Pacific Partnership. [It] really is not purely a military mission in any sense of the word, and we really couldn't do the mission without the support of all our partners," said the commodore.

The crew accompaniment aboard Mercy this year is drawn from all services, and not exclusively from the U.S. Navy.

"We have quite a few Air Force and Army personnel, which is very exciting," added Franchetti. "They come from all over the U.S., there is a request that goes out to join the mission, and with some commands it is a very competitive process."

In addition to the military support during the deployment, the Commodore added that an additional 130 partner-nation personnel will join the crew, as well as 580 volunteers from 17 non-governmental organizations.

"The total number of personnel on board will fluctuate [near] 900 and our maximum number will be right around 1100," she added.

For this mission, Mercy has been outfitted with humanitarian and civic assistance equipment, supplies and a staff augmented with a robust multi-specialized team of preventive medicine personnel, veterinarians, medical and dental teams and engineering personnel.

"In addition to [performing] surgeries aboard the Mercy, everyone of the visits we will provide primary health and dental clinics, biomedical repair opportunities, preventative medicine and veterinarian care, which is a new thing this year for most of our countries," the commodore added.

Franchetti added that some service members who are a part of her crew will have the chance to cross deck aboard an Australian ship prior to joining with the guided missile frigate USS Crommelin in Papua New Guinea. In addition, when Mercy arrives in Vietnam and Cambodia, military personnel from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will assist in medical training and subject-matter exchanges to provide quality medical and dental health care. While in Vietnam, the JMSDF dock landing ship JDS Kunisaki will provide additional medical support.

"We will have a medical team made up of approximately 40 medical personnel from the Japanese Self Defense Forces, as well as three different Japanese NCOs, so we are very excited to have the opportunity to work together in both Vietnam and Cambodia," said the Franchetti.

The concept of Pacific Partnership evolved from the unprecedented international disaster response for countries devastated during the 2004 Asia tsunami. Follow-up missions recognized the benefits derived from cooperation between national governments, militaries, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations during disaster relief operations, as well as in civic assistance projects, according to the Pacific Partnership official website.

General Officer Assignments

The Chief of Staff, Army announced today the following assignments:

Brig. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, deputy director for operations, National Military Command Center, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C., to deputy commander, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Brig. Gen. William K. Fuller, deputy commanding general (operations), 82d Airborne Division/Combined Joint Task Force-76, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, to deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Brig. Gen. Gustave F. Perna, director, J-4, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, to commanding general, Joint Munitions Lethality, Life Cycle Management Command/Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island, Ill.

Brig. Gen. Lawarren V. Patterson, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., to commanding general, 7th Signal Command (Theater), Fort Gordon, Ga.

Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Richardson, commander, Defense Supply Center, Columbus, Defense Logistics Agency, Columbus, Ohio, to director, J-4, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq.

General Officer Assignments

May 21, 2010 - The Chief of Staff, Air Force announced today the following assignments:

Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Feest, commander, 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, to Air Force chief of safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C./commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

Maj. Gen. Mark S. Solo, commander, 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to commander, 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.

Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Cox, commandant of cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., to commander, 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Brig. Gen. Richard M. Clark, vice commander, 8th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to commandant of cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Brig. Gen. Scott D. West, chief of staff, Joint Warfare Centre, Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Stavanger, Norway, to vice commander, 13th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

Brig. Gen. Steven J. DePalmer, vice commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to chief of staff, Joint Warfare Centre, Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Stavanger, Norway.

AIRLANT Presents Truman with Battle "E" Award Prior to Deployment

May 21, 2010 - USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic (CNAL) presented USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors with the carrier's second consecutive Battle Efficiency Award May 21.

CNAL Rear Adm. Richard O'Hanlon presented the award hours before the Truman carrier strike group got underway for a scheduled deployment.

"This is a historic moment," O'Hanlon said. "It speaks to the caliber of the men and women on board Truman that this is their second consecutive Battle "E" win. I am extremely proud to present this award as they depart today for deployment."

One of the most coveted awards in the fleet, the Battle Efficiency Award, more commonly known as the Battle "E", recognizes sustained superior performance in an operational environment.

The Battle "E" Award is one of the few awards given in the Navy that isn't earned by one individual, but rather is awarded based on a point system that evaluates the performance of 14 different departments and more than 4,000 Sailors.

This marks the fifth year the Truman has won the award. The ship was also a recipient in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008.

"I am proud of our Sailors each and every day," said Capt. Joe Clarkson, Truman's commanding officer. "This prestigious award reflects the commitment, dedication, and sustained pursuit of excellence of every Sailor on board. I cannot think of a better way to recognize their battle-readiness as we begin our deployment."

The competitive cycle for the award is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. The better each individual department scores with regards to their qualifications, the higher the marks they receive. The higher the departmental score, the better the overall average score for the ship.

The ship's score is computed and compared to other operational carriers on the east coast and the vessel with the best score wins the prestigious honor of calling themselves a Battle "E" recipient.

"It feels great to join a ship that has such a strong reputation," said Seaman Jason S. Kowalski, who joined Truman's Deck department in December 2009. "It gives me the motivation to keep this tradition going."

Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, offered congratulations to the crew.

"The skill and determination of every sailor aboard Harry S. Truman has made a direct contribution to the success of the Carrier Strike Group 10 team and ensured we are ready to deploy," said Driscoll.

Combat and Operational Stress Conference Lays Groundwork for Future

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

May 21, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The first joint Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference concluded May 20, after three days of discussions and presentations on stress control.

The symposium, organized by the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) to address combat, operational and daily stress, brought together hundreds of Navy and Marine Corps leaders, medical and mental health professionals, counselors, chaplains, combat veterans and family members.

"This conference has been overwhelming," said Medical Officer of the Marine Corps Rear Adm. Richard R. Jeffries. "The next step is, now that we have brought together all these brilliant minds, and all these programs are now going, what can we create to be more proactive and make a difference in the future? That is what everyone here is excited about. Now we are looking at the growth side instead of the problem side."

The NCCOSC invited individuals and organizations from around the world to discuss the new combined Navy/Marine Corps COSC doctrine, as well as new policies, research, data, programs, interventions and the best practices pertinent to combat and operational stress control.

"This conference has been a culmination of what we have been working on for the past several years," said Capt. Paul Hammer, NCCOSC director. "Even though the Marine Corps developed the COSC model and the Navy adopted it, this conference was a success because we have been able to look at the COSC from the perspective of naval service as a whole."

One highlight of the conference was the presentation of the new COSC doctrine, expected to be formally introduced within months. This doctrine promotes effective leadership by enhancing the mission capabilities of caregivers. It also empowers commanders and important links in the chain of command to perform the five core functions of combat and operational stress control: to strengthen, mitigate, identify, treat and reintegrate.

Psychological stress, according to this new doctrine, is plotted and measured on a continuum of severity, duration and impairment. This paradigm ranges from "ready" (mission ready) to "reacting" (mild/transient/functional) to "injured" (moderate/persistent/distressed) to "ill" (severe/prolonged/disabled).

In years past, the Marine Corps held their own COSC conferences, but this year's conference was the first time there has been a wide array of experts and greater collaboration.

"I was most pleased with the level of collaboration among a lot of different groups that would normally not be collaborating," Hammer said. "We had line leaders talking with researchers; we had family members talking with clinicians. I think we broke down a lot of barriers that would normally limit who people would talk to or what they would talk about."

NCCOSC is a Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery program created to improve the psychological health of Navy and Marine Corps forces by helping to build and promote resilience.

Its goals are to provide service members, combat veterans and their families with educational programs to effectively address combat, operational and daily stress, reduce the stigma in seeking mental health treatment, and to facilitate research in psychological health, especially in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Comedian Emphasizes Traffic Safety Aboard Guantanamo

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leona Mynes, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Naval Station Guantanamo Bay welcomed a comedian to help highlight the importance of traffic safety May 20-21.

Comedian Steve Verret taught service members about automobile statistics, accidents, safety tips and gave helpful information about automobile insurance and alcohol and drugs through laughter during the performance.

Verret began performing for the troops at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where his light-hearted approach to safety made the learning experience more fun.

"The Marines sent me to Quantico, Va., and from there, I was sent out to different bases to perform," said Verret. "I performed for Rear Adm. Vitale, and that's when I started with the Navy."

Verret said he thinks his performances make a difference. "I always imagine I'm saving one person's life," said Verret.

The Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba safety office hosted the comedian to help kick off this year's Critical Days of Summer campaign, which starts Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day. Summertime is when most military mishaps occur.

Verret performs for troops in an effort to save lives and prevent death or injuries.

"I get the satisfaction of knowing that I'm repaying those who serve our country," said Verret. "They're fighting for me, and it's a privilege to be able to entertain them."

The Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba safety office will host a Summer Safety Standdown May 27 in the Windjammer ballroom.

Project Hope Recognizes Navy Contribution

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Kyle P. Malloy, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was the honorary representative for the Navy at the Project Hope Spring Gala in Washington May 20.

President and CEO of Project Hope, John P. Howe, thanked Adm. Gray Roughead, CNO, for the Navy's continued partnership during humanitarian and relief efforts.

"Project Hope recognizes the United States Navy and its exceptional maritime strategy with its emphasis to build trust and improve and safe the lives of millions of children and adults in nations throughout the world through these humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions," said Howe.

CNO spoke about the impact of the Navy, its Sailors, Project Hope, and partnering navies during disaster relief efforts during the Indian Ocean tsunami and more recently, the earthquake in Haiti.

"(The efforts) have paid off in what we have been able to give to people around the world who, in their wildest dreams, never thought that from the sea there would come people who care about them, who care about their families, who care about their future, and care about what we can do if we could join together," said Roughead.

CNO thanked Project Hope for the partnership and friendship that has enabled the two organizations to have such a positive global impact and reinforce the Navy's motto of 'Global Force for Good.'

"We are (a 'Global Force for Good') because of organizations like Project Hope that show the true side of our country, of our people and what we want to see in the world of tomorrow," said Roughead.

Project Hope has partnered with the Navy to help make health care available to communities around the world through a variety of medical initiatives and educational programs. Since 2005, more than 1,000 Project Hope volunteers have participated in 17 humanitarian assistance and health education missions.

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 21, 2010

AIR FORCE

Alion Science and Technology Corp., Chicago, Ill. (FA1500-10-D-0001); Applied Research Associates, Inc., Albuquerque, N.M. (FA1500-10-D0002); Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio (FA1500-10-D0003); Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., McLean, Va. (FA1500-10-D0004); ITT Corp., Advanced Engineering & Sciences Division, Herndon, Va. (FA1500-10-D0005); L-3 Communications Corp., Camden, N.J. (FA1500-10-D0006); MacAulay-Brown, Inc., Dayton, Ohio (FA1500-10-D0007); Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif. (FA1500-10-D0008); and Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama (FA1500-10-D0009) were awarded a $2,000,000,000 contract which will provide research, development, test and evaluation services, as well as advisory and assistance services, related to research and development efforts for technical area tasks within software, information technology networks, information assurance, information sharing, knowledge management, and modeling and simulation focus areas. At this time, no money has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $325,485,969 contract which will provide for the development, integration and delivery of 35 mid-life upgrade kits for the Foreign Military Sales Pakistan Block 15 F-16A/B aircraft, and 18 retrofit kits for the Block 52 F-16C/D aircraft. At this time, $121,209,418 has been obligated. 312 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-07-C-6032).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

BAE Systems, Specialty Group., Jessup, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $131,430,290 firm-fixed-price contract for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment items. Other locations of performance are Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arizona, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with six responses. This contract is exercising the second option year period. The date of performance completion is October 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-08-D-1080).

CFM International, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $6,058,200 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for turbine nozzle support. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Logistics Agency, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8104-08-G-0002-UNY1).

US Foodservice Lexington, Lexington, S.C., is being awarded a maximum $4,500,000 firm-fixed-price, prime-vendor contract for food and beverage support. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Bamberg Job Corp, Bamberg, S.C. The original proposal was Web solicited with four responses. The date of performance completion is June 19, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM300-08-D-3057).

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., U.S. Federal/Global Government Industry Division, Bethesda, Md., is being competitively awarded a cost-plus-award-fee indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H95001-10-D-0002) with a price ceiling of $50,000,000. IBM will develop a decision support system of people, business processes, workflows, system automation, decision models, dashboards, and displays with governance and standards to support Missile Defense Agency leadership in synchronizing and integrating ballistic missile defense system baselines for rapid development of decision options and trade-offs for program management. Work will be peformed in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Huntsville, Ala., and will take place from July 1, 2010 through June 20, 2015. Fiscal 2010 research, development, test and evaluation funds, in the amount of $9,105,559, will be used for the initial task order. This contract was competitively procured with six proposals received. Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity.

NAVY

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $10,838,944 contract modification to increase the ceiling amount to previously awarded contract N00024-07-C-5454 for the rebaselining of the system design and development of the Block 2 upgrade to the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) guided missile weapon system. The RAM guided missile weapon system is co-developed and co-produced under a NATO cooperative program between the governments of the U.S. and Germany, and designed to provide anti-ship missile defense for multiple ship platforms. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by December 2011. The Naval Sea System Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., is being awarded a $9,831,278 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the procurement of 30 M61A2 20mm lightweight gatling gun systems for the F/A-18E/F aircraft. Work will be performed in Burlington, Vt. (50 percent), and Saco, Maine (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-10-C-0024).

Fort Lee Army Force Structure Actions Announced

May 21, 2010 - The Department of the Army announced today the planned inactivations of the 82nd Quartermaster Detachment (Water Purification) and the 506th Quartermaster Company at Fort Lee, Va.

These stationing actions represent a decrease of 455 military authorizations. These stationing actions are expected to be completed in August 2011.

The 82nd Quartermaster Detachment provides general support to bulk water purification facilities for corps and theater Army area units. The 506th Quartermaster Company provides liaison and coordination support for bulk petroleum to the United States, allied forces and the host nation.

These reductions are part of the effort to achieve the Army's goal of rebalancing the force and reducing over-structure. The personnel authorizations will be utilized to fulfill other Army requirements, while still maintaining the authorized end strength of 547,400.

There will be no changes to civilian authorizations.

Point of contact for this notification is Lt. Col. David H. Patterson Jr., 703-697-7592, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Army.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Welcomes New Leader

By Brienne Lang, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and Chief of Civil Engineers held a change of command ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard May 21.

Rear Adm. Christopher J. Mossey relieved Rear Adm. Wayne "Greg" Shear Jr. as commander.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead presented Shear with the Distinguished Service Medal for his "exemplary leadership of NAVFAC and 31 years of honorable and dedicated service." Shear assumed command of NAVFAC in October 2006, after previous assignments as director, Shore Readiness Division and deputy commander, Navy Installations Command. Roughead also awarded Marlene Shear the Meritorious Public Service Award.

NAVFAC is a global systems command that delivers and maintains quality, sustainable facilities, acquires and manages capabilities for the Navy's expeditionary combat forces, provides engineering contingency response, and enables energy security and environmental stewardship. In fiscal year 2009, NAVFAC managed a program of $16 billion and executed an unprecedented contract workload, awarding more than 44,400 actions totaling nearly $10.8 billion.

Among its facilities planning, engineering and construction support to Navy and Marine Corps commanders worldwide, NAVFAC is contracting the $1.1 billion Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., planning for the relocation of 8,000 Marines from Japan to Guam, and executing $1.9 billion in projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes improvements to Navy and Marine Corps installations, infrastructure repairs, installation of alternative energy options, and new construction of facilities.

Mossey previously served as vice commander of Navy Installations Command and director, Shore Readiness Division on the chief of naval operations' staff. As NAVFAC's new commander, Mossey will lead nearly 2,000 active and Reserve Civil Engineer Corps officers and approximately 20,000 civil servants and contractors.

"NAVFAC will aggressively seek innovative solutions that reduce total ownership costs for facilities and services," said Mossey in his remarks. "We will exploit conservation and efficiency opportunities, expand renewable energy production, and enhance the Navy and Marine Corps energy security."

Mossey grew up in Newtown Square, Penn. After earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1981, he was commissioned an ensign through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Cornell University. In 1991, he received a master of science (construction management) from Stanford University and completed the executive training program at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business in August 2003.

Mossey previously commanded NAVFAC Atlantic from June 2007 to September 2009, NAVFAC Pacific from October 2006 to June 2007, and served as NAVFAC Washington's commanding officer from 2004 to 2005.

Mossey is a Seabee combat warfare officer, a registered professional engineer in California and a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps. His personal decorations include five Legion of Merit Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal and various unit awards.

Seabees and Vietnamese Engage in Technique Building

By Lt. Cmdr. Arwen Consaul, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - QUY NHON, VIETNAM (NNS) -- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 and Vietnamese volunteers engaged in subject matter expert exchanges are ensuring the Pacific Partnership renovation of the Tuy Phuoc District Health Center is a mutually advantageous engagement for both.

"Seabees are used to doing construction from the ground up," said Construction Engineer 2nd Class Jacob Simino, the crew leader for the Tuy Phuoc District Health Center. "We are a green crew when it comes to renovations and the Vietnamese volunteers are teaching us a lot."

At the invitation of the Vietnamese government, the U.S. Navy has been working with Vietnamese volunteers to renovate the Tuy Phuoc District Health Center since May 13, as part of Pacific Partnership 2010. Pacific Partnership is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors aimed at strengthening regional partnerships and increasing interoperability with the U.S. interagency, host nations, partner nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.

According to Simino, the Seabees don't normally work on buildings made entirely of concrete.

"Americans like to build with lumber," said Simino. "This clinic is built entirely of concrete, and it is a different type of work for us; there is a lot of masonry. On top of that, the Vietnamese do construction and masonry differently than us."

Since the construction of buildings is different in Vietnam, the Vietnamese volunteers are taking the time to work with the Seabees and teach them a few tricks of the trade.

"We are teaching them about how we do masonry," said Hai Minh Do, the Vietnamese crew leader at the Tuy Phuoc District Health Center. "They are hard workers and enthusiastic to learn."

"Hai has taught me techniques about masonry that I didn't think you could do," said Builder 3rd Class John Richard Gernhard. "I will definitely take this knowledge and use it in the future."

But the learning at the Tuy Phuoc District Health Center hasn't been one-sided. The Vietnamese are learning about Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety standards when it comes to working on job sites. .

"The Seabees have taught me about hardhats, goggles and other safety equipment," said Minh Do. "We do not wear it, but some of my workers have started."

Both countries have enjoyed working and learning from each other and have built friendships and shared laughs despite the language barrier.

"We use hand signals and motions to communicate and it works really well," said Gernhard. "I guess you could say there is a secret language amongst engineers."

Ronald Reagan Ready for Sea After Successful Sea Trials

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Torrey W. Lee, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulled into Naval Air Station North Island May 19 after a successful two-day sea trial, which marked the official end to its six-month planned incremental availability (PIA) period.

The sea trial was the final phase of PIA and was conducted to assess the material readiness and ability for the ship to return to the operational fleet.

Ronald Reagan's executive officer, Capt. Ronald Ravelo attributed the success of Ronald Reagan's PIA to the tremendous teamwork between the ship's crew and shipyard workers from Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Northrop-Grumman's Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and Southwest Regional Maintenance Command.

"This is where a warship should be," said Ravelo. "I was walking around the ship and as we made it to deep water I could feel that energy in the crew."

During the maintenance period, Ronald Reagan received technological upgrades that will prepare it for its next deployment and beyond. Refurbishments ranged from hi-tech combat systems to firefighting equipment. The crew also benefited, receiving living spaces and improved ship's laundry services, to list a few.

"With the modernization we're now going through I think it serves as a preparation," said Ravelo. "The challenges out there in the real world are becoming a lot more complex. By investing the time and money into these carriers and upgrading the systems, it better prepares us to tackle all of those challenges."

Ronald Reagan's PIA began last fall, on the heels of the ship's fourth deployment in four years. The PIA was the ship's second, the first coming in 2007. With most of the crew involved in that maintenance period transferred, going from an operational carrier to a shipyard environment was difficult at first.

"Initially it was tough," said Ravelo. "After that initial shockwave once we got into the groove I think everyone worked really well together. Again, teamwork was the key."

USNS Mercy Arrives in Guam for Pacific Partnership

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

May 21, 2010 - The Military Sealift Command's hospital ship USNS Mercy is moored in Guam to bring on mission-support teams, supplies and other equipment to prepare for a five-month humanitarian deployment.

The deployment is part of Pacific Partnership 2010, the fifth in an annual series of U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors. The mission officially kicked off May 1 when the Mercy left San Diego.

"We have a lot of partners out here," Navy Capt. Lisa M. Franchetti -- Mercy's commodore and commander for the overall Pacific Partnership mission – said yesterday in a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable. "We have eight partner nations, six host nations and 17 [nongovernmental organizations] that will be sending volunteers throughout the mission."

This year's mission will focus on providing assistance ashore in a variety of ways, including engineering projects, medical and dental care, participating in subject-matter-expert exchanges and conducting programs to provide humanitarian and civic assistance to Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Palau and Papua New Guinea.

Mercy is expected to arrive in Vietnam on May 31, and it will remain on station for slightly more than two weeks. In addition to the current stop in Guam, the hospital ship will re-supply at logistical hubs in Singapore and in Darwin, Australia, during the deployment.

"I can't emphasize enough what a partnership it is," Franchetti said. "That's why they call it Pacific Partnership. [It] really is not purely a military mission in any sense of the word, and we really couldn't do the mission without the support of all our partners."

The crew accompaniment aboard Mercy this year is not exclusively from the Navy. "We have quite a few Air Force and Army personnel, which is very exciting," Franchetti said. "They come from all over the U.S. There is a request that goes out to join the mission, and with some commands, it is a very competitive process."

In addition to the military support during the deployment, Franchetti said, an additional 130 partner-nation personnel will join the crew, as well as 580 volunteers from 17 nongovernmental organizations. "The total number of personnel on board will fluctuate [near] 900, and our maximum number will be right around 1,100," she added.

For this mission, Mercy has been outfitted with humanitarian and civic assistance equipment, supplies and a staff augmented with a robust multi-specialized team of preventive medicine personnel, veterinarians, medical and dental teams and engineering personnel.

"In addition to [performing] surgeries aboard the Mercy, [during] every one of the visits we will provide primary health and dental clinics, biomedical repair opportunities, preventive medicine and veterinarian care, which is a new thing this year for most of our countries," Franchetti said.

Some servicemembers who are a part of the crew will have the chance to be aboard an Australian ship prior to joining with the guided missile frigate USS Crommelin in Papua New Guinea, Franchetti said. In addition, when Mercy arrives in Vietnam and Cambodia, military personnel from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will assist in medical training and subject-matter exchanges to provide quality medical and dental healthcare.

While in Vietnam, the Japanese dock landing ship JDS Kunisaki will provide additional medical support.

"We will have a medical team made up of approximately 40 medical personnel from the Japanese Self Defense Forces, as well as three different Japanese [noncommissioned officers]," Franchetti said. "So we are very excited to have the opportunity to work together in both Vietnam and Cambodia."

The concept of Pacific Partnership evolved from the unprecedented international disaster response for countries devastated during the 2004 Asian tsunami. Follow-up missions recognized the benefits derived from cooperation between national governments, militaries, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations during disaster relief operations, as well as in civic assistance projects, according to the official Pacific Partnership website.

Safe Harbor Program Supports Troops, Families

By Cat DeBinder, National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Wounded, ill and injured service members face a multitude of challenges throughout their recovery process; to ensure they can concentrate on their recovery, Navy Safe Harbor program provides assistance with non-medical issues.

The Navy Safe Harbor program is the Navy's lead organization for coordinating the non-medical care of wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and their families. Dedicated to non-medical needs, the organization's management services are designed to fit each service member's unique requirements. They handle such things as pay and personnel issues, lodging and housing adaptation, transportation, legal and guardianship matters.

"Navy Safe Harbor provides a systematic approach to providing a continuum of non-medical care to our recovering Sailors and Coast Guardsmen by working in concert with organizations both within and outside of the Navy," said Commanding Officer, Navy Safe Harbor Command Capt. Key Watkins. "Safe Harbor assistance has proven to be invaluable to our enrolled shipmates by lifting much of the burden from them and allowing them to remain focused on their recovery and rehabilitation activities."

"We provide lifetime tailored assistance and assist with the successful recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into society for our Sailors and Coast Guardsmen who are seriously ill or injured," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Kendall Hillier who is a non-medical care manager in charge of Navy Safe Harbor's Bethesda satellite office.

"We also work with their families," she said, "because families are an integral part of the recovery process."

Hillier said the patients they work with are not all wounded warriors. Some are injured in shipboard, car and motorcycle accidents, or have cancer or other serious physical and psychological illnesses. She added not all are inpatients, some are outpatients and in different stages of their recovery process.

"Safe Harbor currently has over 1,000 actively engaged patients in the program nationwide," said Hillier. "It started in 2005 with a staff of three and enrollment of 20 war-wounded Sailors, at that time only war-wounded Sailors were eligible for the program."

Hillier also noted what is unique about the Safe Harbor program from others is a reserve surge support team that can be rapidly activated in the event of a large scale disaster or when multiple casualties occur within a short time frame.

They also have the Anchor Program, a Reserve Component Retiree Council partnership of volunteer mentors that provide lifelong contact with enrollees and their families.

"The program has been absolutely helpful and they are a wonderful group to have helping out," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jacob Emmott, a Safe Harbor enrollee and former National Naval Medical Center inpatient injured in Afghanistan. Emmott said Hillier was assigned to him as a case manager. "She handled a paycheck issue for me," he said. "She really did everything she could every chance she got — especially when I was in the ICU."

Emmott said it was a pleasure being taken care of by Hillier. He would love to come work for her some day. Emmott's mother, April, said the attention and the care they received from Hillier was wonderful.

"From day one, even before Jake arrived, she reassured us and maneuvered us around for everything we needed," she said. "It has made our visit 'Jake-specific' and we didn't have to deal with any other details."

Emmott's father, Bob, was pleased with and grateful to the Navy Safe Harbor program and its members at the Bethesda office.

"They steered us toward everything to help us," he said.

Enterprise Conducts First CONREP in More than Two Years

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Tracey L. Whitley, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

May 21, 2010 - USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) conducted a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) May 19.

Enterprise received fuel and food stores during the ship's first connected replenishment (CONREP), involving stores, in more than two years.

"The purpose of this RAS was to get the supplies we needed to continue our mission out here and to sustain our operational commitment at sea," said Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Mojica, the ship's 1st lieutenant.

Taking on food stores for the first time in more than two years was a dangerous evolution, but the professionals of deck department had no problem taking on the challenge. They continuously train and prepare for large ship evolutions so that even the junior Sailors in the department know how to handle a problem if it arises.

"The major challenges we face during events like this are keeping people focused and always maintaining situational awareness," said Mojica. "However, that's why we all work together, communicate and anticipate issues before they become a bigger problem." The crew of Big E and members of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 had to work side by side on a working party to get the food stores handled and distributed safely, providing a chance for the Sailors and Marines to get better acquainted and build camaraderie. The purpose of a working party is to help with the overall workload so that not any one department gets burned out during the RAS. Instead, all departments provide a few Sailors or Marines to help unload and store away the food for later use.

"The working parties really help us during a RAS because having that extra man power available keeps everyone working steady, but not so hard that they tire out too fast."

Once the RAS was finished, the ship conducted an emergency breakaway drill and continued on with carrier qualifications, completing yet another successful ship evolution.

Enterprise is underway conducting carrier qualifications in preparation for work-ups and her 21st deployment.

Practicing Damage Control in Exercise Phoenix Express

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Edward Vasquez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element - East Det. Europe

May 21, 2010 - SOUDA BAY, Greece (NNS) -- Teams from eight ships came together to participate in damage control training as a part of exercise Phoenix Express 2010 (PE10) at Marathi Pier in Souda Bay, Greece, May 19.

U.S. and multinational Sailors all gathered aboard the Italian ship Comandante Foscari (P-493) to participate in shipboard damage control training.

"We only have 70 people on board which isn't a lot of people to fight a fire," said Italian navy Lt. Boccalde Micooli, engineering assistant aboard Foscari. "We are showing our equipment and seeing equipment that the other navies present, while demonstrating our techniques and getting a feel for their techniques."

The goals of this exercise are to increase participating countries' knowledge and experience in the event of any problems that may arise during the exercise, and to help all of the participants to gain an understanding of the damage control principles used by partner navies.

"I think this exercise is very important because sailors need to be conscious of damage control," said Spanish navy Ensign Julia Rial, damage control officer for the Spanish ship Infanta Elena (F-33). "To see what other navies do and what other equipment those navies have is very good."

This exercise is enabling participants to advance information sharing which is crucial to maintaining a region free from transnational threats, and enhances the ability to conduct multinational peacekeeping missions.

"It's good to see all of the different navies coming together, watching them do their damage control and showing them ours," said Lt. j. g. Kimberly Koss, damage control assistant aboard USS John L. Hall (FFG 32). "We have done a lot of training with other foreign navies and we pretty much all have the same concepts, the same basic ensembles and the same firefighting equipment."

Twenty countries are expected to participate in the exercise as either an active participant or observer. U.S. units participating in PE 10 include John L. Hall, home ported in Mayport, Fla.; the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), homeported in Virginia Beach, Va.; Military Sealift Command ships USNS LCPL Roy M. Wheat (T-AK3 016) and USNS Laramie (T-AO 203); and members of the U.S. 6th Fleet staff.

Truman Strike Group Deploys

May 21, 2010 - NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) deployed May 21 for a six-month deployment, to the 5th and 6the fleet areas of operations, in support of maritime security operations.

The HST CSG includes Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 10; the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75; Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3; Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 26; the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79), USS Ross (DDG 71) and German Frigate FGS Hessen (F221).

Missions of the HST CSG focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.

"I'm extremely proud of the men and women of the Truman Carrier Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10. "We are ready to deploy in support of troops on the ground, execute the nation's Maritime Strategy, and protect our nation's interests."

The deployment is part of an on-going rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations and operating in international waters around the globe, working with other coalition maritime forces.

The HST CSG, which consists of approximately 6,000 Sailors who, over the last four months, have successfully completed refresher training and certifications to ensure they operate effectively and safely together.

"The USS Harry S. Truman has worked hard to maintain our operational excellence, and we are prepared to answer the call. There is no doubt in my mind that these Sailors are prepared to get underway, and that they will excel at whatever task we are assigned," said Capt. Joseph Clarkson, Truman's commanding officer.