Military News

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gates Can Accept 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Amendment

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 25, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates can accept a proposed congressional amendment overturning the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, but would prefer that lawmakers wait until a Defense Department review to assess its full impact is completed, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today. "Secretary Gates continues to believe that ideally, the [Defense Department] review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell,' law," Morrell said in a statement issued today. "With Congress having indicated that is not possible, the secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment."

Congress has made clear it won't wait for results of the Defense Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654, due Dec. 1, and expects to put the issue to a vote this week.

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag expressed the Obama administration's support for the proposed amendment in a May 24 letter to its sponsors.

Even if Congress passes the measure this week, the policy would remain in effect until after the review is completed and the president and military leaders have certified that a policy change wouldn't threaten the military's ability to carry out its missions, defense officials explained.

"The proposed amendment will allow for completion of the comprehensive review, enable the Department of Defense to assess the results of the review, and ensure that the implementation of the repeal is consistent with standards of military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention," Orszag wrote.

The amendment also will guarantee that the department "has prepared the necessary polices and regulations needed to successfully implement the repeal," he continued.

"Furthermore, such an approach recognizes the critical need to allow our military and their families the full opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process through a thorough understanding of their concerns, insights and suggestions," he wrote. "The administration therefore supports the proposed amendment."

Like Gates, the administration ideally would like to see the Defense Department review completed before Congress takes any legislative action, Orszag conceded. But recognizing that Congress has "chosen to move forward now," he said the administration can support the proposed amendment.

Gates, who supports the law's repeal, announced in February that he had ordered a review to understand the implications of a possible repeal of the 17-year-old law. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to repeal the law.

South Korea Sets Responses to North Korean Provocations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 25, 2010 - South Korean officials have laid out a full and appropriate response to the North Korean sinking of a South Korean frigate that killed 46 sailors in March, and the U.S. government fully supports the response, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Beijing today.

"We are looking forward to working with our friends in South Korea," Clinton said. "We appreciated the very statesmanlike approach that President Lee Myung-bak is following, and the prudent measures that he announced in his speech."

The president spoke to his nation's people from the War Memorial in the South Korean capital of Seoul yesterday. "From now on," he said, "South Korea will not tolerate any kind of provocation from the North and will act according to the principle of proactive deterrence."

South Korea has put in place many responses to the frigate Cheonan's sinking "commercially, from an industrial standpoint, from a security standpoint, from a diplomacy point of view," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today. "The Republic of Korea has laid out a fairly full agenda charting the way forward, and [one that] as a government, the United States is fully supportive of."

Lee closed South Korean waters to North Korean ships. "Inter-Korean trade and other exchanges will be suspended," he said. "After sinking our ship and claiming the lives of our servicemen, any kind of exchange or cooperation at this point is meaningless."

The South Korean president added that he will examine the status of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, where more than 100 South Korean companies have industrial plants, and that he would refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

U.S. military forces in Korea are at a constant state of readiness, and the security situation on the peninsula is tense. South Korean military forces "are maintaining a robust military readiness posture through the integrated operation of [South Korean]-U.S. combined intelligence assets and the strengthening [of] our 24-hour surveillance activities against indications of North Korean provocation," South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said in a written statement today. He also announced that the military will re-start psychological operations against North Korea, which have been suspended since 2004.

Beginning today, South Korean ships will interdict the entry of North Korean ships into South Korean waters and "take appropriate measures – including forcible removal – in case of noncompliance," Kim said.

Korean and American officials will conduct a combined anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea in the near future, Kim said. U.S. officials had not identified the ships and assets that will participate, Whitman said. The Koreans and other countries involved in the Proliferation Security Initiative are preparing maritime interdiction training exercises both within and outside the region to actively stem the proliferation of North Korean nuclear weapons and their weapons of mass destruction, he added.

Meanwhile, Lee continues to leave the door open to the North.

"We are not aiming for military confrontation," the South Korean president said. "Our goal is peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, and ultimately, peaceful reunification. It's high time for the North to change."

Gates Praises Outgoing Coast Guard Commandant

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

May 25, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today praised outgoing Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen for his close working relationship with the military, and said he looks forward to a similar relationship with Allen's successor, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr.

Gates spoke at the change-of-command ceremony at Fort Lesley J. McNair here. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano presided over the ceremony, as her department is the Coast Guard's parent organization.

In Allen's four years as commandant, he oversaw the Coast Guard's largest organizational changes since World War II, Gates said. Those changes included "an overdue modernization and recapitalization program that will better equip the Coast Guard to meet 21st-century challenges," Gates said in prepared remarks.

Allen's tenure has seen a growing level of cooperation between the Coast Guard and the Defense Department, Gates noted. A maritime strategy issued in 2007 was a product of all three sea services, signed by the chiefs of the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy, he said.

In addition, Allen was the main advocate for the Maritime Operational Threat Response protocol, an interagency framework to deal with seaborne threats ranging from weapons of mass destruction to pollution, Gates said.

As national incident commander for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Allen has had the lead role in public briefings regarding Coast Guard and military roles in the cleanup following British Petroleum's April 20 drilling disaster off the Louisiana coast. Allen said he will remain in that role for some time.

Although the Coast Guard is a component of Homeland Security, it maintains close ties with the military services. During his tenure as commandant, Allen said, the Coast Guard enhanced its ties to the Defense Department and held unprecedented talks with the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Guard Bureau.

"My overarching goal as commandant was for the Coast Guard to become more change-centric," Allen said. "Nowhere has this been more evident than in our responses to the devastating earthquake in Haiti and in our leading role to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

Gates said Allen's record of leadership and accomplishment includes his work as Coast Guard chief of staff when "he took charge and brought new energy, focus and coordination to rescue and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina" in 2005.

Gates outlined the Coast Guard's partnership missions with the military under Allen's command, including patrolling the Arabian Gulf, protecting oil infrastructure, training the new Iraqi coast guard, counter-drug operations in the Caribbean, and humanitarian aid to Georgia following the Russian invasion there in 2008.

Navy Needs F-35's Capabilities, Admiral Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 25, 2010 - The Navy needs the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter's fifth-generation capabilities, the service's acting director of air warfare said yesterday.

Navy Rear Adm. Michael C. Manazir spoke to reporters because he wanted to "completely dispel the rumor that the Navy is soft on F-35C."

The F-35C is the aircraft-carrier version of the joint strike fighter. The F-35A model is for the Air Force, and the F-35B will be a vertical take-off and landing model for the Marines.

The FA-18E and FA-18F Super Hornets are great airplanes, Manazir said, but they do not have the capabilities that the F-35C's will bring to the Navy. Delays in the joint strike fighter program and the cost increases associated with them caused some supposition that the Navy would turn to the FA-18s, he added.

The Navy has had the F-35C on its horizon for more than a decade, the admiral said. In that time, the FA-18's capabilities have grown, with the latest aircraft – the E, F and G models – reaching the fourth-generation airframe's limits. "We need to move into the F-35C to realize our vision of tactical air coming off of carriers," he said.

The joint strike fighter brings stealth capabilities, advanced sensor and data fusion, and a systems approach to warfighting, Manazir said. "We're completely committed to the F-35C," he added, noting that staying with the Super Hornet would put the United States at a disadvantage against a near-peer competitor.

Still, the admiral said, the Super Hornet program is not ending, just yet. The Navy wants to buy 124 of the aircraft through fiscal 2013 to bring its number of Super Hornets to 515. Beginning in fiscal 2016, he said, aircraft carriers will deploy with a mix of Super Hornets and F-35C's. The Navy needs 44 strike fighters per flight deck, he added.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered a restructuring of the joint strike fighter program last year. That effort allowed the Navy to move an additional aircraft into flight tests, and to buy a software line "that gives us additional integration capability and added risk reduction in software, which is always the toughest thing to do in a new program," Manazir said. Operational testing will move to April 2016, and this will fulfill all prerequisites for initial operational capability, he told reporters.

The first deployment of the new aircraft will be December 2016, with the second deployment in February 2017.

The Navy faces a shortfall of fighter aircraft, the admiral noted. "Without mitigations, ... [the shortfall] is about 177 total Department of the Navy airplanes," he said. "That peaks in 2017."

Mitigation efforts bring that number down to about 100, he said. That could drop further, he added, if the demands on the fleet lessen – a conclusion the admiral said he is not going to make, given the uncertain times. "We are focused on addressing that shortfall," he said.

The Navy does not have a shortfall in strike aircraft today, Manazir said, but the expected wear-out date for its inventory begins in fiscal 2012.

The 1,180 strike aircraft now in the Navy's inventory fall within the scope of the service's maintenance capabilities, while providing the planes needed for a rotational force, the admiral said.

USS Ardent Returns to Sea

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Jason T. Poplin, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Following a three-month stay in a floating dry dock at the Mina Salman Pier, USS Ardent (MCM 12) returned to sea May 23.

USS Ardent's dry dock period was part of a routine service restricted availability that occurs approximately every 60 months in the life of Avenger-class ships.

"She's coming out of dry dock looking really good," said Lt. Cmdr. Jose Roman, USS Ardent's commanding officer. "A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the ship to bring it to the state that it is in right now."

USS Ardent is one of four mine countermeasures ships forward-deployed in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR). The ship and its crew of 83 personnel report to Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM) 5 in support of theater security cooperation events, survey operations and mine warfare exercises and operations in the area.

The ship went into dry dock February 17 to be renovated from top to bottom, inside and out.

"The ship was lifted out of the water, and we did a lot of preservation and maintenance on the hull, props, rudders, suction and overboard discharges," Roman said.

The ship also received maintenance, preservation and refurbishment to its crew quarters, galley, engineering plant and radars.

"Without material readiness, we can't support operational readiness," added Roman.

Jacksonville Commands Battle It Out At Spring Sports Challenge

By Kaylee LaRocque, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department (MWR) hosted the 2010 Spring Sports Challenge May 20-21 with more than 300 participants coming out for some "friendly" competition.

The competition kicked off May 20 with a 1,500-meter relay at the base track, followed by the tricycle race, dodge ball, kickball and basketball. Friday events included 3-on-3 beach volleyball, badminton, washers, tug-of-war and the commanding officer's canoe race.

The goal of the sports challenge is for commands to get the most points. Each event has different point values and in the end whoever has the most points wins the competition. Sailors from 11 commands battled it out over the two-day event to see who would take home the NAS Jax Sports Challenge Captain's Trophy.

In the final points tally, Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10) athletes took first place with 1,400 points, followed by NAS Jax (1,075 points) and the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Jax (850 points).

"It feels really great to win this event. The VP-10 'Red Lancers' did an outstanding job putting forth 110 percent like they do every day on the job," said VP-10 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Robert Patrick, Jr.

"They fought hard and played to win," added VP-10 Command Master Chief (CMDCM) Sean Carolan.

"This is a bi-annual event that we hold to promote some friendly competition between the commands here to get them out of their workspaces, try new sports that they may not have played before and get them out for some fun," explained NAS Jax Fitness Director Tim McKinney.

"The biggest part of this is coordinating and marketing the event so we get people to come out and participate. Overall, this sports challenge has gone very well – our schedule ran a bit behind on the first day because we had so many teams but it turned out to be a great day," continued McKinney.

The sports challenge also allows MWR to promote their intramural program. "This offers an opportunity for our military members to have some fun. We offer different events and try to make our people aware of what we have to offer them," added NAS Jax Sports Coordinator Bill Bonser. "It's great to see the camaraderie and esprit de corps. It's awesome to hear them clapping and cheering for their teams. We really enjoy putting this event on for them."

Sailors Pay Tribute to Fallen at Oahu Veterans Cemetery

By Seaman (SW) Rachel Swiatnicki, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - HONOLULU (NNS) -- Sailors from Hawaii-area commands took part in a cleaning and beautification project at the Navy veterans cemetery in Oahu Cemetery Honolulu May 21.

The beautification project was hosted by the Surface Navy Association (SNA) and led by Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Wayne Babauta, assigned to USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60). Babauta coordinated 40 volunteers for the project, which was designed in preparation for Memorial Day.

"Basically the reason we are out here today is to pay tribute to those who have gone before us," said Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Joshua Pearsall, a representative from SNA. "Obviously in the spirit of the Sailor's Creed, they really took care of their country, and they did what they needed to do."

The earliest grave markers are dated in the 1800s and the earliest interments were in 2002. There are more than 170 grave sites dedicated to Navy veterans, of which 135 are now being used.

"We are helping out the community, helping out the veterans who died here and paying our respects by cleaning the site," said Babauta. "We are giving back to the community by showing our appreciation that we do care for our fallen veterans."

During the clean-up project, volunteers cleaned several headstones and performed minor gardening. Sailors scrubbed the headstones, later rinsing them with water.

The cemetery is located on an 80 by 40 yard piece of property the Navy purchased in 1935.

With more than 90 members at the Pearl Harbor chapter, SNA's purpose is to recognize and publicize professional excellence in Surface Naval Forces. SNA also promotes recognitions of the role of the Surface Forces in Unites States Security and the Navy.

Air Force transitions from NSPS to GS

by Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

5/25/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Most Air Force civilians under the National Security Personnel System will convert to the General Schedule by the end of this fiscal year in support of the Department of Defense goal to convert out as quickly as possible. This conversion out of NSPS was mandated by the Fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

With few exceptions, Air Force NSPS employees will transition between July 4 and Sept. 12, according to Headquarters Air Force Directorate of Force Management Policy officials. The remainder are in positions covered by statutory and DOD exemptions and will transition in 2011.

Civilian employees transitioning to GS will have their positions classified and grade assigned according to GS classification rules. The grade and classification will be based upon responsibilities assigned by the supervisor and performed by the employee. Employees will be notified of their GS position classification prior to transition out of NSPS.

To assist civilian employees in understanding the GS personnel and position classification system, the following Web-based training modules are available at https://www.my.af.mil/afknprod/nsps-gs-trng: GS-101 and Classifying Positions under GS and Performance Management: A Tool to Achieve Results.

GS-101 gives an overview of the GS system, including its classification and pay structure. The DOD NSPS Transition Office website also contains helpful information regarding the transition from NSPS to GS at http://www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps/transition.

Employees will not lose pay upon conversion. These general guidelines will be followed when determining an employee's pay.

If the employee's current pay:

-- Fits within the rate range of the appropriate grade to which the employee is assigned, then the employee will be placed at a step that equals or exceeds his or her existing pay.

-- Is below the rate range for the appropriate GS grade to which the employee is assigned, then the employee will be placed on the first step of the GS grade upon conversion out.

-- Is above the rate range for the appropriate GS grade to which the employee is assigned, then the employee will be placed on pay retention to ensure he or she does not suffer any decrease in or loss of pay upon conversion.

Upon transition, employees must be placed in GS performance plans within 30 days of transition with an appraisal closeout of March 31, 2011. As with NSPS, supervisors must ensure employees understand their job requirements and how their work aligns with and supports the Air Force mission.

Air Force officials are working to ensure that the transition continues smoothly while maintaining the Air Force mission with minimal disruption to the force. The consistent and equitable treatment of employees and transparency throughout this process is a high priority for the Air Force, they said.

Review panel praises BMT program improvements

by Mike Joseph
502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs

5/25/2010 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The 22nd Basic Military Training Triennial Review Committee validated the positive effect expanded training has had on BMT graduates during its evaluation May 12 through 14 here. The committee observed program improvements achieved by expanding BMT to 8.5 weeks and adding a week-long Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training course.

It was the first triennial review the BEAST opened in late 2008, coinciding with the first recruits to arrive here for the expansion from 6.5 weeks.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, one of the committee members, had high praise for BMT staff members.

"We're in awe of BMT (officials') impressive initiative in taking inputs from the committee and getting results," he said.

Chief Roy delivered the committee's outbrief and recommendations to Maj. Gen. James A. Whitmore, the Air Education and Training Command vice commander and BMT Steering Committee chairman; Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, the 2nd Air Force commander; Col. William H. Mott V, the 37th Training Wing commander and 737th Training Group leaders.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, Chief Roy told Generals Whitmore and Hertog "We understand the importance of getting it right (at BMT)."

"Overall, the committee was inspired by Chief Roy saying 'you folks have nailed it' when it comes to Colonel Mott's vision for the 37th TRW to shape the Air Force with warrior Airmen of character," said Col. Shane Courville, the 737th Training Group commander. "They were very impressed."

Colonel Mott said the expansion and BEAST were still a vision at the 2007 review, and its effects are making a difference in producing quality Airmen.

"The activities and training we're providing are truly applicable to what (Airmen) do in the Air Force," Colonel Mott said. "(Trainees) are given a skill set, as a warrior Airmen, they can directly transfer to their first duty station, and that's pretty cool.

"It's discipline, motivation and foundational, but you can see the application," he said. "The committee is happy with the program and encouraged by what we've done. Now we're poised to take the review's input and make it better."

Daniel Sitterly, the Air Force director of force development, chaired the review that included command chiefs from all major commands.

The committee focused on improvements from the expansion and BEAST while also studying behavioral and military training, life management skills, war and expeditionary skills development, and new facility, technology and instructor training initiatives.

The committee was updated on graduation performance, construction status of the new Airmen training complexes, new and future technology initiatives, and BMT officials' vision for the deliberate development of military training instructors.

Colonel Mott praised Chief Roy for his participation.

"When you think about everything he does trying to engage and support our Airmen, the fact he would focus on BMT for three days is pretty amazing," the colonel said.

After heavy rains and storms canceled graduation at the parade grounds May 14, the Air Force's top enlisted NCO attended a graduation at the 322nd Training Squadron.

"We're very pleased at the warrior ethos that has been instilled in our Airmen," Chief Roy said.

It was really something to see how proud the new Airmen were and the tears and emotions from parents, Chief Roy said. That's what basic military training is all about.

NPC FORCM Hits the Deck Running

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Arriving from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), new Force Master Chief (FORCM) (AW/SW/NAC) Jon Port, Navy Personnel Command (NPC), had to take charge of his post and deliver. Naval Support Activity Mid-South was hit by flash flooding, May 1 during Port's first week on the job.

"It was important to be focused on the right things; I had Sailors without homes and Sailors that needed to be fed and that was the priority," said Port. "Our number one priority was to get every one of our Sailors and their families back in a home and make sure that they were taken care of in every way we could."

While taking care of his Sailors, Port's main objective, providing personnel services to the fleet, wasn't far from his mind.

"We set the most-needed systems back on-line as quickly as we could to support the Navy," said Port. "We understood that when we came to a standstill, so did most of the Navy."

"We are the personnel center of excellence. Manpower moves, lives and breathes by what we do here. We understand that," said Port.

He said his focus in this job is what it has always been; it's on fundamentals and a strong foundation. Being brilliant-on-the-basics counts the most.

"I've always said to Sailors, when an organization forgets its foundation and loses focus on its core values, it's doomed to fail. In our case, it is our Sailors creed, the 11 general orders of a sentry and Navy regulations," said Port.

Port advises deckplate leadership to remember from whence they came.

"I live by the mantra of 'the chief among you shall be servant to all.' I've always looked at my Sailors as family and even more so when my children joined the Navy."

Port's four children, one daughter and three sons, all have an affiliation with the Navy.

"My daughter is married to a Sailor, my oldest son served and is now home from serving the Navy. My middle son is a Seabee and my youngest son leaves this summer to begin his training."

"It's critical from my perspective that we as leaders look out for the next generation. We can't do that if we are self-absorbed, focused on our own advancement or issues, or focused on our retirement or our next job," said Port. "We are charged with the professional development and mentorship of young Sailors and officers. This is as fundamental at this command as in any command."

Port describes himself as a walk-about leader. He says he sets aside time to read e-mails or return calls but he feels being available to members of the command in their spaces is important.

"I look forward to serving this command and all members attached to it," said Port.

MSRON 7 Sailors on Guam Join USNS Mercy

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - U.S. NAVAL BASE GUAM (NNS) -- Approximately 50 Sailors from Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 7 Security Division 71 departed U.S. Naval Base Guam aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) May 24 to begin their participation in the international humanitarian mission Pacific Partnership 2010.

Mercy, a Military Sealift Command hospital ship, is the platform from which hundreds of civilians and service members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces will operate the mission. The ship was moored in Guam to bring on mission-support teams, supplies and other equipment. The five-month humanitarian deployment will offer a variety of engineering, medical, dental, subject matter expert exchanges, and logistic civic action programs to six countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Republic of Palau.

While deployed, MSRON 7 Sailors will help provide force security protection for the mission as well as support security operations at host nations.

"Our mission, primarily, is to provide an embarked security team for the USNS Mercy while she's traveling during Pacific Partnership and to provide oversight for land security," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 John San Nicolas, mission commander for the MSRON 7 deployment. This is San Nicolas' third deployment with Pacific Partnership.

Cmdr. Bryon Johnson, MSRON 7 commanding officer, said while MSRON Sailors are a special breed, he is particularly proud of the men and women deploying with Pacific Partnership. Johnson said the deployment will be an "eye-opener" for junior Sailors.

"They get an opportunity to do something that not a lot of service members do," he said. "They get the chance to directly help somebody. Humanitarian work is selfless. You don't get accolades; you don't get to do the fun things. I hope they get the experience and knowledge that helping other folks without the promise of immediate gain is extremely fulfilling."

Master-at-Arms 1st Class (AW) Christopher Fiske said Pacific Partnership 2010 will be his first humanitarian mission.

"I'm really looking forward to learning about the cultures of the host nations," Fiske said. "It's also a great opportunity for me, being out there as an ambassador for the United States and showing residents of other countries that we're here to help them and work with them to make life in our region of the world a better place."

For Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Kelly Douglas, Pacific Partnership 2010 will be his first deployment with MSRON 7.

"I'm really excited," Douglas said. "I'm fairly new to this, but I'm going to do the best I can to learn and grow and represent my command and my country while we're out there."

Douglas' wife, Randi Douglas, was among dozens of family members who wished the MSRON 7 Sailors farewell and safe travel at a pancake breakfast provided by United Service Organization Guam that morning. She said that while she's going to miss her husband, she's incredibly proud.

"He's going to be a part of this great thing, bringing medical help to so many people in our neighboring countries and being an ambassador of peace," Randi Douglas said. "I know he's going to do well."

MSRON 7 provides rapidly deployable forces to conduct or support anti-terrorism and force protection missions. MSRON 7 promotes the Maritime Strategy by providing security for American citizens, through the application of sea power, and by strengthening partnerships with allied nations.

Navy Surgeon General Tours Naval Medical Facilities in the Western Pacific

From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 0 - HATAN, Okinawa (NNS) -- The senior-most medical corps officer in the United States Navy visited U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa May 25 during his tour of Navy medical facilities in the Western Pacific.

Surgeon General of the United States Navy Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., met with command leadership and spoke with the staff at an all hands call in base chapel.

"Force health protection is Navy Medicine's top priority," Robinson said. "What you do here in Okinawa is key to maintaining readiness for our deployed men and women and their families here in the Pacific. We must remember that Navy Medicine is all about taking care of people. If we lose focus on that, we will not be successful."

Naval Hospital Okinawa has been providing health care for U.S. service members and their families stationed in Japan since 1958. The hospital, the largest overseas naval medical treatment facility in the Western Pacific, is jointly staffed by Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel. The hospital serves a beneficiary population of 55,000 active duty personnel, their family members, civilian employees and others, as well as providing referral services for almost 175,000 beneficiaries throughout the region.

Robinson discussed several issues during his all-hands call, including the new Naval Operations Concept 2010 (NOC 10), a tri-service document developed by the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard which guides implementation of the Maritime Strategy. The NOC 10 is organized around and expounds upon the six core capabilities identified in the strategy which include forward presence, sea control, power projection, deterrence, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

"Our operational and humanitarian commitments have not changed," said Robinson. "The capability of the Navy in supporting the core capabilities of the Maritime Strategy in an asymmetric world is essential to maintaining stability worldwide."

Sailors based in Okinawa appreciated hearing from the Surgeon General during his visit to the hospital.

"A lot of Sailors don't really get to see people at the top," said Airman Anthony Miller of the Operating Management department. "It's great to see the guy who is calling the shots so you know where the information is coming from."

Other participants appreciated having the opportunity to ask Robinson his thoughts on current Navy issues and the direction of Navy Medicine today.

"It's good to see the big picture and to know that Navy leadership cares about what we think," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Alois Kaltenbach, leading petty officer for nursing services.

Robinson also met with Navy and Marine Corps leadership in Okinawa and toured the facilities on board Camp Lester and the new hospital under construction at Camp Foster during his visit.

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 25, 2010

ARMY

Raytheon Co., Marlborough, Mass., was awarded on May 21 a $92,472,706 firm-fixed-price contract for AN/TSC-154A advanced extremely high frequency Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminals. Work is to be performed in Marlborough, Mass., with an estimated completion date of March 21, 2018. One sole-source bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-07-D-L405).

IAP Worldwide Services, Panama City, Fla., was awarded on May 21 a $45,335,621 firm-fixed-price contract for line haul transportation within Kuwait and Iraq. Work is to be performed in Kuwait (50 percent) and Iraq (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, ACC-RICC-CCRC-RK, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W912D1-05-D-0011).

Amatea/Grimberg, JV, Leesburg, Va., was awarded on May 21 an $11,307,782 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the construction of a Command and Control Integration Facility single-story building containing warehouse storage, loading docks, offices, software loading, integration labs and support space. The building includes an electromagnetic antenna testing chamber totaling approximately 75,930 gross square feet. Work is to be performed in Aberdeen, Md., with an estimated completion date of June 15, 2011. Ninety-three bids were solicited with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-10-C-0023).

Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Ga., was awarded on May 21 a $10,039,608 firm-fixed-price contract, a current contracts and delivery order for an additional 48 standard automotive tool sets. Work is to be performed in Gainesville, Ga., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAE-20-03-D-0085).

Monarch Construction Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, was awarded on May 21 an $8,167,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of Walnut Street fountain and grand stairway, Ohio Riverfront, Cincinnati, Ohio. Work is to be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0056).

Sota Construction Services, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., was awarded on May 21 an $8,128,000 construction firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of a reserve lodging facility. Work is to be performed in Pittsburgh, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District Office, CELRLCT-M, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0057).

McConnell Dowell, Ltd, Pago Pago, American Samoa, was awarded on May 20 a $6,646,892 firm-fixed-price contract for road pavement and shore protection construction contract entitled "PN ER-AQ-ER4-1 (016) Cyclone Heta Repair and ER-AQ-ERS5-1(2) Cyclone Olaf Repair of Route 030, Tau Road Island." Work is to be performed on the island of Tau in American Samoa., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 21, 2011. Bids were solicited via unrestricted procurement with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (W9128A-10-C-0006).

NAVY

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $71,028,648 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee/cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-03-C-0057) to provide operational evaluation readiness preparation services in support of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye System Development and Demonstration (SD&D) program. Services to be provided include flight test support, integrated logistics support, supply support, and depot capabilities support for two SD&D aircraft and three pilot production aircraft. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y. (81 percent); Syracuse, N.Y. (7 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (3 percent); San Francisco, Calif. (1 percent); Greenlawn, N.Y. (1 percent); West Chester, Ohio (1 percent); Falls Church, Va. (1 percent); Ronkonkoma, N.Y. (1 percent); Owego, N.Y. (1 percent); Marlboro, Mass. (1 percent); Wyndmoor, Pa. (1 percent), and Rome, Italy (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed in September 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems, Land & Armaments L.P., U.S. Combat Systems, Minneapolis, Minn., is being awarded a $23,007,956 firm-fixed-price contract modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5317) for the fiscal 2009 canister production requirements for MK13, MK14, MK-21 and MK25 canisters to support integration of the Evolved Sea Sparrow, Tomahawk cruise, and Standard missiles into the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). The MK 41 VLS provides a missile launching system for CG 47- and DDG 51-class surface combatants of the U.S. Navy, as well as surface combatants of allied navies. Work will be performed in Aberdeen, S.D. (78 percent), Odessa, Mo. (12 percent), and Minneapolis, Minn. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by February 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Communications, California Tube Laboratory, Watsonville, Calif., is being awarded a $10,470,281 firm-fixed-price and time and material indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of 275 magnetrons, including engineering, technical and repair support services. The magnetrons are installed in airborne pods for use on manned aircraft used to evaluate U.S. weapons systems and to train fleet operators. Work will be performed in Watsonville, Calif., and is expected to be completed in May 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals with two proposals received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0038).

CPI, Inc., Beverly, Mass., is being awarded a $9,578,221 firm-fixed-price and time-and-material indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of 450 magnetrons, including engineering, technical and repair support services. The magnetrons are installed in airborne pods for use on manned aircraft used to evaluate U.S. weapons systems and to train fleet operators. Work will be performed in Beverly, Mass., and is expected to be completed in May 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals with two proposals received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0039).

Raytheon Technical Services Co., LLC, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $6,800,000 firm-fixed-price contract for engineering services and supplies to overhaul, repair and upgrade the MK 57 NATO Sea Sparrow surface missile system (NSSMS). This procurement is to provide all necessary materials and services to overhaul, repair, perform pierside maintenance, modify and/or update components or parts of the MK57 NSSMS. This effort includes the inspection of equipment; installation/deinstallation; repair; performance of all testing in accordance with the latest quality assurance program specifications; associated training; packaging/packing/marking; program reporting/liaison/coordination with industry/government; and storage pending final destination disposition instructions. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by October 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This order was not competitively procured. The Port Hueneme Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-G-5422).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Produce Source Partners*, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a maximum $13,800,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, total set-aside contract for full-line fresh fruit and vegetable support. Other location of performance is Norfolk, Va. Using services are Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The original proposal was Web solicited with three responses. This contract is exercising the second option-year period. The date of performance completion is Nov. 29 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM300-08-D-P001).

AIR FORCE

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $7,996,064 contract which will provide systems engineering warfare/radio frequency survivability and vulnerability analysis. At this time, $267,857 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380).

ITT Corp., Systems Division, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., was awarded a $6,950,284 contract which will provide integration services to support the launch and range systems contract to install additional hardware to an existing string of telemetry equipment at the Oak Mountain A site at the western range in Vandenberg, Calif. The entire amount has been obligated. SMC/LRSW/PK, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-01-C-0001).

Recently Released NOC 10 Describes Means for the Maritime Strategy

From Defense Media Activity - Anacostia

May 25, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy director of Strategy and Policy Division (N51) spoke today at the Pentagon about the significance of the Naval Operations Concept (NOC 10), which was released yesterday.

Rear Adm. David B. Woods said that NOC 10 is the result of months of coordination between the nation's maritime services. The 2006 NOC, which this document supersedes, was a coordinated effort between the Navy and Marine Corps. In keeping with the current Maritime Strategy, NOC 10 also integrates the U.S. Coast Guard.

"To continue the conversation as to what the maritime services bring to the nation is the ultimate goal," said Woods.

NOC 10 is organized around the sea services' six core capabilities, which were identified in the Maritime Strategy: forward presence, sea control, power projection, deterrence maritime security, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response. NOC 10 also describes how the sea services will develop concepts and utilize their capabilities across the range of military operations.

"This document is less aspirational and much more focused in describing the ways we support the ends described in the Maritime Strategy," Wood said. "It's a good articulation of how the maritime forces can be brought to bear."

Another important aspect of the new NOC is the engagement of partner nations. According to Woods, the NOC formulation process involved consultation with partners and allies.

"We left [the Maritime Strategy] a bit short on how we were going to partner with others. [The NOC] is going to help to articulate that."

The NOC describes when, where and how naval forces will contribute to enhancing security, preventing conflict and prevailing in war. It is also congruent with the National Defense Strategy and the Quadrennial Defense Review.

"The NOC is aligned with the governing documents that guide our nation's strategy," said Woods. "It describes for the next 10 years what we believe the Maritime Strategy will deliver for the nation."

USS George H.W. Bush Conducts First Vertical Replenishment

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman J. Scott St. Clair, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the Navy's 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, conducted her first vertical replenishment with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) May 18.

According to Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Chris J. Morrison of Weapons Department and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW) Joe A. Zavala of Air Department, the evolution involved more than 350 Sailors and approximately 36 tons of ammunition and ordnance, valued at more than $6 million.

Although Bush has completed multiple underway replenishments, this was the first vertical replenishment the ship had attempted. Morrison said that the onload was a perfect example of how far the aircraft carrier's crew has come.

"We're definitely improving," said Morrison, the ammunition accountant leading petty officer. "With each evolution we get better and better, but we're keeping in mind that we still have a long way to go. This replenishment was great practice for the major onload we will be doing in the following months, in preparation for our maiden deployment."

The onload took 79 aerial lifts, provided by MH-60S Knighthawks from Helicopter Combat Sea Squadron (HSC-9) and was completed in roughly two and a half hours, which Zavala said was faster than all the previous replenishments, despite this being the first vertical replenishment the Sailors have done.

"The evolution went according to plan," said Zavala, of V-2 Division. "Considering this was the first time the crew had attempted a vertical replenishment, their performance was excellent. I'm extremely proud of the way the flight deck crew took charge of the evolution," he said.

In addition to this being Bush's first vertical replenishment, it is also the first time the aircraft carrier has embarked with its entire complement from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8. Zavala noted that the operation was a great opportunity for the crew and air wing personnel to gain experience working together.

"With the new addition of the air wing, it's all starting to click together," he said. "That is why the evolution went so well."

Morrison attributed the success of the operation to extensive training and to the command's leadership.

"The success of the evolution came down to training, drills and good planning," he said. "Our leadership set us up for success."

NMCB 7 Returns to Gulfport From Haiti

From Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 Public Affairs

May 25, 2010 - GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- More than 45 Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 returned to Gulfport, Miss., May 22 after completing humanitarian assistance missions in support of Operation Unified Response in Haiti.

The Seabees were part of a NMCB 7 detachment that deployed and arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 25. They worked throughout Joint Task Force-Haiti's area of responsibility while deployed.

NMCB 7 Seabees assisted with missions ranging from debris removal, internally displaced persons (IDP) camp improvements and construction of resettlement camps outside Port-au-Prince.

"This detachment dealt with a lot of unknowns of what we would be doing for Haiti before we arrived," said Chief Steelworker (SCW) Leslie Morgan, operations chief for NMCB 7. "Whether it was victim recovery, repairing a pier for shipping, flood mitigation in internally displaced persons camps, clearing debris, improving roads or building camps, these Seabees always followed through with the utmost respect for the people of Haiti who were suffering."

Working alongside members of Underwater Construction Team 1, NMCB 7 assisted with the reopening of the seaport in Port-au-Prince. Seabees worked to repair pier pilings on the port's south pier to allow ships to enter the port and offload much needed aid supplies.

NMCB 7 also assisted with rubble removal from Hotel Montana, making it possible for search and rescue crews to enter the site and search for survivors. Seabees assisted with the oversight in the moving of 14,000 cubic yards of debris from the site in 51 days, facilitating the recovery of the remains of 65 individuals at the site.

"The Hotel Montana opened my eyes to the unseen devastation of natural disasters," said Builder 2nd Class Thomas Camara. "Working day in and day out removing friends, family, and comrades from a pile of rubble that was once a beautiful hotel was like nothing I had ever done before."

NMCB 7 Seabees worked alongside nongovernmental organizations (NGO), Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization and Catholic Relief Services, at the Golf Delmas 48 internally displaced persons camp in Petionville.

There they helped build drainage canals, retaining walls and place sandbags to reduce the risk of mudslides and flash flooding during the rainy season. The Seabees also worked as supervisors for the "Cash-For–Work" crews at the Golf Delmas 48 camp, giving Haitians an opportunity to earn an income while assisting in the recovery.

In addition to adding safety measures inside the IDP camps, the Seabees helped construct two resettlement camps outside Port-au-Prince. NMCB 7 Seabees assisted U.N. forces in preparing land for IDP's to relocate to Corail Cesselesse and Tabare Issa.

Throughout NMCB 7's deployment to Haiti, the Seabees had the unique opportunity to work with different organizations to provide aid to the Haitian people.

"NMCB 7 was one of many units that participated in the joint efforts to assist the people of Haiti in their time of need," said Lt. Beau Brooks, officer in charge of NMCB 7. "Working together with the Government of Haiti, U.N., NGOs, and U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, we united to provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to the Haitians. Without a doubt, it was a moving and emotional experience for everyone involved in the operation."

Yeoman Displays Positive Attitude

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason T. Poplin
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command

May 25, 2010 - Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Clark says his flag staff office job at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command here is comparable to "working in the stock market on Wall Street." His fast-paced duties as a yeoman include military correspondence, clerical work, office management, travel coordination, supply work and career counseling.

"I like doing what I do," Clark said. "I like making sure every sailor and military member is taken care of."

Clark's primary responsibilities include tracking correspondence for the chief of staff, flag secretary, deputy commander and commander, and taking care of the travel needs of personnel from seamen to admirals.

Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Croon said Clark is an invaluable part of the team.

"I call him the work horse," said Croon, the flag office's leading petty officer. "He's a hard worker. When he gets a task, he's on it until he's finished, and then he's on to the next one."

Clark, a native of Clearwater, Fla., reported to the command in October 2009. He originally was assigned to work in Naval Forces Central Command's administration office, but his chain of command recognized his outstanding work ethic and transferred him to the flag office.

"When he left the regular administration office, he had to turn over his job to three people," Croon said. "He has a lot of impact at the command for a second class petty officer."

Clark is scheduled to transfer to San Diego in November, where he will serve at his fifth command, aboard the USS Decatur.

"I'd like to pick up my surface warfare pin and be a leading petty officer at sea," he said. "I also want to pursue a college degree."

Clark attributed his success here to a love of customer service.

"Positive attitude gets the job done," he said.