Military News

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Enterprise Conducts At-Sea Quick Draw Drill

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeffry A. Willadsen, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN65) conducted an at-sea quick draw drill June 6.

The drill was designed to test and train Enterprise's .50-caliber machine gun teams and small caliber action team for the possibility of a small boat or plane attack on the aircraft carrier.

The training evolution consisted of the ship's nine .50-caliber machine-gun mounts and an M240 machine gun manned by the 12-man small caliber action team firing live rounds at two orange inflatable targets.

The purpose of the drill was to test the speed and accuracy of the teams and prepare them for the event of a real attack.

"Our Sailors may be well trained and proficient marksmen on a range, but firing at a moving target on the open ocean is a much different story," said Lt. Lawrence McLin, Enterprise's security officer. "We want them to gain some experience from this exercise and get a feel for what it would be like if they were called to fire upon someone for real."

The drill was part of an annual underway certification process for the gun teams, one that hasn't taken place aboard Enterprise since before the ship began its restricted availability in the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Va., in early 2007.

"Our Sailors did an incredible job," said McLin. "We sank both targets in a relatively short time, which is more than most ships can say, not to mention one that hasn't done a drill like this in more than two years."

After firing off thousands of rounds of ammunition, the test was completed with flying colors, bringing the ship one step closer to its 21st deployment.

"I'm confident our gun teams are prepared for any emergency our ship might have to face some day, and that's what this drill was all about," said McLin. "They were right on target."

Enterprise is conducting fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications in preparation for work-ups leading to the ship's 21st deployment.

USS Taylor Makes Historic Stop in Port Mahon

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward S. Kessler, USS Taylor (FFG 50) Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - MENORCA, Spain (NNS) -- USS Taylor (FFG 50) visited Port Mahon, Menorca, in the Balearic Islands of Spain June 3–7.

Taylor visited Port Mahon to participate in ceremonies honoring Adm. David Farragut, a U.S. Navy hero.

Taylor's historic visit to Port Mahon marks the culmination of months of work by the Madrid Council of the Navy League of the United States and marks the first time that a U.S. Navy warship has visited Port Mahon since 1998.

"The U.S. Navy has enjoyed a special relationship with the Port of Mahon," said Cmdr. Lyle Hall, Taylor commanding officer. "Many of America's first leaders were trained here."

The island of Menorca and its citizens were of critical importance in the early days of the U.S. Navy. Port Mahon served as a protective port during the winter months for the fledgling U.S. Navy from 1815-1840 and marks the final resting place for several American Sailors who gave their lives defending the Mediterranean Sea from Barbary pirates.

"This has been one of the biggest public relations event that we have had on this island between the Spanish Navy and U.S. Navy," said George Ferrara, second vice president of the Madrid Council of the Navy League of the United States. "Before 9/11, U.S. Navy ships would come here and clean the cemetery."

During the visit, Taylor was invited by the Navy League to participate in Farragut Day celebrations. Sailors from Taylor's color guard incorporated Spanish Sailors into their unit to render honors during the event. The people of Menorca recognize a special connection to Farragut because his father, Jorge Glasgow, emigrated from Menorca to Tennessee during the 1700s.

The celebrations concluded at the Embarcadero Cemetery, where a small ceremony was held to remember American Sailors buried there and to signify the friendship and bond between Menorca and the U.S. Navy.

"Overall it was a wonderful experience," said Taylor's Command Master Chief (SW) Steven Allen. "It brought us back to our heritage, it was a once in a lifetime experience."

Taylor's current mission includes the continued cross cultural participation between Spain and the United States. Two Spanish midshipmen are currently serving on board Taylor as part of their summer training and professional development.

Taylor will return to her duties in the Mediterranean Sea as a part of NATO's Operation Active Endeavor, conducting maritime security operations.

Support to Navy Spouses Topic of Latest Family Gram

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Educational and information resources, as well as support information for spouses are the subject of the latest "Family Gram," NAVADMIN 195/10 released June 2.

Navy spouses, often called the Navy's unsung heroes, endure frequent moves to unknown towns, long deployments and wartime fears.

The Navy provides an array of programs and resources to prepare spouses and family members to meet the unique challenges of military life.

Spouses who are new to the Navy, far from home or starting a new chapter in their life, may be unsure about what support is available or how to take advantage of it.

"Just call your nearest Fleet and Family Support Center," Kathy Turner, a program analyst at Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), said. "Even if you're too far from a base to come in, just call. The staff will be happy to answer your questions. In fact, when you're sure that there's no help available, that's a good time to call us. We'll get you headed in the right direction."

The Navy's goal is for spouses to be resilient, well-informed and adaptable to the Navy environment.

CNIC helps spouses reach this goal with its Child and Youth Program, Ombudsman Program and Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs).

FFSCs assist military spouses in obtaining employment and maintaining a career.

They teach personal financial management, with topics ranging from car and home buying to the financial impact of deployments.

They provide guidance on making permanent change of station moves, helping a family learn about their new duty station, the cost of living, availability of housing, even the cultural changes they will encounter.

FFSCs also offer clinical counseling and classes on a variety of topics, including anger management, stress management and couples communication.

"A spouse may have effectively dealt with anger, sadness or stress when they lived in a familiar town with family and friends they have known their whole life," Turner said. "But, leaving this personal support system may be stressful and require adjustment. Fleet and Family Support Centers offer life skills classes and services that show how to adjust and even thrive in these situations."

Short-term clinical counseling helps Sailors and families obtain the tools necessary to cope with the challenges of daily living. The courses and the counseling are free. People are welcome to come in anytime, without an appointment or a referral from the command.

For children and youth ages four weeks to 18 years, the Navy's Child and Youth Programs provide high quality educational and recreational programs. Teams of caring, knowledgeable professionals provide developmentally appropriate programs that respond to the unique needs, abilities, and interests of children.

"Military children face more than the usual challenges of growing up, such as moving every few years and establishing new friendships, while worrying about family members who have been deployed," Chuck Clymer, of the Navy's Child and Youth Programs, said. "We provide children and families with trusted programs and services that assist in coping with these challenges, making the difference between stress and success."

Child development homes offer quality care in a loving, learning home environment for children ages 4 weeks to 12 years. The flexible hours, 24/7 care, low child-to-adult ratios and convenient locations make this a viable option for families whose "normal" workday is anything but normal.

School-age care programs provide quality before and after-school programs and camps for children ages six to 12 years in 86 centers worldwide.

Youth and teen programs offer developmental and recreational programs that provide a safe place to learn and grow.

The Navy's Family Ombudsmen are Navy spouses who volunteer to serve as a vital two-way communication link between the command and Navy families. They offer support and guidance to families in their role as the official liaison between the command and its families.

When families respond to the challenges of deployments, natural disasters or family emergencies, ombudsmen are there to provide guidance and to help them regain a sense of normalcy. Ombudsmen help families find the answers to their questions, promoting their resiliency and self reliance. Ombudsmen serve families of Active duty and Reservists, whether they deploy as a unit or as an individual augmentee; whether they live right on a base or hundreds of miles from any base.

"They serve with a genuine desire to help," Kathy Rock, manager of the Navy Family Ombudsman Program, said. "These are extraordinary times for spouses. Whether it is for surge or individual augmentee deployments, or even natural disasters, ombudsmen keep the information moving."

Far East CPOs Donate Thousands to Relief Society

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det Japan

June 8, 2010 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Far East Chief Petty Officer Association (CPOA) at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) presented a check for approximately $8,000 to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) June 7.

The money derived from a 117-hour consecutive run put on by the CPOA May 26 – 31, and will be given to NMCRS to support victims of the Millington flood. The CPOA and major contributors gathered at CFAY's Berkey Field to hand over the check a local NMCRS representative.

"This is one of the single largest donations we have ever received," said Amy Lacaria, president of Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Japan. "When I first heard about this fundraiser, I thought $1,500 would be a good goal, but they went well over what I thought they would earn."

The marathon was conducted on two treadmills and a stationary bike, and each hour as one chief completed his or her race against the clock, another "relieved the watch" for the next hour. The 117 time-frame of the event represented the number of years U.S. Navy chief petty officers have been walking the deckplates and leading Sailors. Proceeds were based on "per mile" pledges, but passers-by were also able to support the runners by donating on the spot. Area commands were encouraged to pledge based on the assumption that runners will average of five miles an hour.

"I feel we did very well, and this money is going to help out a lot of people in Millington," said participant and avid runner Chief Personnel Specialist (AW) Louis Saldana. "We had a great response to this event both from volunteers and people wanting to donate and help out, and we hope to do something like this again next year."

Saldana said he and other members of the CPOA hope their hard work and dedication will provide much-needed relief for their shipmates on the other side of the world.

Cambodia Becomes First New CARAT Partner in 16 Years

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Tross, Combined Task Group 73.1 Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- The arrival of USS Tortuga (LSD 46) here June 7 marked the opening event of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Cambodia 2010, marking the country's first participation in the exercise and making Cambodia the first new country to join the exercise series since its founding.

During the nine-day exercise, U.S. and Royal Cambodian Sailors will conduct shipboard training on subjects such as engineering, damage control, anti-terrorism and force protection, and amphibious operations.

Ashore, U.S. and Royal Cambodian Marines will conduct weapons familiarization exchanges and jungle operations training, while Navy and Marine explosives ordnance disposal teams will exchange best practices with their counterparts. A full schedule of medical civic action projects and community service projects are also planned at locations throughout the country.

The exercise marks the largest naval engagement between the two countries in nearly 40 years, and leaders from both navies expressed high expectations for this year's events.

"We are very grateful, both the Navy and the Cambodian people, for the relationship we have with the Navy and the people of the United States," said Royal Cambodian Navy Rear Adm. Ouk Seyha, commander of Ream Naval Base. "We are happy to have USS Tortuga here, and are anticipating a successful first CARAT exercise."

Begun in 1995, the CARAT series of bilateral exercises included six original partner nations: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore. The sixth partner, Indonesia, participates in the series under the name Naval Engagement Activity.

For 2010, Cambodia and Bangladesh are joining the series. The total number of forces scheduled to participate in the exercise include approximately 18,000 U.S. and partner nation personnel, 50 aircraft and 73 ships.

Rose Festival 2010 Fleet Week Concludes

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Maebel Tinoko, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest

June 8, 2010 - PORTLAND, Ore. (NNS) -- The 103rd annual Rose Festival's Fleet Week came to a close June 7, when the two U.S. Navy vessels who participated in this year's Rose Festival sailed out from the Tom McCall Waterfront Parks in downtown Portland.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) along with a Royal Canadian Navy ship and six U.S. Coast Guard cutters, departed Portland in the early morning.

During the four-day port visit, Sailors participated in community relations projects, visited the local hospital, participated in various sporting events and helped host ship tours.

For Tigard, Ore., native Martha Sampson, seeing the Navy was the highlight of this year's Rose Festival.

"I love the Navy; My father served in the Navy, so when the ships come into town my family and I always come out to see them," said Sampson. "I love the Navy traditions, and it's fabulous to be able to tour the ships."

Sailors enjoyed discounts at various venues, a waterfront carnival, free tours around town and the Starlight parade and 5K run.

For one Portland native, Operation's Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Carignan, USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), returning to his hometown with the ship was his favorite part of the Rose Festival.

"Two years ago I toured the USS Bunker Hill, and it's a coincidence that I got stationed on the same ship," said Carignan. "I loved being back home and being able to show my friend and family what I do in the Navy."

Leap Frogs Drop In at Ocean City Air Show

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michelle Kapica, Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - OCEAN CITY, Md. (NNS) -- Tens of thousands of spectators flocked to Ocean City, Md., to see the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs, and other aerial demonstration teams perform at the third annual Ocean City Air Show, June 5-6.

The air show marked the 66th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy during World War II.

The Leap Frogs, composed of Navy SEAL and SWCC commandos and parachute riggers, parachuted during the opening ceremonies of the two-day event from a VRC-40 C2-A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery aircraft, 6,000 feet above the city. Two members of the 101st Airborne parachute demonstration team, known as the Screaming Eagles, also joined the Leap Frogs for each jump.

The wind whipped flags all the way down the packed beach, but that was no problem for the parachutists who exited farther inland to compensate for wind drift. The jumpers maneuvered their parachutes close together and linked up in what is called canopy relative work, to form bi-plane, tri-plane and T-formations. The jumpers plummeted toward the ground with lightning-fast speed for a bomb burst during their final performance on Sunday.

Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class Thomas Kinn presented a folded American flag to U.S. Marine Corps veteran Andrew Sprague, after parachuting during the national anthem. Sprague deployed to Iraq in 2004 and again in 2005 and is now a police officer assigned to the Ocean City Police Department. The crowd cheered as aerobatic pilot, Jason Newburg circled high above Kinn trailing white smoke in his green, Pitts S2S Viper aircraft.

The Leap Frogs and members of the Screaming Eagles packed their parachutes on the boardwalk, where spectators could lend a helping hand and ask questions about life in both the Navy and Army. Many people just stopped to shake hands and say "thank you," and were happy to have the opportunity to show their appreciation to the military.

"I thought it would be great to take the kids out to see an air show," said spectator, Jeff Hassannia, a U.S. Air Force veteran. "To see what America does and Americans do to defend this country every day."

The Leap Frogs were followed by performances from the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and various civilian flight demonstration teams.

"It was the third year and the best year ever!" said Bryan Lilley, the event organizer. "It takes a while to drift down under a parachute and they make it so interesting… To be able to land right in the middle of the event is awesome. These guys get the closest to our spectators and that's really significant."

"It was a great honor to jump into the Ocean City Air Show two years in a row and to present the colors to an American hero," said Chief Special Warfare Boat Operator (SWCC) J.C. Ledbetter, the Leap Frogs' acting officer in charge. "We always love coming here and representing the U.S. Navy for all of the seniors who just graduated."

The Leap Frogs are based in San Diego and perform parachute demonstrations across the United States in support of Naval Special Warfare and the Navy Recruiting Command. For more information about the team, visit www.leapfrogs.navy.mil.

Wisconsin officials, Nicaraguan delegation share emergency management techniques

Date: June 8, 2010
By Staff Sgt. Emily J. Russell
Wisconsin National Guard

The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs hosted a Nicaraguan delegation recently to share emergency management practices, as part of the state partnership program.

Since 2003, the Wisconsin-Nicaragua partnership program has resulted in dozens of exchanges to share knowledge, best practices and experience while building closer ties between the two militaries.

Seven members of the Nicaraguan delegation participated in a May 25-28 visit including Brig. Gen. Mario Perezcassar, the Nicaraguan chief of civil defense. Their primary purpose was to unite Wisconsin Emergency Management and Wisconsin National Guard officials with their counterparts from Nicaragua to discuss future exchange opportunities that can increase both organizations effectiveness in this critical area.

Geographically, Nicaragua is located in a precarious region where natural disaster is a yearround threat. The rainy season can bring hurricanes, floods or mudslides, and there's always the potential for earthquakes from one of the three fault lines that run through the area. Tsunamis resulting from earthquakes and volcanic activity from one of Nicaragua's six active volcanoes are both ever-present threats. And there is always the threat of fire.

Despite the threat, the Nicaraguan Army remains prepared for anything.

"As a national army, we are ready to face and respond to these natural disasters because of their frequency," Perezcassar said. "Our plan for emergency management allows military commanders to organize the different risks they may face in their respective territories, [giving] them the [ability] to utilize their available resources and create their own plan of action, which becomes the basis for each contingency plan."

The visit also included a tour of the Regional Emergency All-Climate Training Center (REACT) at Camp Williams, Wis., a training facility which certifies emergency responders in a variety of catastrophic disaster management techniques.

"We wanted to show the REACT center to the Nicaraguan delegation because they have a great interest in further developing their own search and rescue unit," said Capt. Joe Davison, State Partnership Program coordinator. "Perezcassar recently deployed to Haiti with a platoon of search and rescue personnel and they saw some of the more advanced equipment and techniques used by other search and rescue teams from the U.S. They want to learn some of the advanced techniques that are taught at the REACT center." According to Davison, the goal is to eventually bring soldiers from the Nicaraguan search and rescue unit to the REACT center to increase their ability to respond to emergencies at home.

The Nicaraguan search and rescue team deployed to Haiti for approximately two months with 35 personnel. During that time, they are credited with saving the lives of six Haitians.

"In the area of disaster preparedness and response, Nicaragua has a wealth of experience as they are vulnerable to many environmental threats," said WEM Director Scott Legwold.

During the upcoming 2011 Vigilant Guard exercise - which is scheduled to simulate a major earthquake at the New Madrid seismic zone affecting approximately 19 states in the midwestern, southern and eastern region - the Wisconsin National Guard will respond to several localized "emergencies."

"We will be working with our Nicaraguan partners prior to the exercise and sharing our contingency plans in a variety of scenarios to learn from each other," Legwold said. "During the actual exercise we are planning to have a group of Nicaraguan emergency management officials present to observe the crisis planning and response phases. We anticipate learning a lot from them in the area of disaster preparedness and response."

The Wisconsin National Guard and the Nicaraguan military both have a very similar role in emergency management, supporting their respective civilian emergency management agencies sharing the responsibility to plan and respond to natural disasters and other emergencies that take place within their respective borders.

"Helping Nicaragua develop its capacity to respond to natural disasters may be the most important aspect of our partnership," Davison said. "The world saw the different outcomes between Haiti, a country that had very limited ability to self-respond in a major disaster, versus Chile that took great measures to prepare for major disasters. We want to make sure Wisconsin does everything it can to assist Nicaragua now in preparing for natural disasters that they are sure to face in the future."

"We appreciate the interest you have in our country," Perezcassar said. "You're always there during our most difficult situations and this visit is proof that Wisconsin has an interest in sharing their experiences so we can learn from them when we're affected by natural disasters."

AFAF campaign ends in success

by Jon Hanson
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

6/8/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The 2010 Air Force Assistance Fund wrapped up recently with $7,492,512.94 in total contributions. This exceeded last year's contribution record by more than $20,000.

"This was a phenomenal year," said Bill D'Avanzo, the Air Force voting action officer and fundraising chief. "We have a remarkable Air Force family. We always have, and still do take care of our own."

The AFAF was established to provide for an annual effort to raise funds for charitable affiliates that provide support to the Air Force family, including active-duty Airmen, retirees, reservists, Guard members, dependents and surviving spouses.

Contributions benefit the four official Air Force charitable organizations: Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Enlisted Village, Air Force Village and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation.

This year's campaign included a first-ever competition between installations within a group with similar past performances in the AFAF campaign.

This year's group 1 winner was Lajes Field, Azores. Base contributors exceeded the installation goal by more than 249 percent with almost 48 percent active-duty participation.

Brooks-City Base, Texas, was also named a winner because it was the only base in group 1 to exceed more than 50 percent active-duty participation. In addition, its members surpassed the installation goal by more than 167 percent.

This year's group 2 winner was Misawa Air Base, Japan. Base officials collected 194 percent of their goal. Randolph AFB, Texas, which finished in second place, was recognized for its 42-percent active-duty participation rate. An honorable mention went to Offutt AFB, Neb.

The group 3 winner was Spangdalem Air Base, Germany, where base contributors raised 150 percent of their goal. Osan AB, South Korea, took second place for its members reaching 144 percent of their goal. Pope AFB, N.C., earned an honorable mention.

The winning base in each group receives a $2,500 cash prize to be used for programs supporting the base community.

For more information on the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign visit www.afassistancefund.org, the AFPC personnel services website or call the 24/7 Total Force Service Center toll-free at 800-525-0102.

Airmen participate in Unified Engagement 2010

by Capt. Tony Wickman
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

6/8/2010 - TALLINN, Estonia (AFNS) -- U.S. Air Forces in Europe officials joined representatives from seven other countries here to participate in Unified Engagement 2010, which started June 7 and continues through June 11.

The Unified Engagement seminar is the fourth Building Partnership Seminar USAFE officials have conducted with European partners as a transformation war game to explore future combined warfighting concepts and capabilities.

The U.S. delegation led by Gen. Roger A. Brady, the USAFE commander, is working with counterparts from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden to strengthen relationships, and improve interoperability and future cooperation.

"These meetings have been good for us and our allies and have proven productive and valuable," General Brady said. "These sessions serve as effective discussions and are opportunities to share ideas, and for military professionals, particularly air forces, to share their perspectives."

General Brady said the relationships established and the work accomplished at the seminar will allow everyone to come together quickly in crisis and effectively face the challenge.

"Because of training seminars like Unified Engagement, the U.S. Air Force and our partners worldwide are better prepared for future operational challenges," the general said. "Estonia is a great NATO partner and they are graciously hosting this meeting."

The seminar was an important opportunity to talk about operational endeavors, military advice and skills, said Brig. Gen. Valeri Saar, the Estonian air force commander, and the event co-host along with Maj. Gen. Jack Egginton, the USAFE Director of Air and Space Operations.

"The purpose of the meeting will address what role Estonia's air force should have, how to keep security in our region and how to be good neighbors," General Saar said. "We will also look at new issues such as cyber security and energy, and the threats to them."

An example of working closely with allies for interoperability and future missions is the training between U.S. aircraft and Estonian joint terminal attack controllers.

"We brought in a couple of F-15E Strike Eagles from (Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England) to Estonia to train with Estonian JTACs who are on their way to Afghanistan," General Egginton said. "They are training and using the same procedures as used in Afghanistan that will ultimately protect the Afghan people and NATO troops on the ground."

During the Unified Engagement seminar, participants act in the role of a multinational military staff, and consider possible requirements and concepts for operating together to meet potential future challenges. The participants look through the spectrum of operations from peace enforcement and humanitarian relief situations to cooperative security and stability operations.

Council tackles Air Force retiree concerns, issues

6/8/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force Retiree Council meets annually at the Air Force Personnel Center here to discuss and act upon concerns and issues affecting nearly 790,000 retired Airmen and surviving spouses.

This year's council met May 3 through 7 to review topics such as pay and benefits, medical care, and base-level retiree activities and support.

Retired Lt. Gen. Steven R. Polk and retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray currently serve as council co-chairmen. They lead council members representing 15 geographical areas worldwide. The council may also appoint members at large who have expertise in medical care and other critical subject areas.

The Air Force Retiree Council is "a safety net for those of us who currently serve," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.

The general visited this year's meeting and praised the council for serving as a link between him and the Air Force's retired community.

Although they no longer wear the uniform, Air Force retirees still represent the service, he said.

"The retiree community is an extension of the active-duty Air Force," said retired Col. Thomas R. Adams, who represents Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. "Retirees represent the Air Force as church and civic leaders, and volunteers. When the community views an Air Force retiree, it sees the mark of the Air Force, and it sees the training and experiences of Air Force careers embodied in men and women who served their country and now serve their community. The retiree represents the best advertising and recruiting tool of the Air Force."

Throughout the year, area representatives provide oversight and guidance to 109 retiree activities offices worldwide. Most RAOs are located on Air Force installations, and all staff members are volunteers. The area representatives work with their RAO directors to provide topics for each year's annual meeting based on what they glean from their respective retiree population.

The group heard from various senior leaders about current war operations, plus plans for the future of the Air Force's members, weapons and mission.

"This was, by far, the best council meeting I have attended," said retired Chief Master Sgt. Burton Clyde, who represents Arizona and New Mexico. "The visible support of our active-duty leaders for retirees was evident by the appearance of senior staff and others."

The council also heard from representatives of Tricare, Delta Dental, Veterans Affairs, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and the Military Coalition. AFPC briefers covered various topics such as the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, combat-related special compensation, identification cards, and current and future staffing challenges. The council toured the Center for the Intrepid, which provides rehabilitation for wounded warriors, and attended a Basic Military Training graduation at nearby Lackland Air Force Base.

The council co-chairmen will meet with General Schwartz later this year to discuss the council's findings and other matters related to the Air Force retirement community.

As the Year of the Air Force Family winds down, General Schwartz believes when people talk about today's Air Force as a whole, they must include its retirees, family members and survivors.

"Everyone is valued, and that includes our alumni," General Schwartz said.

He lauded the Air Force retirees who volunteer hundreds of thousands of hours at bases worldwide, saving millions of dollars.

The chief of staff had nothing but praise for the council's hard work and dedication.

"Thank you for the way you continue to still serve," he said.

Medal Comes After 66 Years

By Christopher Lagen
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville

June 8, 2010 - World War II-era Coast Guardsman Harry Milton Daube, 88, the last living survivor of the sinking of the USS Leopold, was presented the Purple Heart Medal during a June 4 ceremony at his home in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Daube said he was "very pleased" to receive his Purple Heart, adding it was a "pleasant surprise."

More than 66 years ago, then-Coast Guard Seaman First Class Daube served on board the USS Leopold, a 306-foot Coast Guard-manned Edsall class destroyer that was on escort duty in the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Europe during World War II.

On March 9, 1944, the Leopold was escorting a 27-ship convoy off the coast of Iceland when it was struck by a torpedo launched from a German U-boat.

All of the Leopold's 13 officers and 158 of her 186 enlisted men were lost. Daube and the 27 other survivors, all enlisted, waited on a life raft to be rescued after the Leopold split into two pieces and eventually sank.

After his return to the United States, Daube continued to serve in the Coast Guard, in New York, until the end of World War II.

Coast Guard officials blamed a paperwork problem on the delayed award.

"I accepted the delay" of the medal, Daube said, noting "we had lost all of the officers" and the Leopold's personnel records as a result of the U-boat attack.

The World War II veteran said he has suffered poor circulation in his legs ever since the attack, due to "quite a few hours" of exposure in the icy water.

Daube accepted the Purple Heart at his home in the company of close friends and a few local Coast Guardsmen.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first American award made available to the common soldier. The Purple Heart was established by Gen. George Washington in Newburgh, N.Y., on Aug. 7, 1782.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the sitting U.S. president to any member of an armed force or any civilian national of the United States who has been wounded or killed in action.

Guard Completes Sandbag, Barrier Missions on Gulf

Louisiana National Guard

June 8, 2010 - The Louisiana National Guard has completed two missions as part of its response to mitigate the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, officials said today. Guard members yesterday completed sandbagging eight breaches on Pelican Island in coastal Plaquemines Parish, La., and installed almost six miles of a shoreline protection system near Venice, La.

The sandbagging operation, started on May 13, repaired gaps in the barrier island caused by coastal erosion by dropping large sandbags, ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds each, from helicopters. Officials believe these efforts should help mitigate the impact of the oil spill that's approaching the Louisiana coastline.

Members of the 843rd Horizontal Company and the 2225th Multi-Role Bridge Company, 205th Engineer Battalion, filled the sandbags on the ground. The 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment airlifted the bags in place with UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

The 244th, with assistance from the Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Florida National Guards, flew about 243 flight hours in support of the mission.

The breaches ranged from 100- to 300-feet-wide, each, and the mission took more than 3,300 sandbags to complete.

The Louisiana Guard also completed the construction of an almost six-mile long Tiger Dam shoreline protection system near Venice, La., in the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River Delta.

The 1023rd Vertical Engineer Co., headquartered in Oak Grove, La., constructed the barrier across a beach in the Southwest Pass as a secondary line of defense to the boom line, to protect the natural marshlands from the approaching oil.

The 1st Battalion of the 244th Aviation Regiment based in Hammond, La., airlifted soldiers in and out of the worksite daily due to its remote location.

All of the inflatable barrier material and equipment had to be sling loaded and dropped in place by the Blackhawks.

The water diversion system, normally used for flood control, replaces sandbags and is comprised of a series of interlocking flexible tubes that are inflated with water to form a temporary dam or levee.

As work crews laid out the Tiger Dam material for assembly and inflation, other crews worked pumps to fill water into tubular sections.

Once completed, the 1023rd worked with the Florida National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, to transport equipment from Southwest Pass to Venice for cleaning and maintenance.

Louisiana National Guard

June 8, 2010 - The Louisiana National Guard has completed two missions as part of its response to mitigate the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, officials said today. Guard members yesterday completed sandbagging eight breaches on Pelican Island in coastal Plaquemines Parish, La., and installed almost six miles of a shoreline protection system near Venice, La.

The sandbagging operation, started on May 13, repaired gaps in the barrier island caused by coastal erosion by dropping large sandbags, ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds each, from helicopters. Officials believe these efforts should help mitigate the impact of the oil spill that's approaching the Louisiana coastline.

Members of the 843rd Horizontal Company and the 2225th Multi-Role Bridge Company, 205th Engineer Battalion, filled the sandbags on the ground. The 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment airlifted the bags in place with UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

The 244th, with assistance from the Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Florida National Guards, flew about 243 flight hours in support of the mission.

The breaches ranged from 100- to 300-feet-wide, each, and the mission took more than 3,300 sandbags to complete.

The Louisiana Guard also completed the construction of an almost six-mile long Tiger Dam shoreline protection system near Venice, La., in the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River Delta.

The 1023rd Vertical Engineer Co., headquartered in Oak Grove, La., constructed the barrier across a beach in the Southwest Pass as a secondary line of defense to the boom line, to protect the natural marshlands from the approaching oil.

The 1st Battalion of the 244th Aviation Regiment based in Hammond, La., airlifted soldiers in and out of the worksite daily due to its remote location.

All of the inflatable barrier material and equipment had to be sling loaded and dropped in place by the Blackhawks.

The water diversion system, normally used for flood control, replaces sandbags and is comprised of a series of interlocking flexible tubes that are inflated with water to form a temporary dam or levee.

As work crews laid out the Tiger Dam material for assembly and inflation, other crews worked pumps to fill water into tubular sections.

Once completed, the 1023rd worked with the Florida National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, to transport equipment from Southwest Pass to Venice for cleaning and maintenance.

HUD Allocates $58 Million to Help Homeless Veterans

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

June 8, 2010 - A program announced last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $58.6 million to get homeless veterans off the streets this year.

Vouchers will be provided to some 8,000 displaced veterans and their families across the country through the department's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, offering long-lasting support to the housing needs of veterans, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced June 3.

"Though they served and sacrificed so much for our country, too many of our veterans find themselves on the streets and in homeless shelters," Donovan said. "Thankfully, these vouchers will provide a more-permanent solution to housing and services these veterans need."

The program is in its third year and is a joint endeavor between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ending homelessness among veterans is a top priority for VA. The issue has been the topic of numerous public forums and working groups since VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki took the department's helm in January 2009.

Shinseki announced the framework for a plan in November that would end homelessness among veterans within five years. The plan outlined his desire to attack homelessness at the top of the "downward spiral," addressing mental health, substance abuse and unemployment before veterans become homeless.

VA estimates that more than 131,000 veterans and their families are without homes. Without the help of other federal departments, government agencies and community outreach, Shinseki's goals can't be met, he said in a statement released by HUD.

However, efforts like HUD's program are "a critical, long-term investment" toward helping those already homeless, Shinseki said. The program is the largest permanent housing initiative in the nation.

"The most-effective option to providing veterans permanent shelter is HUD-VA Supportive Housing," he said. "We owe determination that matches theirs as we work to end veteran homelessness. [The program] is immensely important and effective to reaching our goal."

Homeless veterans can receive the rental vouchers through their local VA medical center. Case managers at each hospital refer eligible veterans to local housing authorities, which will then assist veterans in finding adequate homes.

Eligibility for the vouchers is determined on a case-by-case basis, and requirements vary by metropolitan area, Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD, explained in an interview today.

The dollar amount allocated to each local housing agency is based on the number of reported homeless veterans and the fair market rental system. The individual vouchers will cover at least 70 percent of a veteran's rent. Also, once veterans are deemed eligible for the voucher, they stay in HUD's voucher system until they can be financially stable.

"Veterans will permanently have support and housing through this program," Sullivan said. "That is until they're able to stand on their own and continue to increase their income, which is our ultimate goal."

HUD plans to announce another $17 million for an additional 1,355 rental vouchers next month as well as 400 project-based vouchers later this summer, he said.

Defense Leaders Address Fiscal Constraints

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2010 - The top defense leaders of the United States and Great Britain today discussed how to obtain the military equipment and capabilities their countries need when funding is harder to come by. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and British Defense Secretary Liam Fox touched on a variety of topics in a meeting today, they said at a news conference afterward, and coping with a dangerous world amid economic constraints was one of them.

Fox noted the new British government that took office in May inherited an economic "train wreck."

"People don't quite understand the size of the public debt in the [United Kingdom]," he said, "but it's probably about the equivalent of borrowing some 1.2 million pounds every single day since the birth of Christ. ... So it's not going to be an easy financial backdrop against which to make decisions in a very difficult global security environment."

Gates said the U.S. military is grappling with similar issues in an era of fiscal austerity that's occurring in the face of an evolving strategic landscape.

"I said a while ago that the United States cannot have a strong military without a strong economy," he said. "That's true of every country. ... One way we're trying to deal with what we expect to be extremely limited growth in the American defense budget going forward is take a very hard look at how we spend our money, and to make sure that we're spending it on those things that give us actual military capabilities, both now and in the future.

"The effort that I have under way is not about how we fund current operations – that's already taken care of," he continued. "But rather, [it's about] how we fund our current force structure and how we make proper investments in the future."

That requires a hard look at how the department is spending money in areas other than force structure and investment in modernization, Gates said. He added that he hopes NATO allies dealing with the same problem will take a hard look at overhead reduction and business practices before considering reductions in force structures and capabilities.

Fox noted that the British military is beginning a defense and security review that will involve, in part, coming to a realistic assessment of how much it can reasonably afford, based on the country's anticipated security requirements and the threats it faces.

Senior Executive Service Appointments

June 8, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments:

Marcia A. Case has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as associate director for military operations, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Washington, D.C. Case previously served as director for financial management, U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va.

Jose M. Gonzalez has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as deputy director, land warfare and munitions, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Washington, D.C. Gonzalez previously served as a general engineer, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Washington, D.C.

USS Constitution Hosts Wounded Warriors During Battle of Midway Ceremony

By Zona T. Lewis, Navy Safe Harbor Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - BOSTON (NNS) -- In recognition of the observance of the Battle of Midway, approximately 125 Wounded Warriors from all five branches of the military joined the crew of the USS Constitution for a morning at sea June 4.

"Today we honor Navy history, celebrate past victories at sea and recognize the sacrifices service members have made, and continue to make, in support of our ongoing fight for freedom," said Capt. Key Watkins, program director of Navy Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard's Wounded Warrior program.

The crew of the Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, hosted a Wounded Warrior underway for service members who had sustained injuries in the course of duty.

"I can actually call myself a Sailor now," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Max Rohn, of Longmont, Colo., who has spent his entire Navy career serving with Marine Corps units. Rohn, a Purple Heart recipient, experienced his first opportunity to get underway aboard the Constitution.

Rohn was serving with the Marine Corps in Iraq when his patrol was hit by a grenade. As the unit's medic, he had to perform first aid on himself before he was moved to safety.

For some, being a Wounded Warrior is humbling.

"I ended up in the Wounded Warrior program because of cancer," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Lorne Dunnells, a native of New York and currently the recruiter-in-charge of Navy Recruiting Station West in Lebanon, N.H. "The true Wounded Warriors are here with combat wounds. They are the real heroes."

The crew and guests of the Constitution commemorated the Battle of Midway by laying a wreath in the ocean.

"These three pieces - the ship, the day, the Wounded Warriors - may at first seem disconnected, but they are not," said Rear Adm. Robert O. Wray Jr., deputy commander of Military Sealift Command, at the ceremony. "The ship, the day, the warriors are all connected by one thing – heroism in defense of our homeland."

He reflected on the significant role that Constitution played in the morale of a fledgling nation during the War of 1812, how the Battle of Midway was the turning point in the Pacific during World War II and what an honor it was to sail with Medal of Honor recipients and Wounded Warriors.

Following the ceremony, the Wounded Warriors and their guests were offered "Tours of Duty" aboard the ship for a better glimpse in to the history of the ship, its crew and its current mission before she exchanged a 21-gun salute with Fort Independence on Castle Island.

"It is important for people to know the traditions and history of the Navy," said retired Force Master Chief Dave Pennington, anchor program director for Navy Safe Harbor, commenting on the important role Constitution and her crew serve today. "Sailors have been making a difference in the lives of people across the world, not just those close to home, for a very long time."

Army Veterinarians Work in Vietnam

Pacific Partnership 2010 Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - Members of the government of Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development met with U.S. Army veterinarians for the first time during a veterinary care conference held here June 3-6. The conference was part of Pacific Partnership 2010, the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance initiatives aimed at strengthening regional partnerships among U.S. government agencies, host nations, partner nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.

Pacific Partnership also affords the opportunity for subject matter expert exchanges, such as in the form of the three-day veterinary conference held in Vietnam.

Something unique in this year's Pacific Partnership mission is the opportunity for Vietnamese, non-governmental organizations, and U.S. Army veterinarians to come together and exchange ideas and techniques that ultimately help to improve the manner in which all participants approach their science, according to Army Capt. (Dr.) Jolene North, a veterinarian with the Japan District Veterinary Command, Misawa Branch, and team lead for the conference.

"Since this is our first contact with Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, it was important for us to open the lanes of communication and obtain an understanding of the Vietnamese animal care," North said.

As the engagement progressed, American and Vietnamese veterinarians were able to discover the common ground they share in their field of expertise and explore the differences. Both groups welcomed the opportunity to meet again.

"What was apparent to all of us was our dedication to patients and our desire to improve our field by using our individual resources as efficiently as possible, and this is only the beginning," North said.

Upon completion of this year's Pacific Partnership, some NGOs will remain in place and serve as a steady link between Vietnam and others interested in similar collaboration.

"This is just the first step," said World Vets member Rachel Halpin. World Vets is one of eight NGOs participating in Pacific Partnership in Vietnam.

"World Vets' goal is to establish a communication with the Vietnamese during Pacific Partnership," Halpin said, "[and] then come back and continue the work of education and development."

Veterinary care and welfare for animals is essential throughout rural Vietnam where animals are interconnected with residents' livelihoods, from helping cultivate crops to providing companionship.

"I hope to see them be able to improve their quality of veterinary care," Halpin said, "both in treating dogs and cats to treating water buffalo; but also in terms of public health, something we continuously strive for back home."

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 8, 2010

ARMY

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on June 3 a $138,843,606 firm-fixed-price contract. This delivery order is being awarded commensurate to the award of a modification to the base contract to add additional vehicle variants and Federal Reserve excise tax to the contract. The variants being added to the contract and procured in the delivery order are as follows: 481 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M983A4 light equipment transporters; 481 Federal Reserve excise tax for Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M983A4 light equipment transporters; one Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M1120A4 load handling system; and one Federal Reserve excise tax for Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M1120A4 load handling system. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

NIITEK, Inc., Dulles, Va., was awarded on June 2 a $106,502,478 firm-fixed-price contract for 76 Husky Mounted Detection (HMD) systems installation; new equipment training; maintenance support; and logistics documentation, to be immediately deployed to Afghanistan, and critical spares to assure continued operation for a 12-month period of the 80 HMDs already procured. Work is to be performed in Dulles, Va., with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Contracting Center Washington, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (W909MY-10-C-0016).

Navistar Defense, LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on June 2 a $70,185,145 firm-fixed-price contract for 254 recovery/wrecker trucks. Work is to be performed in Ooltewah, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, CCTA-ADBA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-D-G097).

Sunrise Beach Corp., Allen, Texas, was awarded on June 3 a $59,471,900 fixed-price-labor hours for aircraft paint and maintenance services for the 1108th Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot for the Mississippi Army National Guard located at Gulfport, Miss. Work is to be performed in Gulfport, Miss. (57 percent); Birmingham, Ala. (7 percent); Salisbury, N.C. (6 percent); Eastover, S.C. (5 percent); Frankfort, Ky. (5 percent); Smyrna, Tenn. (5 percent); Brooksville, Fla. (4 percent); Jackson, Tenn. (4 percent); Saint Croix, Virgin Islands (4 percent); Dobbins, Ga. (2 percent); Fort Rucker, Ala. (1 percent); Hope Hull, Ala. (1 percent); and Mobile, Ala. (1 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2015. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. National Guard Bureau, U.S. Property and Fiscal Office for Mississippi, Jackson, Miss., is the contracting activity (W9127Q-10-C-0003).

Conti Federal Services, Inc., South Plainfield, N.J., was awarded on June 2 a $46,442,406 fixed-price contract for "Hurricane Protection Office, Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, Reach 149, Construction of Caernarvon Canal Floodwall, St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes, La." Work is to be performed in the St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes in Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of April 6, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P9-10-C-0086).

URS/Lear Siegler Services, Germantown, Md., was awarded on June 1 a $41,157,296 time-and-material task order for services in support of ongoing maintenance, overhaul, modification and upgrade of Bradley/multiple-launch rocket system vehicles; tactical wheeled vehicles; all-terrain material handling equipment; rubber products; and environment-type cleanup. Work is to be performed in Texarkana, Texas, with an estimated completion date of May 26, 2013. Fifteen bids were solicited with seven bids received. U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W911SE-07-D-0008).

L-3 Communications, Systems Field Support, Rockwall, Texas, was awarded on June 1 a $33,550,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide life cycle contractor support services for the Army fleet of C12/RC-12/UC-35 aircraft worldwide. Work is to be performed in Rockwall, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2015. B ids were solicited on the World Wide Web with five bids received. Aviation Missile Command, Redstone, Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0107).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., was awarded on June 1 a $32,074,665 firm-fixed-price contract to purchase the next generation automatic test system. This contract provides additional funding to increase the undefinitized contract action obligation amount up to 75 percent of the revised qualifying proposal received from Northrop Grumman. Work is to be performed in Rolling Meadows, Ill., with an estimated completion date of May 28, 2011. One sole-source bid was solicited with one bid received. Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-10-C-0040).

American Ordnance, LLC, Middletown, Iowa, was awarded on June 1 a $21,819,932 firm-fixed-price contract to exercise Option #1 for 81mm propelling charges; 121,018 M218; 100,502 M219; 1,782,862 M220; and 574,720 M234. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa (50 percent), and Milan, Tenn. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Bids were solicited via the national technology industrial base with four bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, CCRC-AC, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0029).

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on May 27 a $15,541,966 fixed-price level-of-effort contract for labor hours, program management review/synch meetings, and training sessions for the program management office, Stryker Brigade Combat Team support. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2011. One bid solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, CCTA-AI, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

American Ordnance LLC., Middletown, Iowa, was awarded on May 24, 2010 a $15,283,985 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for Option #1 for 60mm propelling charges: 1,366,664 of M204; and 823,601 of M235. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Bids were solicited via the national technology industrial base with three bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, CCRC-AR, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0032).

Creative Times Day School, Inc, Ogden, Utah, was awarded on May 24 a $12,565,935 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of a fire station, military police station, and information operation center at Fort Bliss, Texas. This project will include a fire department training facility, anti-terrorism measures, and building information systems. Support facilities includes utilities;, electric services; security lighting; standby generator fire protection and alarm systems; fencing; paving; walks; curbs and gutters; storm drainage; information systems; landscaping; and site improvements. Work is to be performed in El Paso, Texas, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2011. One hundred and seventy-five bids were solicited with six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0057).

Nivisys Industries, LLCC, Tempe, Ariz., was awarded on May 24 a $12,372,812 firm-fixed-price contract for various night vision equipment. Work is to be performed in Tempe, Ariz., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 29, 2012. One sole-source bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-10-C-D233).

Duke University, Durham, N.C., was awarded on May 27 a $9,266,161 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) research. Current imaging systems are fundamentally limited in field of view and resolution. Wide field of view and high resolution cannot be achieved using conventional camera design. On the DARPA "Maximally scalable Optical Sensor Array Imaging with Computation" program, Duke University shall overcome the limits of conventional imaging system design and demonstrate the feasibility of near-linear growth of optical information throughout with increasing imaging system scale. The efficacy of the technology will be demonstrated by developing an unprecedented 10-to-50 gigapixel with 114-degree field of view. Work is to be performed in Durham, N.C. (28.41 percent); Thousand Oaks, Calif. (26.87 percent); Champaign, Ill. (10.62 percent); Tucson, Ariz. (10.34 percent); Rochester, N.Y. (8.05 percent); McKinney, Texas. (5.92 percent); La Jolla, Calif. (3.67 percent); San Diego, Calif. (3.58 percent); and Cambridge, Mass. (2.53 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 27, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-10-C-0073).

Shook-RJE, JV, Dayton, Ohio, was awarded on May 24 a $8,813,800 construction firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of a joint services lodging facility. Work is to be performed in Youngstown, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District Office, CELRLCT-M, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0058).

Nationview/Bhate, JV III, LLC, Birmingham, Ala., was awarded on May 27 a $8,648,624 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and build of a single-story child development center with drilled pier foundations; concrete slab; steel frame; masonry exterior walls; and standing seam metal roof. The work includes multi-purpose rooms; isolation rooms; kitchen area and equipment; walk-in freezer; administrative space; authorized equipment; fire protection; utilities; and all other support. Complies with Departmet of Defense force protection requirements per Unified Facilities Criteria. Unexercised options in the amount of $166,787 are available for future execution by the government. Work is to be performed at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with 15 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-10-C-0070).

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on May 25 an $8,246,591 firm-fixed-price contract to add 50 Humvees to contract. Work is to be performed in Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Warren, CCTA-ATA-C, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

AECOM Government Services, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded on May 26 an $8,085,851 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Iraqi Asset Management Program, continued maintenance of all necessary personnel supplies and services to support the extensive fleet of vehicles and equipment for military operations by various segments of the Iraqi Army. Work is to be performed in Iraq with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-10-C-0033).

North Shore International, New Hyde Park, N.Y., was awarded on May 22 a $7,959,572 firm-fixed-price contract for emergency parts for the Mussaib Power Plant, Babil, Iraq. Work is to be performed in Iraq with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division, Multi-National Force, Iraq, is the contracting activity (W917BG-10-P-0010).

Lockheed Martin Electronics and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on May 26 a $7,888,280 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the reset support to include inspecting, refurbishment, and removal of sand, dust, and foreign material intrusion to the Apache modernized and legacy target acquisition designation sight assembly and pilot night vision sensor assembly system. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-AP-B, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0023).

KDH Defense Systems, Inc., Johnstown, Pa., was awarded on May 27 a $7,100,000 firm-fixed-price contract for in-scope modification to obtain 736,000 multi-cam improved outer tactical vests. Work is to be performed in Eden, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Research, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center, Aberdeen Contracting Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0049).

IIF Data Solutions, Inc., Centreville, Va., was awarded on May 24 a $6,772,697 labor-hour and cost contract to provide medical support services for the Army National Guard. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2015. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. National Guard Bureau, ZC-AQ, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (W9133L-10-F-0141).

McConnell Dowell, 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-ER5-1(2) Cyclone Olaf Repair of Route 030, Tau Road Island of Tau, American Samoa." 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).

Lupachino & Salvatore Inc., Bloomfield, Conn., was awarded on May 25 a $6,106,800 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for "Total Force Integration-Component-Numbered Air Force Beddown-Upgrade Facilities" at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. The base requires an adequately-sized and properly configured Component Numbered Air Force (cNAF) air operations command center with Air Mobility Division and support facilities to effectively train and conduct the assigned cNAF mission. The cNAF includes functional elements responsible for plans; operations; intelligence; logistic; combat services support; and communications-electronics. Work is to be performed in East Granby, Conn., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 14 bids received. National Guard Bureau, Hartford, Conn., is the contracting activity (W91ZRS-10-C-0007).

Lockheed Martin, Simulation, Training and Support, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on May 26 a $5,868,182 firm-fixed-price contract for field and depot support for the AN/USM-401 (v) electronic quality assurance test equipment. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of May 24, 2015. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-10-C-D402).

L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., Space and Navigation Division, Budd Lake, N.J., was awarded on May 27 a $5,194,097 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This new requirement is a product improvement to the existing improved position and azimuth determining (IPAD) system and will test, build and deliver up to 400 IPADs with GPS capability. Work is to be performed in Budd Lake, N.J., with an estimated completion date of May 27, 2014. One sole-source bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Commands, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-10-D-0021).

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

CSI Armoring, Inc., Miami, Fla. (H92222-10-D-0020; $42,986,295), and The Armored Group, LLC, Phoenix, Ariz. (H92222-10-D-0021; $44,439,516), have each been awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for an initial delivery order of four armored Hilux vehicles and accessories at a value of $525,340. The potential dollar amount of this award is $44,439,516. The contract minimum in accordance with the request for proposal is four vehicles. All future vehicle delivery orders will be competed between these two companies. A total of 77 vehicles may be purchased under two multi-award contracts. The period of performance of this contract is May 28, 2010 to May 27, 2011. U.S. Special Operations Command is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $24,702,369 contract for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop and deliver system requirements analysis documentation; concept recommendations; tradeoff analysis data/documentation field investigation; and integration analysis reports. At this time, $9,420,635 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $17,619,018 contract which will provide for the electronic protection improvement program. At this time, $2,114,605 has been obligated. 696 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-10-C-0084).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded an $8,928,463 contract which will provide for mission assurance technical analysis to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs. At this time, $1,096,974 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin, Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $9,002,740 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-09-G-0005) for services in support of the MH-60R Common Data Link (CDL) Hawklink upgrade. Services to be provided include production support; first article inspection test; generation of engineering change proposals to incorporate CDL Hawklink into the MH-60R; product test verification supporting an MH-60R fleet release; and production validation testing on the aircraft. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. 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.

British Counterpart Praise Alliance

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2010 - The defense secretaries of the United States and Great Britain today praised the strength and depth of the U.S.-British alliance and pledged continued cooperation in meeting today's challenges and those of the future.

During a news conference after their meeting, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and his British counterpart, Liam Fox, said they discussed a variety of issues, including Iran's nuclear ambitions, Afghanistan, an upcoming British defense and security review, the need for NATO reform, and the threat terrorism poses to the world.

Fox, part of the new British government that took office in May, said today's meeting continued discussions the two defense secretaries had while in Singapore for the "Shangri-La Dialogue" Asia security summit. He said their talks have been "wide-ranging, very friendly and extraordinarily productive."

Gates called the United Kingdom one of the oldest and closest U.S. allies.

"The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is based on profound cultural and historic ties that stretch back generations and transcend any political moment or political party," he said.

During their meeting, Gates said, the two men discussed Fox's recent trip to Afghanistan, and the U.S. defense secretary noted the sacrifices the British people have made there.

"Right now, 9,500 British troops are demonstrating incredible courage on the battlefields of southern Afghanistan," he said. "I told Dr. Fox how much we in America appreciate his nation's leadership in this effort and offered my condolences for the nearly 300 British troops that have been lost in the conflict, including several just this week.

"To paraphrase a poet from the Great War," Gates continued, "British fighting men and women have more than done their bit and have had their share."

The same is true of other nations in the coalition, he added, pointing out that six U.S. soldiers, two U.S. Marines and two Australian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan just yesterday.

"Even as we mourn all these fallen heroes and pray for their families," Gates said, "we stand in awe of their valor and their service."

Both nations face many difficulties, Fox said, but he said the strength of their long-standing relationship will help them work on those problems together.

"We recognize that there are a range of very difficult issues in security and regionally and internationally that we will want to share with," he said, "but we have the tremendous comfort of the strong and enduring relationship between our two countries."

Fox said that when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill first spoke about that relationship in March 1946 during his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Mo., he did so as a wartime leader who understood the military and intelligence implications of that relationship.

"It was a hard-headed assessment of the national interests of both countries," Fox said, "and we have been discussing that special relationship very much in terms of the national security imperatives for both countries."

Great Britain and the United States have fought side by side and endured many shared sacrifices throughout their long alliance, Gates said.

"Along with our European partners, we have made common cause against dictators, tyrants and virulent ideologies seeking to destroy the foundations of the free world," he said, "and we've expended untold amounts of blood and treasure to unite Europe and protect the values upon which our societies are built.

"Today, as we face new challenges in a new century," he continued, "I'm confident that this special relationship will be, as it has been in the past, the bedrock alliance of partners guaranteeing a peaceful and prosperous future."

CSG-10 Salutes Kings Bay Navy College Graduates

From Commander, Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- The commander, of Submarine Group 10 addressed the Navy College graduating class of 2010 at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., June 4.

The commencement ceremony reflected the efforts of 87 graduates with 17 Sailors and one Marine who received degrees ranging from associates to the first doctorate earned at the Kings Bay campus.

In his commencement speech, Rear Adm. Barry Bruner applauded the efforts of the graduates and the support from their friends and families in achieving their academic goals.

"Few things in life come easily, but doors are opening for you," Bruner said.

After 23-years in the Navy, Senior Chief Missile Technician Nicholas Davies of Trident Training Facility completed a bachelor's degree in only 16-months.

"I decided to pursue my degree due to upcoming transition to the civilian community," Davies said. "The Navy has been extremely supportive in all my efforts and I wanted to take advantage of all the benefits available while still on active duty. The evening hours of the classes made it easy to de-conflict work and school schedules." Davies plans to continue his education with a graduate degree in education.

The Navy College Program (NCP) provides opportunities to Sailors to earn college degrees by providing academic credit for Navy training, work experience, and off-duty education. The Navy College mission is to provide continual academic support to Sailors while they pursue a technical or college degree, regardless of their location or duty station.

Chief Fire Control Technician Dexter Locklear of Trident Refit Facility encourages junior Sailors to take advantage of the educational opportunities available through Navy College and the Navy. "I would tell junior Sailors - take one class per patrol while underway and your degree will be so much easier to attain in the future. I completed 19 patrols and would have completed my bachelor's degree years ago, if I completed 1 course per patrol."

"I would recommend college to all personnel in the military but to be cautious in taking to many classes too early to avoid conflicts with military duties," Davies said.

NPC signals the Navy's commitment to education by improving enlistment appeal, demonstrating Navy service and achieving a college degree are compatible to helping Sailors apply themselves to new situations and challenges.

Lt. Antone Eliasen of Trident Training Facility described earning his master's in engineering management as "more than a way for me to better myself, it also allows me to provide greater value to the Navy. It represents a culmination of not only the efforts that I put into my education, but the efforts that my wife and my fellow students and Sailors put forth to help me down this path."

NPC is available for undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees.

"The Navy College looks forward to increased growth in customer needs and continues to be every service members first stop in their pursuit of off-duty college education or vocational training," said Gregg White, Kings Bay Navy College Office director.

Gates: Nuclear Weapons Would Make Iran Less Secure

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

June 8, 2010 - If Iran were to succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons, the subsequent chain of events would make that country less secure, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

During a news conference, both Gates and British Defense Secretary Liam Fox expressed confidence that the United Nations Security Council soon will pass a new resolution imposing sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program and that more unilateral sanctions could follow from countries concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Gates said he believes it's not too late, and that international cooperation has the potential to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"The key here is a combination of diplomacy and pressure to persuade the Iranians that they are headed in the wrong direction in terms of their own security – that they will undermine their security by pursuit of nuclear weapons, not enhance it," he said. "For one thing, their obtaining a nuclear weapon would almost certainly lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons elsewhere in the Middle East and a number of other countries."

Fox said Iran is an increasingly militarized country with a hard-line, theocratic leader, and that it has shown in Iraq and Afghanistan its willingness to destabilize its neighbors.

"And thirdly, I think the overwhelming fear we have is that if Iran is to become a nuclear-weapons state, it may well be the end of [the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] as we know it," Fox continued. "And after all that sacrifice that both of our countries made getting us to the end of the Cold War, limiting nuclear proliferation, and having celebrated last year the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we surely want to do more than leave the next generation a legacy of a new nuclear arms race in the world's most unstable region."

Gates said the Security Council resolution would set the stage for further action from the international community.

"One of the many benefits of the resolution is that it will provide a legal platform for individual nations to then take individual actions that go well beyond the resolution itself," he explained. "And I believe that a number of nations are prepared to act pretty promptly. But first things, first. The key is getting the resolution."

Fox said the resolution would make clear to Iran's leadership that the world takes the issue seriously, and that it would send a signal to the Iranian people that the international community has a quarrel with their government's nuclear program and not with them.

The Security Council resolution, Fox added, also would show that the series of sanctions against the Iranian leadership is not being applied by a small number of countries, but rather by "the entire global community, which is united in international law in trying to prevent what would be a major destabilization in terms of international security."

15th MEU Reaches Out to Guam Community

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Peter Lewis
Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - DEDEDO, Guam (NNS) -- Twenty Marines and Sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), attached to USS Peleliu (LHA 5), visited a children's summer camp in the village of Dededo, Guam June 7.

The children were taking part in the Dededo Mayor's Drug-Free Summer Program that focuses on giving kids alternatives to using alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

The unit sought to promote an active and healthy lifestyle by participating in sports activities and games with the children during the event.

"Whenever we have port visits, it's important to get out in the community and give something back," said Cmdr. David Schilling, chaplain of the unit. "Being a Marine unit, we all work out pretty frequently, and we think that good health and fitness is something we could come out and share with the kids."

According to Joanne Cepeda, the summer camp's program and event coordinator, the children were very excited to have military members come out to exercise with them.

"They were thrilled when I told them that this event was going to occur," Cepeda said. "They have been very enthusiastic and energized while playing with the Sailors and Marines. I have never seen them so excited to exercise!"

The children took part in a variety of activities to include basketball, soccer, races, kickball and an obstacle courses. The kids also had the opportunity to learn about the different jobs held by the Marines and Sailors in the unit.

"I really enjoyed interacting with these kids," said Sgt. Abel Pequeno. "I think they had a lot of fun and learned a lot from us. Hopefully, they continue with a healthy lifestyle, and maybe one day, some of these kids will be future Marines or Sailors."

Sailors and Marines Serve Guam

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Peter Lewis and Oyaol Ngirairikl, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - TALOFOFO, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from USS Dubuque (LPD-8) and 15 Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) were eager to serve the Guam community at two community service projects on the island June 3.

More than a dozen service members visited the Yona/Talofofo Senior Citizens Center in Talofofo, where they had the opportunity to converse, eat, play music, and even dance with local seniors.

Lt. Cmdr. Mike Foskett, the chaplain for the ship, said that his command and the entire Navy are fully dedicated to fostering good relations with local communities, wherever Sailors and Marines travel.

"This is the essence of the Navy and the Marine Corps," he said. "The individual Sailor and Marine that joins to make a difference and they want to get out and interact with the community. I hope that's the message [the seniors] get."

Foskett added that community service projects performed while in foreign ports are a great opportunity for Sailors and Marines to absorb local culture and get a better understanding of the world.

"One of the reasons they joined the service was to see the world and experience different cultures," he said. "So I think that community service projects are so important for widening their horizons."

The Sailors and Marines agreed with the chaplain, and said that they were eager to learn from people who were so rich in culture and had experienced so much during their long lives.

"I saw an opportunity to get to know the people on the island, explore, and meet new people and see new faces," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Francisco Vazquez.

The seniors were also excited and eager to interact with the servicemen.

"They were enthused and excited to have people from the mainland, on Navy ships, visiting the island and to bring them out here to mingle and share stories," said Johnny Afaisan, the center manager.

Rosa Rayes-Newby, whose husband was a retired Navy chief, told the Sailors and Marines that they brightened her day, and that she appreciated their visit.

"I enjoy having you guys over here at the center," said Rayes-Newby. "We are having fun this afternoon."

As they mingled, they found out that they had things in common with the elders, and that the seniors had led interesting lives.

"I'm already playing the ukulele with someone," Vazquez said. "He's teaching me some of the chords, and I'm teaching him some of my stuff. Cool."

"I was just talking to one of the seniors, and she was telling me what it was like back in the war," Foskett said. "That's just unbelievable!"

The visiting servicemen said that they hoped the seniors enjoyed the visit and realize that there are people thinking about them and caring for them.

"I hope that at the end of the day they had a great experience and that we hopefully made their day better," Vasquez said. "And that they know that there are people really caring out there."

Sailors and Marines were also on hand to help feed and care for abandoned animals at Guam Animals In Need (GAIN) in Yigo.

As a nonprofit organization, GAIN relies on help from volunteers to help them care for animals housed at the shelter. Currently, more than 130 dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals call GAIN home.

The Sailors and Marines cleaned out kennels, fed the animals and took them out of their kennels for some exercise.

Cpl. Nicholas Turner, of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), said the volunteer effort at GAIN was a great way for Sailors and Marines to reciprocate the hospitality they've received, as well as enjoy Guam's tropical weather.

"We came here as a joint force of Marines and Sailors to give back to the community; basically spend some time cleaning kennels (and) taking care of animals," he said. "As Sailors and Marines we keep very busy with active training schedules and it's nice to be able to find time to be able to do something different."

Turner said it's important for service members to take an active role in the community.

"I think not only just as people helping other people or helping animals, I think it's also important that people see — civilians see — that the military is about more than just the ability to fight and to defend the country," he said. "We do care about other issues and we do want to spend our time being well rounded basically in the community."

Machinist's Mate Fireman (SW) Edward Burgos said he enjoys helping others and volunteering at GAIN seemed like a good opportunity to give back to the community.

"It's good for the blue/green team, and the military in general, when you go out and do something positive wherever you go," Burgos said.

Cpl. Jason Leavitt, 1st Battalion 4th Marines 15th MEU, said he volunteers at various community events and organizations, such as GAIN, since he joined the Marines as a way to say "Thank you" to the communities that support him and his fellow brothers- and sisters-at-arms.

"From personal experience the communities helped me out a lot," he said. "This is a good way for Sailors and Marines to give back to them."

The mission of the MEU is to provide geographic combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, rapid-response force capable of conducting conventional amphibious and selected maritime special operations at night or under adverse weather conditions from the sea, by surface and/or by air while under communications and electronics restrictions.

Dubuque, homeported in San Diego, is part of the USS Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group and is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Army's Discrimination of the Injured

In the past weeks my ears have been flooded with military health care horror stories. I am currently on transition leave and will soon no longer be active duty, but retired. Even though I have put away the uniform and the boots I am still receiving calls and emails about the Army medical system, TRICARE. The conversation usually starts with a junior enlisted Soldier seeking advice hearing tidbits of my own troubles. Two of the biggest complaints that I hear are in reference to PTSD and joint/bone problems.

All Soldiers are possible victims to the emotional stress and demand on the body. What is worse is the medical system all Soldiers returned to. Those Soldiers with injuries that are not visibly apparent tend to take a back seat. If the Soldier can walk and does not have an open wound he/she can wait months to receive a MRI or see a doctor. The first approach the Army takes is to send Joe to Physicians Assistant (PA). The PA typically gives the Soldier some 800mg Ibuprofen and maybe a week or two of a limited duty profile. If the Soldier is persistent enough and goes back to the PA every week complaining of the same pain they may get a 90 day profile form written on a DA3349.

The 90 day profile is key to this experience. The intent is that the Soldier’s leadership will have a better understanding of what limitations should be put in place for the Soldier so they are not further injured. It also serves to protect the Soldier and aid in his/her healing.

The main complaint with a profile is the negative connotation that comes along with having one. At this point in the game the Soldier usually doesn’t have a real diagnosis, they probably haven’t even seen a real doctor yet. The Soldier cannot tell the unit that they have a herniated disk in their spine. Instead they have to say,”it hurts all day and when I wear gear it’s unbearable.” Ultimately it appears the chain of command isn’t concerned with the Soldier’s health; they are worried about number of qualified and unqualified soldiers. Many Soldiers become discouraged at this point. Future promotions are no longer a possibility and evaluation reports are watered down because of the profile. Even though these actions are against Army regulation they unit still finds a way to punish the Soldier for seeking help. The bullying and verbal abuse put forth by the unit serves to make sure the Soldier stops seeking medical care. Typically the Soldier will drive on making the issue worse. They will use home remedies or ignore the pain.

If one continues to seek medical help they will eventually get to make an appointment with an actual doctor. They will see all of the required personal and hopefully come to some diagnosis that treatment plan. Those Soldiers that ignore the pain will eventually be debilitated and forced to go to a doctor out of necessity.

Care for PTSD is run in a similar fashion. When the Soldier seeks medical treatment they are typically ostracized by their unit. The health care they receive is minimal, and typically consists of medication after one 30 minute session. The counseling is typically only given if the Soldier is persistent or given a quick diagnosis. Unfortunately the Army has set itself up to only recognize those Soldiers who have experienced direct fire. If the Soldier has been sexually assaulted, seen others die on base, or contributed to the death of persons by intelligence collection the Army is turning its back.

Recently the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 has passed. This bill is focused on improving Veteran Affairs (VA) health care for women, PTSD patients, and caregiver benefits. Although I appreciate the sentiment and feel the bill is a great step forward; I ask why aren’t we provided better health care while the Soldier is on Active Duty? Wouldn’t we save money by taking care of these health problems at the earliest stage, rather than waiting until a Soldier is completely broken and then medically boarded out of the Army? All of these health care problems are falling into the lap of the VA.

The Army needs to fix their health care system and make sure that all Soldiers are entitled to timely and immediate treatment. Every Soldier in a leadership position needs to treat their Soldiers with respect especially in regards to their health care, and the discrimination of the injured needs to cease.


Read more about the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1987315,00.html#ixzz0qFkNLNce