Military News

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Former Soldiers Sentenced for Armed Robbery

June 16, 2010 - WILMINGTON—United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on June 11, 2010, Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced DOUGLAS T. ROBERTS, 20, and DERRICK R. HOLSTON, JR., 23, for their roles in two Fort Bragg armed robberies. ROBERTS received 147 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release. HOLSTON received 122 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release. The Court imposed restitution of $720 for both defendants.

A federal grand jury returned a Criminal Indictment on November 5, 2009. Both defendants pled guilty on March 1, 2010, to one court of conspiring to commit robbery in a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction, two counts of aiding and abetting robbery in a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction, and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. On July 13, 2009, and July 26, 2009, HOLSTON and ROBERTS went onto Fort Bragg into the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks area. They would knock on a barracks’ door, and when a soldier would open the door, the defendants pointed a Hi Point Firearms .380 caliber, Model CF 380, pistol at the soldier, robbing the soldier of personal belongings. Items stolen included cell phones, video game systems, and televisions.

After ROBERTS and HOLSTON were apprehended for an unrelated robbery charge, the investigation led to the discovery of evidence linking them to the Fort Bragg robberies.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the United State Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Fayetteville Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Schneider represented the government.

Obama Chooses Mabus to Lead Gulf Restoration

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

June 15, 2010 - President Barack Obama in an address to the nation tonight announced that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will develop a long-term restoration plan for the Gulf Coast.

Calling the April 20 BP oil spill the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history, Obama said he asked Mabus, the former governor of Mississippi and "a son of the Gulf Coast," to develop a long-term plan to restore the area.

Such a plan, the president said, will "go beyond responding to the crisis of the moment," and will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents.

Obama noted that the region still hasn't recovered from the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which struck the coast five years ago. "The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that's already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats," he said.

"Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it's also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region," he said.

Obama met with servicemembers at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., earlier today during a tour Gulf Coast states. Tonight, he recognized the military in his first nationwide address on the oil spill. He noted that servicemembers are contributing to the clean up effort by skimming oil, laying booms, sandbagging and building barriers, as well as offering their equipment.

The president recognized Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen for leading the clean-up effort that includes nearly 30,000 personnel working across four states, and thousands of ships and other vessels. Obama also urged the Gulf state governors to activate more National Guard troops among more than 17,000 authorized to help.

"These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, they're ready to help clean the beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims -- and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible," he said.

Obama announced Mabus' role as part of a broad effort to continue to clean up, provide long-term restoration to the coast, understand what happened in the spill, hold BP accountable, and reduce America's demand for oil.

"Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced," Obama said. "And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it's not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years."

And, the president added, "The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through -– what has always seen us through –- is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it."

March of Dimes Recognizes Paul Hamilton Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

June 16, 2010 - HONOLULU (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) received the 2010 Top Military Team award from the health charity organization, March of Dimes, June 14.

Led by Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SW) Ernesto Derosas, Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) George Steen and Lt.j.g. Makana Young, a team of more than 40 Sailors from Paul Hamilton raised more than $3,000 to support the March of Dimes March for Babies event.

"March of Dimes raises money through the March for Babies event for research to find the causes of premature birth and birth defects, interventions and treatments," said Carmella Hernandez the state director for the March of Dimes Hawaii chapter. "We also provide money to local programs to help families right in our own communities."

The March of Dimes has been organizing fundraising walks in Hawaii since 2007. This year, the organization raised more that $570,000 in donations in Hawaii alone and $103 million nationwide.

For the March for Babies event the Paul Hamilton team joined more than 1,000 participants as they walked five miles from Kapiolani Park to Ala Moana Park and back.

"It feels really good," said Young. "For everyone to come together and raise a lot of money for this cause, it just feels really good in the end. By the time we got to the walk it was a big accomplishment for us. Being from Hawaii and being a premature baby, myself, this was especially heartfelt for me to be able to participate in this cause. A lot of my friends did not know that. So sharing that bit about me really opened their eyes that there are a lot us out there, and this event is something that makes a difference in peoples' lives."

The cause hit close to home for Steen, as well, when one of his female friends asked him to godfather her daughter who was born premature.

"That's how it got me started on this," said Steen. "I read about it. I've been doing this since 2006. Volunteer is something you do. You want to make sure the Navy is out there in the community and make sure that they have support."

Both Derosas and Steen have participated in several March of Dimes events in past years but this is the first time they have received an award.

Symposium Focuses on Vital Link for Families of Deployed Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ash Severe, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk

June 16, 2010 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The 2010 Symposium for Certified Ombudsman Trainers was held at Founders Inn, Virginia Beach, Va. June 15-17.

The symposium provides information, training and professional development opportunities for those who train ombudsmen throughout the Department of Defense.

"What is the purpose of this training day? Well, every now and then you need to just take the time to sync up all your people," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/SW) Rick D. West. "This training brings everyone together to make sure that all the training they're putting out is the same."

One of the primary jobs of the ombudsman program is to keep family members informed about their deployed loved ones.

"Ombudsmen are the absolute link to the command and the family," said West. "They do so much for our Sailors and our families. They're vital to the mission, and the ombudsmen getting the information out to our families is very important."

The job of a certified trainer is to advise commanders on the effective use of ombudsmen.

"A person will come into the ombudsman program and not be sure of what questions to ask, so certified ombudsman training teaches the ombudsman how to work with their command, how to work with their families and the questions they need to ask of their commands," said Debbie Lucas, director of Fleet & Family Support Center, Kings Bay, Ga.

Patient care top priority during Pacific Angel in Bangladesh

by 1st Lt. Chris Hoyler
Pacific Angel 10-3 Public Affairs

6/16/2010 - JESSORE, Bangladesh (AFNS) -- A total force of military doctors, dentists and optometrists participating in Operation Pacific Angel have provided medical care for more than 1,000 patients over the first three days of medical operations at the Monirampur Regional Training Center here.

Operation Pacific Angel, scheduled here through June 16, is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation conducted in the Pacific area of responsibility to support U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts. This humanitarian and civic assistance program is aimed at improving military civic cooperation between the U.S. and countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Bangladeshi, Indonesian and Nepalese military medics are providing care here alongside medical officials from the Air Force, Army and Navy.

Providing medical care in Bangladesh offers a unique training experience for medics, training that cannot be matched in a simulated environment, said Lt. Col. Paul Conner, the medical mission commander.

"Our providers will see degrees of care they are just not going to see in the U.S.," Colonel Conner said. "Our dentists are going to see levels of tooth decay that you just will not find anywhere in the developed world. Our ophthalmologists are going to see advanced stages of cataracts and other types of ocular problems, ones that we (in the United States) catch early because of nutrition or because of health care, but here there's a large part of the population that lives with those issues every day.

"For our general medicine folks, they'll see things like leprosy, some more exotic jungle diseases like malaria or dengue fever, those types of issues that don't exist anywhere in the first-world outside of a textbook," he added.

Colonel Conner has experience leading the medical mission on a Pacific Angel, as he led the team in Timor Leste during the summer of 2009. While he admitted there were differences in the culture of each nation that changed the way certain operations were carried out, he said the general lessons learned are the same.

"One thing that was very similar is that you learn to work with what you have," he said. "You work out agreements many weeks ahead of time, then you get on the ground and significant components of it change. So, as Airmen, we learn to be flexible; that's what we did in Timor and that's what we are doing here."

The goal of this mission is to see nearly 1,000 patients a day combined for the three general areas of dentistry, optometry and primary care.

This estimate is based on results from previous missions and the number of doctors in each area, said Capt. Teri Smith, a medical mission planner from the 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

"We're establishing a system flow for patients, so hopefully the number of patients will grow each day," Captain Smith said.

Colonel Conner said that since U.S. medics are working side-by-side with their counterparts from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal, the experience provides those nations an opportunity to learn how the U.S. handles certain medical situations, as U.S. medics tend to have a more advanced level of training than many of their counterparts.

That creates a situation where the sides have to come to an agreement on how to handle an issue for which they have separate plans of attack, he said. The lessons the U.S. servicemembers learn are just as important and vital for them to put into practice after the mission is over.

"A key difference when dealing with medical personnel from other nations is culture and scope of practice," Colonel Conner said. "So, for example, we have very set procedures as military medics. Infection control is A, B, C. You never deviate from A, B or C, because that's the way we've been trained. We follow the checklist. It's our version of flight safety -- infection control. We have procedures that we follow. They have different training when it comes to infection control, and it's a good thing for our medics to see how they operate."

Bangladesh air force (BAF) officers are also on site providing translation for U.S. medics during the patient screening and care processes.

Capt. David Belcher, a general care physician with the 3rd Medical Group at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, said the opportunity to work with his BAF counterpart has been as important as any of the medical aspects.

"It's easy to click with these people because they care; they want to get to know you," Captain Belcher said. "We make a great team and having him here is a great benefit to help care for these people; not only for the communication, but because they know what these people have been exposed to. That personalized experience makes the whole visit invaluable for the patient, too."

Medical care will continue here through June 16.

Operation Pacific Angel missions were previously conducted in the Philippines in February and Vietnam in May. The final iteration will take place in Sri Lanka in August.

Special tactics squadron double amputee makes historic jump

by Airman Leah Young
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/16/2010 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- Air Force history was made June 15, when a wounded warrior from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron became the first active-duty double amputee to successfully participate in a personnel drop.

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows, along with 39 of his co-workers, conducted a practice parachute jump from a C-17 Globemaster III, in preparation for a change of command ceremony.

The combat controller lost both legs during a combat reconnaissance patrol in Afghanistan when his convoy hit an improvised explosive device in July 2008.

"It's a huge accomplishment for Shaun to come back from being injured on a mission and to then go up in the air again," said Master Sgt. Angela Fernandez, the 22nd STS first sergeant. "He's doing what he loves."

The practice exercise is the first jump Sergeant Meadows has participated in since his injury.

"Today is significant because we're all very close to Shaun," said Lt. Col. Bryan Cannady, the 22nd STS commander. "It's very much like a brotherhood. We're all glad to be here for him and support him."

Sergeant Meadows will also be participating in the 22nd STS change of command ceremony, which will be his last jump before he separates from the Air Force.

"Shaun's spirit and desire to do this made us believe we could get it done," said Colonel Cannady. "It's an honor, not just for me, but for every guy out there to be doing this today."

Sergeant Meadows' co-workers said he hasn't allowed his injury to hold him back or keep him from doing his job.

"Shaun is the epitome of positive," said Sergeant Fernandez. "He always walks into work with a smile on his face and makes us laugh."

Sergeant Meadows said he's happy to participate in operations again.

"Everything went well today," Sergeant Meadows said. "It felt good to get up there and jump again after two years."

President Obama Speaks to Troops at NAS Pensacola

By Airman Brinn Hefron, Naval Air Station Pensacola Public Affairs

June 16, 2010 - PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- More than 3,000 Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Soldiers attended a speech given by President Barack Obama at Naval Air Station Pensacola June 15. Obama visited the air station as part of his fourth visit to the Gulf Coast in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Obama began his speech by thanking local military leaders, including NAS Pensacola's Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Plummer and Command Master Chief Mike Dollen, along with the governor of Florida and other officials.

"Here in Pensacola, the beautiful beaches are still open," Obama told the service members. "The sand is white and the water is blue. So folks that are looking for a good vacation, they can still come down to Pensacola. People need to know that Pensacola is still open for business."

After speaking to the fact that the American people are being encompassed in an "unprecedented environmental disaster" Obama acknowledge the hard work that the military members continue to do.

"That includes mobilizing the key sources of the greatest military in the world. Here at Naval Air Station Pensacola, you've been one of the major staging areas. You've helped to support the response effort. … And all along the Gulf Coast, our men and women in uniform -- active, guard and Reserve -- from across the country are stepping up and helping out. They're Soldiers on the beaches putting out sandbags, building barriers and cleaning up oil. And helping people process their claims for compensation from BP. They're Sailors and Marines offering their ships and theirs skimmers, their helicopters and miles of boom. They're are Airmen overhead, flying the equipment, and spraying the dispersant. And of course there are Coast Guardsmen and women, on the cutters in the air, working around the clock," Obama said.

He added that service members continuously prove themselves indispensable.

"That spirit of resolve and determination and resilience, that's the same spirit we see in all of you, the men and women in uniform, the spirit we will need to meet other challenges of our time. … Our nation is at war, and all of you have stepped forward. You volunteered. You took an oath. You stood tall and said 'I will serve,'" he said.

Obama also restated his commitment to those who serve the nation in uniform.

"As your commander in chief I want you to know something: I will not hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests. But I will also never risk your lives unless it's absolutely necessary. And if it is necessary, we are going to back you up to the hilt with the strategy, and the clear mission, and the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done right.

"We are poised to end our combat mission in Iraq this summer, on schedule," he said -- with the result of cheering from the troops and their families.

Obama also mentioned that as America pulls its forces out of Iraq, more effort will be put forth in helping the Afghan government and protecting the Afghan people.

Boosting the morale of the uniformed services, Obama said, "As you meet the missions we ask of you, we're going to make sure you're trained and equipped to succeed. That's why we halted reductions in the Navy. That's why we increased the size of the Marine Corps. That's why we're investing in the capabilities and technologies of tomorrow. And as we come up on the 100th anniversary of naval aviation next year, we're committed to the next generation of aircraft. We're going to keep you the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military that the world has ever known."

At the conclusion of the event, Obama came off the stage and entered the crowd to take photos and shake hands with service members in attendance.

Country artists to honor 32nd 'Red Arrow' Soldiers, families at homecoming celebration Saturday

June 16, 2010 - More than 3,200 National Guard Soldiers and their families will gather in Steven's Point Saturday [June 19] for the Back from the Sand celebration which includes performances from Country artists Brittini Black and Wisconsin's-own Brian Stace.

Stace has spent much of his career performing for the troops, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Germany or Italy. But this Saturday he won't have to travel far from his hometown of DeForest to entertain troops from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Stace will be the headline artist at Saturday's festivities.

"I always tell my fans, 'It doesn't matter what you think of our government, you need to support our troops,'" Stace said. Though some of his relatives served in the National Guard, Stace admitted he didn't know much about the military before performing for troops in Iraq. He said he was struck by the harsh conditions they worked in, as well as the limited avenues for entertainment.

"While they're serving our country, the least we can do is entertain them," he said. "I asked myself, 'What could I do to help that a little bit?'" Stace teamed up with Operation Troop Aid to send his country CDs to deployed troops. He has also performed at more than 37 military bases worldwide, entertaining approximately 100,000.

Black, who will also perform at Saturday's celebration, agrees with Stace's sentiments.

"The troops and all of our military men and women are amazing," she said. "There is such a great feeling of appreciation in the air from both sides. They are so thankful for us taking time to perform for them and meet them. And of course we, as entertainers, are so happy to give back to them for being true heroes, risking their lives for all of us. This is our small way of thanking them and telling them how grateful we are for them and what they have done.

"I think they really get kind of amazed that we would take the time to come out and do something for them," Black continued. "I don't know why - after all they do for us, it's the least we can do."

In addition to entertaining deployed service members, Black has performed for wounded warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center as well as military conventions such as the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the National Guard Association. She works with Youth Challenge, a National Guard program for at-risk young adults and is an ambassador for America's Adopt a Soldier, one of Saturday's sponsors.

"I just want people to have fun and welcome their Soldiers home," Black said. "And to never forget that there are always people fighting for us and protecting us."

In addition to the musical acts, the celebration will feature inflatable play equipment for children, and free food for Soldiers and their families.

Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson said that attendees should expect a great day of fun and entertainment.

"Stevens Point is so proud to be the host community for this event, really symbolically representing all communities of Wisconsin," he said. "This is the least that we can do to those that have sacrificed so much for all of us - our Soldiers and their families. We encourage as many folks from throughout the state to come here so these Soldiers and their families can see how much they mean to us."

New Treaty Will Ensure Stability, Flexibility

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2010 - The Defense Department stands firmly behind the new Strategic Arms Control and National Security Treaty, which strengthens strategic stability, enables the United States to modernize its triad of strategic delivery systems and protects its flexibility to deploy important nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities, a senior defense official told Congress yesterday.

The treaty, which President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed April 8 in Prague, is framed to address specific Defense Department issues, Edward Warner, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' representative to the post-START negotiations, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Nothing in the new Strategic Arms Control and National Security Treaty will constrain the United States from developing and deploying the most effective missile defenses possible to protect the homeland, its forces abroad and its partners and allies, he said.

"Protecting our ability to develop and deploy the most effective missile defenses possible was one of the most important U.S. objectives during the treaty negotiations, and we did so," Warner said.

The new START treaty won't limit the United States' ability to pursue its current and planned ballistic missile defense program, he told the committee. The one exception would be a ban on the conversion of launchers for intercontinental ballistic missiles or sea-launched ballistic missiles for use as missile defense interceptor launchers, or vice versa.

The treaty also will allow the United States to develop defenses to protect the U.S. homeland from limited missile attack and its partners and allies from growing regional ballistic missile threats, Warner said.

He assured the committee that the treaty will not impose additional costs or burdens on these missile defense efforts.

In negotiating a new treaty to replace the START treaty that expired in April 2009, the United States also sought to limit and reduce U.S. and Russian strategic offensive arms, Warner said, while at the same time preserving strategic stability that provides predictability and an effective verification system.

The treaty also affords the United States the freedom to deploy, maintain and modernize its forces, he said.

Warner noted the Defense Department's plan to invest more than $100 billion over the next decade to sustain and modernize its strategic nuclear delivery systems. The Energy Department also plans to invest more than $80 billion to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons stockpile and the nuclear weapons complex that supports it, he said.

The administration also was intent on protecting the United States' ability to develop and deploy conventional prompt global strike systems, Warner told the panel. The Defense Department's leadership is confident that provisions in the treaty accommodate those requirements for the treaty's 10-year lifetime, he said.

Warner also expressed support for the verification framework encompassed in the treaty, which provides both parties up to 18 short-notice, on-site inspections each year.

Speaking from a military perspective, Warner called verification "very, very important." He noted that current information becomes increasingly dated with each passing day.

"The insights that are available to us [with verification procedures in place] cannot be overestimated," he said. "We need to get back into the position where we will have those insights available to us."

Budget Request Reflects Pentagon's Reform Agenda

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2010 - The fiscal 2011 defense budget request continues and builds on the reforms of the fiscal 2010 budget, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on defense today.

The proposed base budget request is $549 billion, a 3.4 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The budget request allows real growth of 1.8 percent, reflecting the administration's commitment to modest, steady and sustainable real growth in defense spending, Gates said.

The secretary testified alongside Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The request takes aim at programs that were excessive or performing poorly. These include ending the Navy's EPX intelligence aircraft, the third-generation infrared surveillance program, the next generation CGX cruiser, the net-enabled and controlled command and control program, and the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System. The request completes the C-17 airlifter program and closes the production line.

The request ends the second engine for the F-35 joint strike fighter, "as whatever benefits might accrue are more than offset by excess costs, complexity and associated risks," Gates said.

The secretary was precise in spelling out his opposition to the last two of those programs in particular.

"I will continue to strongly recommend that the president veto any legislation that sustains the continuation of the C-17 or the F-35 extra engine," Gates said. "And given some recent commentary, let me be explicit. It would be a very serious mistake to believe the president would accept these unneeded programs simply because the authorization or appropriations legislation includes other provisions important to him and to this administration."

Gates said the department must maintain budget growth over the next few years, as the nation fights two wars. That said, Gates added, he understands this is a fiscally constrained environment, and wants the department to trim overhead costs and rethink acquisition.

"Last month I called on the Pentagon to take a hard, unsparing look at how the department is staffed, organized and operated," he said. "My goal is to significantly reduce our overhead costs in order to free up the resources needed to sustain our force structure, to modernize and to create future combat capabilities while living within the current top line."

Defense Department leaders are looking to find more than $100 billion in overhead savings over the next five fiscal years, starting in fiscal 2012. "No organization within the department, including my own office, will be excluded from these efforts," Gates said. "All of the savings will be applied to fund personnel and units, force structure and investment in future capabilities."

Gates stressed the budget reflects the department's major priorities. The first of these is strengthening the nation's commitment to care for the all-volunteer force, America's greatest strategic asset, the secretary said. The second priority seeks to rebalance U.S. defense posture by emphasizing both the capabilities needed to prevail in irregular conflicts and the capabilities that likely will be needed in the future.

The third priority is to continue to reform the acquisition process.

The secretary also addressed the pending request for $159 billion in fiscal 2011 to support overseas contingency operations, primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also asked Congress to speed approval of $33 billion needed in fiscal 2010 to fund President Barack Obama's new approach in Afghanistan.

"The commitments made and programs funded in the [overseas contingency operations] and supplemental requests demonstrate this administration's determination to support our troops and commanders at the front so they can accomplish their critical missions and return home safely," Gates said.

"I am becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of progress on the supplemental, and strongly urge Congress to complete its work on the request as quickly as possible," the secretary said. "If the supplemental is not enacted by the July 4 congressional recess, we will have to begin planning to curtail defense operations. Such planning is disruptive and can be costly, especially in time of war, and I ask your help in avoiding this action."

NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic, Public Works Department Maine Focus on Safety

From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs

June 16, 2010 - ELIOT, Maine (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic and PWD Maine held a contractor safety forum June 10 at the Regatta Conference Center in Eliot, Maine to discuss ways in which NAVFAC and its contractor partners can work together for a safer workplace.

NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Libonate welcomed nearly 150 attendees with his opening remarks before the safety managers took the floor to discuss safety trends and lessons learned.

"Safety is more than a program, it's a mindset," said Libonate. "No matter your experience level, you have an obligation to look out for the safety of yourself and others."

Local contractors were also given the opportunity to present expectations for an effective contractor safety program.

Cmdr. Rod Moore, PWD Maine Public Works officer, led the panel in a question and answer session which gave attendees the chance to ask questions about NAVFAC's safety program and priorities.

Contractor safety forums like these bring NAVFAC and its contractor partners in line with NAVFAC's safety policy. The highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of every NAVFAC member and contractor partner, with a goal of achieving a zero mishap workplace. As part of the NAVFAC Total Force, success depends on NAVFAC and its contractor partners' ability to operate safely every single day.

Additional discussions included workload projections, an explanation of the source selection process and tips for small businesses and how they can get started with NAVFAC.

Naval Base San Diego Celebrates Grand Opening of Navy Exchange

By Quartermaster 1st Class (SW/AW) Benita C. Snerling, Naval Base San Diego Public Affairs

June 16, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Base San Diego's (NBSD) Navy Exchange (NEX) held a grand opening ceremony attended by service members, retiree's, civilian employees and family members June 15.

Rear Adm. Steven J. Romano, commander, Navy Exchange Service Command, Capt. Rick L. Williamson, commanding officer, NBSD and retired Rear Adm. Len R. Herring, were the guest speakers at the event. A special appearance was made by Tony Gwynn, former Padres player and baseball hall of fame inductee and his wife, Alicia.

"The Navy Exchange is planning for the future and the increase numbers of personnel arriving in the San Diego area in the next five years," remarked Williamson. "The staff continually takes care of our service members and during this entire process, they never diminished their support and excellent customer service."

The NEX completely renovated the main store and home store over the past two years. The main store renovations started in April 2009 and were completed in April 2010 on time and within budget. The 151,000 square foot facility took a total of 88,000 man-hours to complete with upgraded "green" features to included energy efficient lighting saving an annual $21,000 in costs and low water usage projects reducing water by 240,000 gallons a year. Other upgrades for the fighter and family are a new cross design escalator, a flower shop, optical shop, dry cleaner/laundry and pharmacy. In addition to making the NEX a one stop shopping experience, there is a barber shop and beauty salon for service members and families.

The home store opened for business April 15, 2009, and in its first year of sales earned $24.1 million in retail and services. The 92,000 square foot took an estimated 15,000 man-hours to complete with energy upgrades in lighting and water-saving projects in the garden center. Other amenities added for the service member's ease were Coles Fine Flooring, Armed Forces Bank Branch, Chung's Plaque and Frame Shop and a Morale, Welfare and Recreation Information Tickets and Tours Office.

"We are proud of all the accomplishments that have occurred over the past two years," said Donald Wild III, general manager for NBSD's NEX. "We continually have the Fleet in mind and have future projects such as food court renovations and exterior upgrades next on our list. It is great to take a moment to celebrate a huge milestone."

USS Freedom Departs San Diego for RIMPAC

By Lt. Ed Early, USS Freedom Public Affairs

June 16, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), departed Naval Base San Diego today to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010, the world's largest maritime exercise.

During this year's RIMPAC, the 22nd in the biennial exercise series, Freedom will operate in and around the Hawaiian Islands with air, land, and maritime forces from 13 other nations.

"RIMPAC is a tremendous opportunity to build upon and to refine Freedom's known surface warfare and maritime security capabilities and to break new ground in LCS employment," said Cmdr. Kris Doyle, commanding officer of Freedom's Blue Crew. "We have several 'first-of' events scheduled, ranging from air defense to anti-submarine to fire support exercises. Every day, we will be stretching ourselves to learn more about what LCS brings to the fleet and how we integrate in a multinational environment."

Freedom recently arrived in San Diego at the conclusion of a historic maiden deployment to the U.S. 3rd and 4th Fleet areas of responsibility. During deployment, the ship conducted counter-illicit trafficking (CIT) operations, making four successful seizures that yielded more than five tons of cocaine, two "go fast" drug vessels, and nine suspected smugglers taken into custody. In addition to independent operations, Freedom successfully integrated with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group for a re-fueling at sea, high-speed operations, surface gunnery events, and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure evolutions. The ship also completed three theater security cooperation port visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Panama City, Panama; and Manzanillo, Mexico.

The first ship of the revolutionary LCS program, Freedom is a fast, agile, and maneuverable ship designed to compliment the Navy's larger multi-mission surface combatants in select mission areas, including combating submarines, mines, and fast-attack craft threats in the littorals.

Embarked aboard Freedom for RIMPAC are Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 2, based in Norfolk, Va., and the first tailored LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package (SUW MP), based in San Diego.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 16, 2010

NAVY

The Northrop Grumman Corp., is being awarded Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) contract (N00030-10-C-002), in the amount of $148,620,000 to provide to the United States and United Kingdom advanced launcher development program requirements for the fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011. Specific efforts include technical engineering services to support the common missile compartment concept development and prototyping effort. The place of performance for this effort will be Sunnyvale, Calif. This is a cost-plus-fixed-fee award based on a sole-source acquisition. The period of performance for this effort is June 16, 2010 through June 15, 2011 (base period) and June 16, 2011 through June 15, 2012 (option). The Navy Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) in Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity(N00030-10-C-0024).

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $546,001,600 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the manufacture and delivery of lot seven UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters for the Marine Corps, to include 18 UH-1Y build new aircraft; nine AH-1Z remanufactured aircraft; and two AH-1Z build new aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent), and Amarillo, Texas (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-C-0035).

Argon ST, Inc., Ventura, Calif., is being awarded a $44,382,322 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of 7,050 antennas and antenna assemblies, including associated engineering, technical and repair support services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division's Airborne Threat Simulation Organization. These antennas are integrated with other countermeasures or emitter modules to complete required system configurations used to evaluate U.S. weapons systems and train fleet operations. The antennas can also be installed as a part of systems mounted in and on unmanned aerial targets or ground based systems for live fire developmental testing and operational testing of weapon systems. Work will be performed in Ventura, Calif., and is expected to be completed in June 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0042).

Vista Research, Inc.*, Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $24,914,029 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development of advanced land radar processor sensor payloads that support persistent ground surveillance with mobile systems, aerostats, and remote deployed expendable systems for the Army. Work will be performed in Wheeling, W.Va. (60 percent); Arlington, Va. (20 percent); and Chatsworth, Calif. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Broad Agency Announcement, and 41 offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-10-C-0246).

BAE Systems, Land & Armaments L.P., U.S. Combat Systems, Minneapolis, Minn., is being awarded a $16,120,500 not-to-exceed firm-fixed-price contract for the fiscal 2010 production requirements for MK-14 MOD 2 canisters to support integration of the TOMAHAWK cruise missile into the MK 41 vertical launching system. Work will be performed in Aberdeen, S.D. (79 percent), Odessa, Mo. (11 percent), and Minneapolis, Minn. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-5349).

FED-CON A JV*,Marysville, Calif., is being awarded a $14,655,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction to replace 30 family housing units at North Tipalao, Phase III, U.S. Naval Base Guam. Work will be performed in Santa Rita, Guam, and is expected to be completed by October 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the NAVFAC E-Solicitation Web site with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Marianas, Guam, is the contracting activity (N40192-10-C-1303).

Chesapeake Sciences Corp., Millersville, Md., is being awarded a $9,456,813.00 firm-fixed-price modification to contract (N00024-07-C-6223) to exercise an option to procure 10 additional TB-34 towed bodies, associated interface hardware, and to incorporate the TB-34 low frequency phase engineering change proposal. Work will be performed in Millersville, Md., (65 percent) and Syracuse, N.Y., (35 percent). Work is expected to be complete by January 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-07-C-6223).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., is being awarded an $8,423,277 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-07-D-0004) to exercise an option for the fiscal 2010 VH-3D executive helicopter special progressive aircraft rework induction. Work will be performed in Stratford, Conn., and is expected to be completed in August 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $8,423,277 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-07-D-0004).

ARMY

BAE Systems, Ordance Systems Inc., Kingsport, Tenn., was awarded on June 14 a $29,599,735 firm-fixed-price contract for the production and supply of 2,924,875 pounds of Composition B, Grade A explosives to support the mortar program. Work is to be performed in Kingsport, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W5291J-09-D-0003).

Phylway Construction LLC., Thibodaux, La., was awarded on June 14 a $26,541,332 firm-fixed-price contract. The work consists of clearing and grubbing, degrading existing levee; placement of compacted fill; installation of geotextile; fertilizing; seeding and mulching; maintenance of access roads; windowing for erosion control; construction of reinforced concrete floodwalls; levee tie-in construction; painting; concrete scour protection; driving steel sheet piling; steel h-piles; structural excavation and backfill; temporary flood protection; and other incidental work thereto. Work will be performed at the Westwego to Harvey Canal, Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, New Westwego Pump Station to Orleans Village Phase 2, First Lift Levee and Floodwalls at Westminster Pumping Station, Jefferson Parish, La. Work is to be performed in Jefferson Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 27, 2011. Eleven bids were solicited with five bids received. US Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-09-D-0046).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on June 15 a $24,348,241 requirement/firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of 439 palletized load systems trailers. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

Federal Program Integrator FPI, Indian Island, Maine, was awarded on June 15 an $18,806,074 firm-fixed-price contract. This work is for the renovation and repair on three permanent party dormitories at Lackland Air Force Base. The work will take place on building 1400, 1405 and 1410 fixing mold remediation and plumbing with including a kitchenette for the building and increasing habitability. Work is to be performed in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Mar. 20, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. US Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0038).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Virtual Imaging Inc., Deerfield, Fla., is being awarded a maximum $15,000,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for radiology systems, subsystems and components. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with 43 responses. The date of performance completion is June 18, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM2D1-09-D-8343/V797P-6027b).

Arms Reduction Treaty Would Make U.S. Safer, Officials Say

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2010 - The leaders of U.S. Strategic Command and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency told a Senate committee today that they were closely involved in developing the new Strategic Arms Control and National Security Treaty, and that they believe it will make the United States and its allies safer.

"I was fully consulted in the negotiation process, and I fully support [the treaty]," Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, Stratcom commander, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing on the new START treaty.

Three ways the treaty will make the United States safer if it's ratified, Chilton said, is by limiting the number of Russian warheads and vehicles that can target the United States, allowing sufficient flexibility for the United States to retain and use its arsenal, and re-establishing verification and transparency of weapons that ended when the previous treaty expired in April 2009.

"What we want is transparency and insight to know that either side is complying with the treaty," Chilton said. "I would worry about any ability for Russia to make strategically significant changes [to its arsenal] that we don't detect and couldn't respond to."

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty in Prague on April 8. Since then, Defense Department leaders have spoken out in support of it on Capitol Hill where some lawmakers have voiced concern that it will weaken U.S. defenses or allow Russia an arms advantage.

Chilton, along with James N. Miller Jr., principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O'Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency, tried to allay those concerns in today's testimony.

"This treaty does not constrain any current [U.S.] missile defense plans," Chilton said. "America's nuclear arsenal remains a vital pillar of U.S. national security."

Asked whether the treaty undermines security by not allowing the United States to convert offensive missile launchers to defensive launchers, O'Reilly said he "wouldn't do that anyway," because it is not prudent or operationally effective.

"I do not see any limitation on my ability to develop missile defenses," O'Reilly said. "The options that are prohibited are not ones I would choose or any other director would choose, because it would make us less effective. I see no limitations to us for the plans we are pursuing."

The treaty's limits of 1,550 warheads will allow the United States to sustain effective nuclear deterrence, including a second strike capability. Its limit of 700 deployed intercontinental and submarine-launch ballistic missiles and heavy bombers will allow the United States to retain a robust triad.

Also, by providing the freedom to mix strategic forces, the treaty allows for the rebalancing of weapons over time.

"The United States can and will continue to expand and improve missile defenses," Miller said. The department is studying the appropriate mix of long-range strike capabilities and will include its conclusions in the fiscal 2012 budget request, he said. Any deployment of ballistic missiles should be limited to niche capabilities, he added.

"The new START treaty does not in any way constrain the U.S. from deploying the most effective nuclear defenses possible," Miller said. "It allows for the defense of the nation, as well as our forces and allies abroad."

Chilton said the U.S. nuclear arsenal today "is safe, secure and effective," but also is in need of maintenance. The Defense Department plans to invest $100 billion over the next decade to sustain and modernize its strategic nuclear delivery systems, while the Energy Department plans to invest $80 billion to sustain and modernize the nuclear stockpile and weapons complex, he said.

"These investments are not only important, they are essential in my view," Chilton said.

Gates Describes Frustrations in Changing Processes

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2010 - Changing some processes in the Defense Department has required his personal attention, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today, but he added that he believes those changes are on their way to becoming part of how the Pentagon works.

The secretary told the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee that one frustration with his job has been that the Defense Department "is organized and structured to plan for war, but not wage war."

Gates has personally intervened to focus the department's attention on programs that benefit today's warfighters, such as mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles; more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets; and more processes and technologies to counter roadside bombs.

The secretary told the senators he has had to form ad hoc task forces to confront these problems, "where I chair them and essentially have all of the senior players, both uniformed and civilian, at the table and to be able to force the kind of rapid action that has been necessary to support those in the field."

Now, he added, that mindset is changing.

"In several of these areas, I think that the work has reached a point where I think I can begin to take actions to begin to return these efforts to ... where they would traditionally have a bureaucratic home," he said.

But for the long term, the secretary said, this remains a serious issue in the Defense Department.

"One [problem] that I have not yet found the answer to [is] to get urgent action in an area supporting men and women in combat today that ranges across the entirety of the department, both uniformed and civilian and all the different defense agencies," he said.

Balancing the capabilities needed to confront the threats of today versus future dangers is another aspect Gates said he must confront.

"If you took a broad look at our budget, about 50 percent of our procurement budget is for what I would call long-term modernization programs to deal with near-peer countries," he said. "About 40 percent is dual-purpose, like C-17s and other things we will use no matter what kind of conflict we're in, and about 10 percent has actually been for irregular or the kind of asymmetric warfare we've been talking about."

Family Liaison Duty Changes Airman's Life

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chyenne A. Adams
11th Wing

June 16, 2010 - When an airman is seriously injured, multiple agencies are ready to provide help. But if the servicemember is unable to actively engage those resources, the Air Force assigns a family liaison officer to help the family deal with the emotional and physical turmoil.

Master Sgt. Robert D. Greenberg, an Air Force Honor Guard member here, recently served as the family liaison officer for Senior Airman Michael Malarsie's family. Malarsie was injured Jan. 3 in a roadside-bomb attack on his unit near Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he was one of a two-man tactical air control party embedded with an Army infantry company.

Greenberg had no idea the day the call went out for family liaison officer volunteers that his life would be forever changed.

"The day I received the call from Walter Reed Army Medical Center informing me that an injured airman had arrived the night prior, I changed into my blues, went to receive training and went straight to the hospital to meet the family," he said. "For the next six weeks, I was there every day, Monday through Sunday, for eight, nine, maybe 10 hours. I ate lunch with the family -- dinner sometimes, too."

When he first arrived at the hospital, Greenberg said, he was told the injured airman had arrived the night before from Landstuhl, Germany, and "had already lost one eye, probably was going to lose his other, had severe shrapnel wounds all over his body and a very swollen face."

Greenberg said he entered the room, introduced himself and said, "I'm here for whatever you need."

That moment marked the start of his relationship with Michael Malarsie and his family.

"It took a few days for them to really warm up to me being there and ask me for help," Greenberg said. "After all they'd been through; they didn't know me or what I could do for them. So, I just made a point of being there. Once they realized that, things started happening naturally."

Greenberg assisted the family with issues ranging from financial allowances to powers of attorney, travel logistics and emotional support. He said the first couple of days were rough, as he worked through issues with the hospital, nursing staff, media and more. The family liaison officer is there to be a single point of contact for anything and everything -- the "go-to person" for issues large and small, he said.

The volume of visitors was tremendous, he said, and included representatives from the Veterans Affairs Department and the Blinded Veterans Association; members of Congress, tactical air control party members; 4th Infantry Division soldiers from Fort Carson, Colo.; and the Air Force chief of staff and the chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

The widow and baby daughter of Malarsie's tactical air control party partner who was killed in the attack also visited, Greenberg added.

As the family liaison officer, Greenberg was responsible for daily updates to the injured airman's chain of command, ranging from the squadron commander to senior Air Force officials. He said he reported on the "dozens of surgeries" the airman endured to repair his eyelid, remove shrapnel from his body and address a multitude of other medical issues.

Throughout each of these surgeries, Greenberg said, he waited anxiously alongside the family for the results.

Throughout the days and nights spent at Walter Reed, Greenberg said he forged a special bond with Malarsie's family, including his sisters and his parents, Jim and Roxanne Malarsie.

"To Mike's credit, he is extremely strong," Greenberg said. "He stayed upbeat, positive, and never once blamed anybody for what happened. And his family was there the entire time with the same attitude, just thankful to have their son alive and thankful for what the military was doing to take care of him."

When it was time for the injured airman to be released from the hospital for continued rehabilitative therapy at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center, a special VA center for blind veterans in Palo Alto, Calif., Greenberg helped the family with logistics and contacted their new family liaison officer in California to ensure a good hand-off of pertinent information.

"It's good for Mike to be able to move on with his life and go to a place where he can learn to cope with his loss of sight, a sense we all take for granted," Greenberg said. "Mike's dad, Jim, and I had gotten pretty close. I consider him a lifelong friend, and he thanked me for everything.

"At that point, you're a part of it and you want to know they're OK and feel like you're doing something to help," he continued. "Seeing these wounded veterans like Mike at Walter Reed really sheds light on why you're in the military," he said. "It reminds you why you raised your hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America ... with your life."

Greenberg said the experience has had a long-term effect on his own life, and he has pledged to stay abreast of the injured airman's status through daily blog checks about Michael and weekly phone calls with Jim Malarsie.

"My relationship with Jim even impacted my decision to retire and spend more time with my son," Greenberg said. "I would not give up my years in the Air Force for anything. I've lived my career in keeping with the core values, most specifically service before self, so much so that my family often came second."

Greenberg said the gravity of the situation hit home with him when Jim Malarsie confessed that his only regret was that he didn't have more time with his son before Michael left for the military.

"The next time my 8-year-old son says he'd really like me to be at that Cub Scout meeting, I want to be there," Greenberg said. "But I'll be there knowing I've done my time serving my country, humbly serving a true hero like Michael, and hopefully that'll be something to make my son proud."

When Greenberg settled on his June 25 retirement date, his first phone call was to Jim Malarsie to ask if he would be willing to fly back to Washington, D.C., for the ceremony, and he received disappointing, yet heartwarming news.

"Michael is engaged to be married the same weekend," he said he was told. "So the Malarsies won't be able to make it, and instead we talked about a visit soon."

Greenberg said he was not the least bit upset by this news.

National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of June 15, 2010

This week the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Navy announced an increase. The net collective result is 1,847 fewer reservists activated than last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 92,730; Navy Reserve, 6,261; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 17,309; Marine Corps Reserve, 6,125; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 822. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 123,247, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found on line at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100615ngr.pdf