Military News

Friday, June 18, 2010

Scott agencies join to test new airframe

by Bekah Clark
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

6/18/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- More than 20 Airmen from Scott Air Force Base continued production qualification testing on the C-27J Spartan here June 8 and 9.

The C-27J was originally an Army development program until April 2009 when Defense Secretary Robert Gates shifted the program to the Air Force. As such, Air Force-specific procedures for how to operate the aircraft must be created, which is where these tests came in.

The C-27J boasts shorter landing and takeoff capabilities which allows the airframe to fly into austere areas that do not have the necessary infrastructure to handle the Air Force's larger aircraft. The airframe will significantly enhance the Air Force's capabilities to evacuate wounded servicemembers out of dangerous environments.

It was these aeromedical evacuation capabilities that were tested at Scott AFB last week - namely the capability to quickly and safely evacuate ambulatory and littered patients in the event of an emergency.

During the tests, aeromedical evacuation members performed timed evacuations of all patients and aircrew through all doors, including one of the emergency escape hatches on the top of the airframe.

The tests were a precursor to the Multi-Service Operational Test and Evaluation which will take place later this summer. The MOT&E determines the capabilities of the airframe in an operational environment.

"We gathered data so aeromedical evacuation training regulations and operating instructions for the aircraft can be written," said Master Sgt. Michael Baker, a test director from the Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Once the results of the observation have been recorded, "those publications will be standardized for use by aeromedical evacuation crews Air Force wide, when they evacuate patients on the C-27J," he said.

An electromagnetic interference evaluation of the aeromedical evacuation equipment was also performed to ensure its operation does not interfere with any aircraft equipment, said John Rehkop, a member of the AMC Test and Evaluation office.

"At the conclusion of this effort, the Army will determine if the system is airworthy in preparation for the MOT&E," he said.

During the MOT&E, operational aeromedical evacuation aircrew will configure the aircraft for an aeromedical evacuation mission and fly it in an operationally realistic environment.

Though this testing went late into the night June 8, the long day was well worth it, said Capt. John Camacho, a 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse instructor and test participant.

"It was a lot of work, but at the end of the day, it's an important effort to help make sure that our wounded warriors get the help they need when they need it and bring them back home," he said.

This is the second time Scott AFB members have assisted in tests for the C-27J.

In late February, aeromedical evacuation technicians went through several patient-carrying configurations on the aircraft to optimize patient-carrying capabilities.

Four configurations of passenger seating and litters were developed as a result of these tests.

The airframe's shorter landing and takeoff capabilities will also enable supplies to be delivered closer to their destination point, saving lives of warfighters by reducing the need for ground convoys in dangerous areas.

Water survival course moves from Florida to Fairchild

by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

6/18/2010 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) -- In response to the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Air Force water survival courses have temporarily relocated to Fairchild Air Force Base.

Training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., was suspended indefinitely June 4 when oil was discovered inside the training area used by Detachment 2 of the 66th Training Squadron.

The instructors at Det. 2 teach students how to survive in cases where the aircrew has to abandon their aircraft over water. The course covers a variety of open-water scenarios, from how to land in water with a parachute, to surviving the elements and procuring food. Up to 55 students a week attend the three-day course, held 48 weeks out of the year, said Lt. Col. Christopher Tacheny, the 66th TRS commander.

"Relocating portions of our survival course to Fairchild is a short-term solution," Colonel Tacheny said. "The Air Force is committed to continue this training. What we've had to do is modify what we can teach with our facilities here at Fairchild. It's the very definition of adapt and overcome."

In some cases, the instructors have used an academic solution, teaching what they can in classrooms so aircrew members have at least some familiarity with possible open water contingencies. Those Airmen are expected to fulfill the remaining training requirements at a later date at a location to be determined, Colonel Tacheny said.

"There's simply no replacement for exposure to the practical experience," he added.

According to the colonel, one of the biggest successes in the effort was how quickly his team was able to divert students from one location and immediately begin training in another. Training in Pensacola Bay was suspended on a Friday and by Monday morning, students were already in place and ready for the course, Colonel Tacheny said.

Tech. Sgt. Toby Stolz, the NCO in charge of the water training flight, has been tasked with creating the alternative solutions for the inbound students.

"We've got a lot of creative Airmen who are coming up with answers to the challenges we face," Sergeant Stolz said. "We're actively brainstorming to find cost-efficient ways to accomplish our mission."

Sergeant Stolz's team has been able to replicate many of the training tools the Pensacola team uses, such as disentanglement rings for getting out from under a tangled parachute to harnesses aircrew students wear while hanging above the pool.

There are still challenges for the instructors, however.

"We don't have the resources or training areas to conduct parasail operations that simulate an over-water parachute deployment like we do in the gulf region," Colonel Tacheny said. "Also, we still haven't found a way to perform the drag exercise, which simulates an aircrew member being dragged by a parachute should it inflate with surface winds once they land in the water."

Under the command of Capt. Mike Erdley, Det. 2 possesses the largest naval fleet in the Air Force. The Pensacola facility is actually the fourth location the 66th TRS has used. Previously, water survival was taught off the coast of Tyndall AFB on the Florida panhandle, and at Homestead Air Reserve Base, 30 miles south of Miami.

Because of long winters and frozen lakes, the Pacific Northwest is not a viable option for open-water training for several months of the year, Captain Erdley said.

"There's a reason why we do the majority of water survival training in the Gulf of Mexico," the captain said.

Because of the situation in the gulf, however, it's unclear how long training operations there will be suspended.

Colonel Tacheny said efforts are under way to find a permanent location, should Det. 2 have to relocate.

"Our leadership is fully aware of the situation," Colonel Tacheny said. "Right now my focus is to continue to provide the best training we can, given the limitations we have here. It wouldn't be possible without the support we've gotten from the outdoor recreation manager, Damian Smith. He's balanced our increased training schedule with normal pool hours, so we appreciate his efforts."

Overcoming those limitations has been challenging, but "water survival instructors have an admirable passion for what they do," Colonel Tacheny said.

"Our instructors aren't satisfied until they know for certain that an aircrew member is ready to operate and endure in every environment imaginable," the colonel said. "We want every student who sets foot on our campus to have the skills they need to survive so they may, like our motto says, return with honor."

NBK Bremerton Breaking Ground for Child Development Center

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Dagendesh, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Northwest

June 18, 2010 - BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bremerton hosted a groundbreaking ceremony signifying the beginning of construction for a Child Development Center (CDC), June 17.

The CDC will accommodate 63 children and 13 staff and include one infant room, two pre-toddler rooms, one toddler room, a kitchen and training office space for staff and also three age-appropriate structured play areas.

Guest speakers included NBK Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Olson, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest Executive Officer Cmdr. Glenn Schephard, President of Advanced Technology Construction Tony Sieger, and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Intermediate Maintenance Facility Commander Capt. Mark Whitney.

More than 50 service members and Department of Defense employees attended the ceremony.

"I wanted to thank all of those who had a hand in putting this together and making it happen in record time," said Olson. "I applaud you for your efforts, your vision, tenacity and your effectiveness."

According to Sieger, the CDC project allows his crew to give back to the men and women who serve and defend their country.

"We are honored to be able to assist them in the improvement of their family's lives…to create a safe and pleasant environment for their children to function in and enjoy. As our military are away from home and serving in other parts of the world, I'm certain that it is comforting for them to know their children are being protected," said Sieger.

Senator Patty Murray congratulated Navy Region Northwest, NBK and the community of Bremerton on the groundbreaking of the CDC.

"Through the advocacy of civilian and military employees and their families under the guidance of Navy leadership, this partnership worked tirelessly and quickly in order to contribute this much needed child development center in support of the women and men who serve our country," said Murray.

The construction delivery date is scheduled for Dec. 16.

EODMU 5 Maintains Mission Readiness

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

June 18, 2010 - SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 technicians underwent chemical response certification June 14 on U.S. Naval Base Guam to ensure readiness for deployment.

The eight-Sailor team consisted of members of Platoon 512, one of three EODMU 5 detachments that keep the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility safe and accessible by countering mines and other potentially hazardous explosive devices.

"The certification process ensures that everyone going out on deployment has the knowledge and the skills necessary to defeat whatever threat we may come up against in a mission," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class (EWS) Kyle Dewey, of EODMU 5, who evaluated the team. "Each of the deploying teams gets certified regularly, but training on these types of evolutions goes on constantly to make sure everyone knows their part in the process of neutralizing an explosive and ensuring safety, both for themselves and the people in the surrounding area."

The team tested its skills and knowledge of chemical response procedures. During the evolution, Platoon 512 responded to a possible chemical bomb threat. The team made the initial assessment of the area, determined the contaminated zone, neutralized the chemicals on the explosive, and prepped it for transportation to a facility where it could be appropriately disposed.

Throughout the evolution, platoon members also had to use safety gear and safety procedures to ensure chemical agents were properly handled within the contaminated area.

According to Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EWS/SW/AW) Mark Morgan, of Platoon 512, training and certification evolutions are based on real-life scenarios.

"As a chief, it's my job to ensure that we're working as one unit when we're responding to a threat," Morgan said. "That's why getting certified is so important because it means we all know what our specific roles are from beginning to end. In a real-life mission, there's not a lot of wiggle room for doubt or hesitation. Each member of the team needs to know what they're doing in whatever situation we're in."

Navy EOD units have contributed significantly to joint and coalition forces' efforts in Iraq. Many members of these units have already completed at least one deployment to the region and expect to return for follow-on tours.

"Prior to teams going on deployment, they'll be certified in various mission-related requirements," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class (EWS) Bryan Bates, of EODMU 5, who also evaluated the team.

EOD experts disarm mines, booby traps and other improvised explosive devices. They can also tackle the challenges of chemical, radiological and biological threats. Training is paramount for all EOD professionals.

Navy EOD is the world's premier combat forces for countering improvised explosive devices, weapons of mass destruction, and other types of ordnance. Navy EOD technicians and divers are frequently first responders, enabling access for further combat operations.

Line officers face revised reclassification procedures

Daniel P. Elkins
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

June 18, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – To better manage the force and address the needs of critical and stressed career fields, Air Force officials have revised procedures for line officers eliminated from initial skills training.

Line officers eliminated from training are now being considered by a panel at the Air Force Personnel Center for reclassification into other specialties or discharge based on the needs of the Air Force and the individual’s qualifications to train in another career field. The new procedures apply only to officers eliminated from initial skills training, or IST, whether self-initiated through declination or the inability to complete training.

Opportunities for reclassification may not be available due to over manning in other career fields. Therefore, IST elimination panels were established to retain the most qualified officers with skills to fill critical or undermanned Air Force specialties. For officers who do not complete or self-eliminate from IST, training wings submit a reclassification package that includes a commander’s recommendation and the officer’s input for review by a five-member panel at AFPC. The IST panel uses the whole person concept to determine if an officer should be reclassified. To date, four panels have considered 88 reclassification packages and have reclassified 60 officers.

Factors considered by the IST panel in its reclassification decision include an officer’s potential to complete future training for career field qualification; potential to develop and contribute in their career field; any special abilities or skills in high demand languages benefitting the career field or broader Air Force needs; academic degree emphasis; demonstrated “officership” and commitment to the Air Force; and investment already made by the Air Force.

“The final determination will be based on the career field needs of the Air Force and the officer’s ability to meet those needs,” said Col. Bill Foote, the director of personnel service at AFPC. “For example, if an officer is eliminated from undergraduate pilot training and has an engineering degree, a logical placement is in one of the engineering career fields where we historically have openings.”

Decisions by the panel also take into consideration recoupment of education assistance received when officers separate before completing the period of active duty they agreed to serve. Recoupment applies to service academy graduates as well as those who received Air Force ROTC scholarships.

“Officers who don’t complete their active duty service commitment may be subject to recoupment of education expenses,” Colonel Foote said. “As a general rule and out of fiscal responsibility, the Air Force seeks to recover the cost of educating Airmen who do not complete their service commitments.”

For more information visit the AFPC personnel services website at https://gum.afpc.randolph.af.mil or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

CONTRACTS June 18, 2010

NAVY

Philadelphia Gear Corp., King of Prussia, Pa., is being awarded an $80,240,784 firm-fixed-price contract for main reduction gears for DDG 51 (Arleigh Burke) Class Guided Missile Destroyers. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $425,955,513. Work will be performed in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (79.2 percent); Kansas City, Mo. (7.2 percent); St. Augustine, Fla. (3.6 percent); Westminster, Mass. (3.2 percent); Middlesex, England, U.K. (2.2 percent); Latrobe, Pa. (2.1 percent); Pewaukee, Wis. (1.4 percent); and Erie, Pa. (1.1 percent), and is expected to be completed by July 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under full and open competition via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site and two offers were received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-2310).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $43,800,000 not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-02-C-3002) for the development, integration, verification, and validation of verification simulator capabilities for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in October 2014. 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 (N00019-02-C-3002).

Blueridge General, Inc., Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $33,655,729 firm-fixed-price contract for construction to replace roof and repair exterior of medical administrative building three at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2013. Funds are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-C-3002).

Watts Constructors, LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded firm-fixed-price task order #0002 at $11,178,000 under a multiple award construction contract for critical mechanical/electrical repairs to building 352 at Makalapa, Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Work will be performed in Oahu, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by October 2011. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62478-08-D-4013).

HDR Engineering, Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect-engineer services contract with a maximum amount of $7,500,000 for the preparation of plans and specifications for civil/environmental projects in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific area of responsibility (AOR). No task orders are being issued at this time. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Pacific AOR including, but not limited to Guam (30 percent); Hawaii (20 percent); West Coast (Calif., Nev., and Wash. 20 percent); and other areas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (30 percent). The term of contract is not to exceed 36 months, with an expected completion date of June 2013. 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, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62742-10-D-0009).

General Dynamics Information Technology is being awarded a $7,499,757.00 Task Order M6785402A9014-0047. The scope of this effort is to provide general engineering and scientific support to the Marine Corps Systems Command; Operational Forces Systems; Product Group 09; Program Manager Ground Combat Systems for item unique identification (IUID) marking of Mission Essential phase I; Marine Corps IUID Legacy Phase 2 and/or other legacy equipment; assemblies/subassemblies identified by Headquarters Marine Corps or as directed, i.e., controlled principle end items; and other serially managed items not covered under the primary effort. Principal activities include management support, IUID planning, capture of equipment pedigree data with the major emphasis on engineering analysis to identify secondary repairables, and subassemblies for the implementation of IUID marking, and data quality control and temp data storage management. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds will expire Sept. 30, 2010. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M6785402A9014-0047).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Exide Technologies, Alpharetta, Ga., is being awarded a maximum $48,735,775 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for wet-charged, lead acid storage batteries. Other location of performance is Manchester, Iowa. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. There were originally four proposals solicited with one response. This contract is for a two-year base with three option years. The date of performance completion is July 9, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC), Columbus, Ohio, is the contracting activity (SPM7LX-10-D-7121).

AIR FORCE

Lockheed Martin Corp., of Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $7,004,657 contract modification for C-5 Avionics Modernization program lot VIII components. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 716 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-98-C-0006, P00237).

Wyle Laboratories of Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $24,801,569 contract which will research test, develop, and deliver integrated master schedules; mishap risk assessment reports; systems safety program plans; system safety hazard analysis reports; corrosion prevention and control plans; basic reliability models; technical report/study services; test procedures/reports; and product drawings/models and associated list. At this time, $7,936 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005, Delivery Order 0138).

Wyle Laboratories of Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $24,495,032 contract modification which will apply reliability, maintainability, quality, supportability and interoperability best practices to execute various commander, Naval Air Forces, Naval Air Systems Command and the Joint Services Wiring Action Group projects and programs relating to electrical systems on and off aircraft. At this time, $158,730 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005, Delivery Order 0149).

USNS Mercy Delivers Recovered Artifacts to Cambodia

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Gaines, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

June 18, 2010 - SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), on behalf of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, returned treasured cultural artifacts while visiting Cambodia June 17 during Pacific Partnership 2010.

"As a Cambodian, I was very happy to learn of the return of these artifacts. On behalf of the Cambodian people, I would like to thank the U.S. government for their commitment to the Cambodian people," said Khim Sarith, Cambodian Ministry of Culture director. "On behalf of the Ministry of Culture, this is indeed a great contribution to Cambodian culture."

The governor of Ratankiri, Sbong Sarath, five Buddhist monks and a crowd of approximately 60 people gathered on the pier to watch the return of the relics of their heritage. As they were unpackaged from their shipping crates, the monks blessed the artifacts, as well as all those who helped to ensure their safe return.

Pacific Partnership 2010 Mission Commander, Capt. Lisa M. Franchetti, and Sarith later signed a document signifying the transfer of the custody of the antiquities from the United States to Cambodia. Following the ceremony, the artifacts were taken to the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

The artifacts include several pieces smuggled from Angkor Wat, a Buddhist temple located 200 miles from the capital city of Phnom Penh. The pieces include stone sculptures with ornate carvings of lions, dragons and human figures. The artifacts are believed to be from the Angkor Period, which spanned from 802 until 1431 A.D.

They were seized during Operation Antiquity, an ICE antiquities recovery operation, in 2008. Conducting undercover meetings, ICE was able to identify and prosecute members of a trafficking organization exporting illegally obtained cultural antiquities from Cambodia, which were routed through Thailand and into the United States. The criminal organization is responsible for a 20-year span of trafficking Cambodian and Thai antiquities. The items were smuggled into Thailand and eventually shipped to their final destination in the United States.

"The most rewarding part of today's experience for me was witnessing how much the Cambodian nationals really respect and appreciate these items," said Mercy's First Officer Matthew Bush, one of Mercy's 65 civil service mariners who work for the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. "For us to return the artifacts to their rightful owners is a token of goodwill, which truly fulfills the goal of this mission."

In the spirit of building and maintaining partnerships in the Pacific region, Mercy was selected to transport and return the artifacts to the royal government of Cambodia. Taking advantage of this opportunity to return the artifacts was an example of successful coordination between the Navy, ICE and the State Department and coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the United States and Cambodia.

Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors aimed at strengthening regional partnerships among U.S. government organizations, host nations, partner nations and international humanitarian and relief organizations.

Deployed for Father's Day: Five Perspectives

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 18, 2010 - As Americans celebrate Father's Day this weekend, thousands of military fathers will be deployed thousands of miles from their families.

Five servicemembers shared their Father's Day memories and personal perspectives about what it means to be a military father serving in wartime. Here are their stories.

Army Staff Sgt. Scott Williams

Growing up in Iowa, Army Staff Sgt. Scott Williams always associated Father's Day with his father's "famous marinated family steak."

Now with three boys of his own, Williams typically starts Father's Day with a run to the local grocery store for eggs and bacon while his sons, Michael, Christian and Gavin, devour donuts.

"Then I'm pretty simple in that I really just enjoy having my boys around, watching them play video games, laughing and enjoying themselves," he said. "It's just nice to see them happy."

This year, Williams will be watching his sons via Skype from Camp Buehring, Kuwait. A member of the Army Reserve's 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, he and his fellow soldiers are awaiting flights into Balad Air Base, Iraq, to begin their deployment mission.

This will be William's first time being deployed during Father's Day, and he expects it to be a bit emotional. "I'll be thinking of my boys a lot on that day," he said. "They're great kids."

Military life isn't easy on children, said Williams, who served on active duty before joining the Reserves and has moved his family several times as well as deploying. His oldest son, Michael, now 17, attended five or six different schools during one three-year period as the family moved between posts.

"That's hard on any kid, but couple that with the fact his dad is gone some of the year on training events or in Iraq, and it all gets magnified," Williams said.

If there's one lesson he hopes he extends to his sons, he said he hopes it's "to be generally good people and to remember family first." He also hopes they'll believe in something that makes them proud and happy – as their father believes in the Army "and everything wearing the uniform stands for."

In addition to calling his sons as well as his own father and father-in-law this Father's Day, Williams said he's looking forward to a hearty Father's Day meal in Kuwait. "No matter what they have in the chow hall for dinner, I'll pretend it's my dad's family steak," he said.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Flynn

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Flynn learned his most valuable life lessons about honesty and hard work from his father, Raymond Flynn.

So typically his Father's Day observances center on his own father as well as his father-in-law, and now that he's become a father himself, his 4- and 6-year-old children.

"It's a family day, and I'm so thankful to have my father and be able to spend time with him, as well as my wife's father and my own family," he said.

A Navy Reservist deployed to Cuba with Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Flynn won't be spending this Father's Day bopping around the Boston area to visit with family.

He's counting on a special meal at the dining facility, phone calls home and special activities being planned at the morale, welfare and recreation office.

Flynn has been away from home on Father's Day before, serving with the 5th Fleet in Bahrain. And as he learned there, the best way to deal with family separation, especially on special occasions, is to "stay positive."

He strives to carry on the lessons his own father taught him while he's deployed, from sharing treats he receives in care packages from his family and a Boston area veterans group that "adopted" him while he's away.

"I try to follow the lessons my father taught me every day," he said. "If I can help people through my example, personally or in their military careers, then that's what I really want to do.

"I hope to provide them the lessons I learned from my own father -- lessons that can help make them better sailors, better troopers, better citizens, better Americans," Flynn said.

Army Staff Sgt. Allan Ortiz

Father's Day has always been an adventure for Army Staff Sgt. Allan Ortiz. His wife and daughter, 8-year-old Adriana, usually wake him with breakfast in bed, and 3-year-old Nicholas joins them in presenting a Father's Day card.

Then, the family sets out on a day trip. "It is usually a surprise for me where we are going," Ortiz said.

This year, Ortiz isn't expecting any surprises. He'll be in Kabul, Afghanistan, working as he does every other day as part of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.

"I will probably just spend it with my battle buddies and working most of the day," he said. "It will be very different than what I am used to."

Ortiz remembered back to his last Father's Day deployment.

"I was too busy on patrols to realize it was Father's Day," he said.

Being away from his family for extended periods is a hardship, Ortiz said. But it's especially difficult, he said, "when your kids get old enough to understand that you are gone for long periods of time, and you have to explain to them why you are away so much without really telling them what you are doing."

But he said he's hopeful that through his service, he's setting an example for his children: "to be responsible, reliable, productive people."

"The military supports that in every way because those are key to one's character," Ortiz said.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ross Coleman

After 12 years in the Navy, Petty Officer 1st Class Ross Coleman is pretty accustomed to being away from his three kids on Father's Day.

This year, he's serving his longest deployment yet, 12 months, providing communications support for the advising and training mission in Iraq.

Coleman arrived in Baghdad just three weeks ago, and expects this Father's Day to be pretty much business as usual in the scorching Baghdad heat. No breakfast in bed. No afternoon nap. No dip in the pool.

"I have obligations I have to fulfill," he said. "But if possible, I will definitely try to call home," something he expects to be much easier ashore than during his previous deployments at sea.

Coleman will have other reminders of his wife and three children, 13-year-old Victoria, 10-year-old Sophia and 8-year-old Alexander. In addition to the family photos Coleman brought with him to Iraq, he's likely to flip through a sketchbook his daughter created for him, with a new piece of artwork for every week of his deployment.

Coleman also expects to dip into the care packages he regularly receives from home. "My kids are notorious for throwing surprises in them," he said. The box that arrived just a few days ago in time for Father's Day included a purple teddy bear and red dragon that lights up.

While remaining stoic about not observing Father's Day with his family, Coleman said he takes comfort knowing the example he's setting is having an impact on his children.

"It's all about conviction," he said, qualities he said his children already are beginning to exhibit. "You can definitely see it. When they make up their mind about something, they will carry it through," he said. "The trick now is to steer that to the right path."

If there's one vital factor to successful fatherhood during a deployment, Coleman said it's having a strong, supportive spouse, like his wife Nicole.

"You can't run your house long-distance," he said. "You have to be able to support that person," and ensure your children recognize that.

That support must continue after returning home, he said, particularly during the critical reintegration period. "You have to work yourself in slowly," he said. "Things tend to work out better if you take your time and just let things settle in."

Army Staff Sgt. Jason Himel

Story time with his children has always been a highlight of Army Staff Sgt. Jason Himel's activity-filled Father's Day celebrations.

Typically he sleeps in until 10 a.m. or so before his two children, Joshua, 10, and Emily, 9, deliver his breakfast. The family then spends an active day, playing games, going for a walk, bike riding and bowling, before firing up the barbecue for a big outdoor picnic. After the family gathers to watch a movie, Himel's children select a story for him to read to them.

This year will be different, as Himel's children will use a computer to read to their father, who is currently on a duty tour in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Himel deployed in September with the Army's V Corps as part of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. But even thousands of miles away, he hopes to maintain at least some of his family's Father's Day traditions.

"I will continue the tradition of sleeping in – at least I plan on it," he said. "I will more than likely watch a movie and treat myself to a good cheeseburger from the gold ol' local coffee shop."

Himel then hopes to cap off the day contacting his family on the computer for a video chat and story reading.

While Father's Day away from home is no fun, Himel said he's grateful for good Internet connections that enable him to keep in touch with his family.

During his last deployment, he had minimal Internet access, and not enough bandwidth to chat online. He worked most of the day, but squeezed in time to telephone his family for a few minutes -- long enough for his kids to read him a good short story.

Quality family time and communication is key in Himel's family, he said. Himel said he strives, even while deployed, to make sure his children understand he's always there for them.

"I always tell them, 'No matter what happens throughout the day, whether good or bad, at the end of the day, it is family who will be there,'" he said. "Love and communication goes a long way."

Fallen Airmen Laid to Rest After 38 Years

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

June 18, 2010 - Unidentified remains of 14 fallen Air Force AC-130 gunship crewmembers were laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery here yesterday, nearly 40 years after their aircraft was shot down over southern Laos.

Lt. Col. Henry P. Brauner, Lt. Col. Richard Castillo, Lt. Col. Irving B. Ramsower II, Lt. Col. Howard D. Stephenson, Maj. Curtis D. Miller, Maj. Barclay B. Young, Capt. Richard C. Halpin, Capt. Charles J. Wanzel III, Chief Master Sgt. Edwin J. Pearce, Senior Master Sgt. James K. Caniford, Senior Master Sgt. Robert E. Simmons, Senior Master Sgt. Edward D. Smith Jr., Master Sgt. Merlyn L. Paulson and Master Sgt. William A. Todd were honored in a group burial with full military honors in the cemetery's Section 60.

The crew was killed in action March 29, 1972, in the midst of the Vietnam War.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark D. Shackelford presented an American flag to the families. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Anthony Wade and Rev. Martin McGill presided over the service.

Full military honors included a flag-draped casket and carrying team, a firing party, a band and bugler, a horse-drawn caisson and escorts from the Air Force Honor Guard. All 14 names will be included on the headstone.

Representatives from the families of 13 of the airmen attended the ceremony. Several members of Rolling Thunder, an advocacy group for the return of all prisoners of war and those missing in action, also attended the service.

Remains for Halpin, Wenzel, Caniford, Pearce, Simmons, Smith and Todd were positively identified and returned to their families. Young and Caniford were buried here individually in 2008, said Kaitlin Horst, a spokeswoman for the cemetery.

The remaining seven airmen could not be identified, but are accounted for, Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's Joint Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Accounting Command, said in an interview today with American Forces Press Service.

Forensic anthropologists and scientists from the Defense Department are confident all 14 airmen were involved in the crash, Greer said. The scientists used identification tools, circumstantial evidence and DNA tests to match the crewmembers' remains with their families, Greer said. Scientists also used dental comparisons to identify remains.

"All of these men have been accounted for, and the families have accepted the identification," Greer said. "These final, full-honor services are to recognize the sacrifices that these men made and their families made, and all of us involved in this mission feel it an honor to bring closure to these families."

The crew's plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile during an armed reconnaissance mission. Search and rescue efforts were hindered because of heavy enemy activity in the area and were stopped after only a few days, Greer said.

The first remains were recovered in 1986 by a joint U.S.-Laos team, Greer said. Recovered items included two identification tags, life support equipment and aircraft wreckage, he added.

Between 1986 and 1998, nine members of the aircrew were positively identified. Follow-on surveys and excavations in 2005 and 2006 found more remains, personal effects and other equipment, he said.

The remains of more than 900 servicemembers killed in the Vietnam War have been returned to their families since 1972. More than 1,700 remain unaccounted-for.

In the past year, the Joint Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Accounting Command has accounted for 98 servicemembers missing from the Korean War, Vietnam War and World War II. More than 80,000 servicemembers from the three wars remain unaccounted-for. Nearly 2,000 from the same wars have been accounted for and returned to their families.

Summit seeks ways to assist Wisconsin's warriors

By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue

June 18, 2010 - A group of nearly 300 veterans, medical professionals and other veteran supporters assembled June 15-16 to learn more about the challenges and services available for combat veterans.

The Wisconsin Warrior Project partnered with the Wisconsin National Guard, Department of Veteran Affairs and other support agencies to host a two-day Warrior Summit at Madison Area Technical College's Truax Campus with two distinct objectives in mind.

"The mission is two-fold," said Bob Curry, president of Dry Hootch - a main event sponsor and non-profit organization. "It's for the veterans and their families, and it's also for the healthcare professionals who are dealing with those veterans."

Curry said the recent return of more than 3,200 Wisconsin Soldiers from their Iraq deployment has increased the number of exchanges between veterans and healthcare workers.

"A lot of times people in the medical profession don't know how to talk to a combat veteran," Curry added. "Events like these bring healthcare workers up to speed on some of the issues, but also some of the resources available to help."

Everyone who attended the event was able to attend a multitude of breakout session that covered issues from post traumatic stress disorder and crisis intervention to employment and spiritual healing.

Rebecca Boehlke, Joint Family Support Assistance Program (JFSAP) Team Leader and Military OneSource Consultant, said the many military, government and other support agencies that provide a wide array of services all act as a safety net for service members and their families.

"A service member may not open up to the first or second person he or she talks to," Boehlke said. "Somewhere along the way, someone will be able to peel back that onion and find out all the challenges that service member faces."

Boehlke said she is beginning to see more and more service members bring up challenges they're facing, a departure from veterans of earlier wars.

According to Curry, about 70 percent of veterans who attended the first Warrior Summit, held Oct. 20 in Milwaukee, took part in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Almost all the remaining veterans were from the Vietnam era.

Master Sgt. Deborah Severson, Wisconsin National Guard Family Program assistant, said continuing to support events like the Warrior Summit provides opportunities to talk face to face with Wisconsin's Soldiers and Airmen as well as network with other support agencies.

"We all collectively work together to find the service and support our service members need," Severson said. "Anywhere we can reach out to our service members and their families ... it's just the right place to be."