Military News

Monday, June 21, 2010

Education center saves Air Force time, money

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

6/21/2010 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Success and savings on national testing at the Lackland Air Force Base Education Center are forming a program model for the Air Force.

Last December, a partnership between Lackland AFB and the San Antonio branch of Wayland Baptist University computerized the testing program that is taking the national testing center to another level.

The joint venture increased attendance and passing rates, led to a WBU agreement with Air University providing professional military education testing at no cost to the Air Force, allowed establishment of a pilot program for technical school students and reduced Air Force costs more than $1 million for fiscal 2010.

"We're out in front for now," said Russ Gregg, the Lackland AFB education and training chief. "The NTC has become a focal point for all my bragging rights."

Lackland AFB is currently the only installation in San Antonio offering computerized testing.

"Other bases are looking at us, and we may start to see more and more along this same model," Mr. Gregg said.

So far, conservative figures total $1.3 million in savings for the Air Force, a number expected to climb by fiscal year-end, Mr. Gregg said. Savings come from no contractor test fees and reduced course expenses through increased passing rates (each passed test saves $750). The pace of current attendance projects the NTC will administer 9,800 tests by Sept. 30.

With Defense Activity for Non Traditional Support Education and College Level Exam Program tests changing Oct. 1, the Lackland AFB NTC could also see another spike in attendance.

Lackland AFB's computerized testing has 38 DANTES and 34 CLEP tests available. Non-computerized education centers currently offer 14 CLEP tests and are expected to lose 22 DANTES tests in fiscal year 2011. Students taking computerized tests receive results instantaneously versus six to eight weeks with paper-based tests.

A pilot program for the 344th Training Squadron has also proven successful. Airmen in the first stages of technical training have exclusive access to the NTC for two sessions every Thursday. Passing rates have jumped after subject matter tests were adjusted, but still applicable to Community College of the Air Force two-year degrees.

"Recently, we had 23 Airmen take and pass a principles of supervision test," Mr. Gregg said. "That's phenomenal.

"We've also had several 344th TRS Airmen pass 24 semester hours in one day," he said. "That's almost a year of college. By the time these Airmen complete technical school and specialized training, they're only three or four classes away from a CCAF degree."

Those determined and academically prepared could do the same by utilizing the center's four-day availability and instant test results, Mr. Gregg said. The goal, which coincides and fits with the 344th TRS, is to start Airmen on an education course earlier in their career.

"CCAF gets Airmen ready for advanced responsibilities," Mr. Gregg said. "By completing that degree earlier in their career, it enhances their capability and the mission, and provides more educational options."

The NTC is available to all active-duty, Reserve and guard members, regardless of branch or duty station. In addition to all the college tests, health certification exams for nursing are available at the Lackland Education Center.

For more information about the national testing center, contact your base education services office.

NHB Lab Rats Complete Walk Across Washington 396 Miles Challenge

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

June 21, 2010 - BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The Lab Rats PT Group became the first finishers in Naval Hospital Bremerton's Health Promotion 'Walk Across American 396 Miles' aerobic challenge event June 16.

Starting on May 4, Hospital Corpsman Chief Noel Gravina and his team of 10 took 25 days of collective participation mainly tallying individual and group 4-mile runs.

"Exercising is such a part of what we do as hospital corpsmen and Sailors on duty and being involved in an event like this allowed us to get in quality physical training and build cohesion," said Gravina. "Because we had a goal, it also made us more motivated."

The cardiovascular challenge, which encourages participants to simply add up their miles as they walk, run, swim, bike, or any other aerobic activity. The Health Promotion Wellness Center also provided pedometers in the lending library, "It's estimated that 2,000 steps equals approximately one mile, as does 15 minutes of aerobic activity," said Janet Mano, NHB Health Promotion director. "HMC Gravina did a great job of leadership in getting his staff involved."

For their efforts, the Lab Rats PT Group were presented with completion certificates, a commemoration magnet and a rousing well-done and personal congratulation from Capt. Mark E. Brouker, NHB commanding officer.

"Aside from the obvious benefits to our collective health, is there another bonus like maybe a Physical Training warfare device?" quipped a wondering Gravina, adding that just because they had accomplished the 'Walk Across Washington 396 Miles' challenge, they will continue on. "Even separately, we will still get out and get our miles in. It's good training for us all."

Taylor Delivers Project Handclasp Supplies to Albanian Pediatric Clinic

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

June 21, 2010 DURRES, Albania (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Taylor (FFG 50) delivered Project Handclasp donations to the Ledi Diana Pediatric Clinic during a port visit to Durres June 16-17.

Ten Sailors delivered two pallets of medical and hygiene supplies to help more than 300 people regularly seen at the clinic.

Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that receives, collects, consolidates and stores humanitarian, educational, and goodwill material for transportation on naval vessels and distribution by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel on behalf of American citizens to people in need overseas.

Cmdr. Lyle Hall, Taylor's commanding officer, noted the hard work and dedication of the crew to the community relations projects. During his discussion with the doctors and nurses of Ledi Diana, Hall discussed how these projects demonstrate the Navy's commitment to a lasting partnership with the people of Albania via cross-cultural and community relations efforts.

"Taylor's crew is committed to community outreach programs" said Hall. "It is a great opportunity to be a part of this project and to be able to make a positive impact at the pediatric clinic."

Taylor's crew also toured of the facility to see how the donations would make an impact.

"We provided a lot of good supplies," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class (SW) Christopher Tidmore. "They will help to improve hygiene for the children."

This port visit marks the first of three port visits in which Taylor's crew will deliver Project Handclasp supplies during its deployment.

Taylor, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, is homeported in Mayport, Fla., and is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

ISAF Thanks Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Jamieson, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

June 21, 2010 - USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Afghanistan visited Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) June 17 to observe the execution of flight operations and thank Sailors aboard for all their hard work.

"I appreciate the chance to be here and express my thanks for all you are doing," said Gen. Stanley McChrystal. "I know you get thanked by a lot of people, but I wanted to be sure I came and expressed the thanks from the Afghan people, and also my personal thanks for all that you have done and you've sacrificed and your professionalism and courage."

The general explained that thanking the Sailors for their hard work and commitment was the main reason for his visit, but he also wanted to see firsthand how the Sailors prepare the air side of the mission. Familiar with the aspects of ground warfare, McChrystal wanted to get a better understanding of the air mission and what the carrier does to prepare the aircraft and pilots.

To aid in his understanding, McChrystal was given a familiarization flight in an F/A-18F Super Hornet from the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103.

VFA 103 Executive Officer Cmdr. Rick Crecelius said the flight allowed McChrystal to experience how Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 has integrated with ground forces to provide focused, precision air support.

"This was the general's first flight in a tactical fighter in the last year," said Crecelius. "We set up some events that simulate conditions we regularly encounter flying Operation Enduring Freedom missions and showed him how communication and coordination with forces on the ground works from our perspective."

During his visit, McChrystal also held a roundtable discussion with the Eisenhower Strike Group leadership and talked to aircrews from CVW 7 about their support for the troops on the ground in Afghanistan. Before departing, he addressed the entire crew from the ship's navigation bridge to express his appreciation for their efforts.

"Each of you is an absolutely indispensable element of our ability to do a mission that's critical for our nation, for the Afghan people and for stability in the region and the world," said McChrystal.

"What we are doing together with 46 nations and our Afghan partners is giving the Afghan people a chance, an opportunity for a life, an opportunity to shape their future," McChrystal said.

Eisenhower is underway in the Arabian Sea on a regularly scheduled deployment to the 5th Fleet. Operations in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsiblity are focused on reassuring regional partners of the coalition's commitment to help set conditions for security and stability.

Air Force Chooses Bases for MQ-1/9 Ground Control Stations

The Department of the Air Force released today its basing decision for the MQ-1 and MQ-9 ground control stations.

The final bases approved by the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force are: Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

"The Air Force uses a deliberate, repeatable and transparent process to address basing needs. These bases are the right locations for the next set of MQ-1/9 ground control stations," said Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary for installations. "They will provide the Air Force with the right kind of synergy for training purposes."

The MQ-1 ground control station will be the first squadron and the MQ-9 will be the second squadron. Each base will have an addition of 280 people, both military and civilian.

Initial operational capability (IOC) for the first squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base is expected to be achieved by February 2011 and the second squadron located at Ellsworth Air Force Base is planned to achieve IOC by May 2012.

Defense Secretary Gates Announces Recommendations to the President on Senior Marine Corps Leadership Positions

“I am pleased to announce that I have recommended to the President that Gen. James F. Amos be nominated as the next commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Gen. Amos' combat experience includes command of a Marine aircraft wing and a Marine expeditionary force during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to lead the Marines' Combat Development Command and serve as deputy commandant for combat development and integration. If nominated and confirmed, Gen. Amos will be the first aviator to attain this post.

"I am also recommending that Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford be promoted to replace Gen. Amos as assistant commandant. Lt. Gen. Dunford is currently the commander of I MEF and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, with responsibility for all Marines serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters.

"Gen. James Conway will complete his term as commandant this fall and retire from the Marine Corps after four decades of outstanding service. On behalf of the American people, I want to thank Gen. Conway for his faithful and selfless service that included tours as a battalion commander in Operation Desert Storm, a Marine expeditionary force commander in Iraq, and director of operations for the Joint Staff. We will properly recognize Gen. Conway's extraordinary service at an appropriate time.

"I came to these leadership decisions after a thorough process that considered several outstanding candidates. I am convinced that Gen. Amos and Lt. Gen. Dunford are the right team to lead the U.S. Marine Corps at this time, especially as it balances the capabilities needed to support current operations, its unique maritime heritage and its future role defending America."

Navy and Sea Cadets Team up to Clean Up Local State Park

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

June 21, 2010 - PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (NNS) -- A Sailor from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Sea Cadets from Seattle's Blue Angels Squadron volunteered their time to help preserve naval history at the Fort Worden State Park, in Port Townsend, Wash., June 20.

"Today we have Sea Cadets working to clear some of the debris from the gutters around the old military bunkers to alleviate some of the erosion and preserve this place as a site for historical reference," said Lt. j.g. Robert Jablonski, commanding officer, U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps Blue Angels Squadron. "We want to show the Sea Cadets the importance of Navy history, and we want to embed the core values of honor, courage and commitment. "

"We need to demonstrate what the Sailors of the past have accomplished and what they will need to accomplish to continue to carry on the Navy traditions," Jablonski said.

Volunteers helped clear overgrown plants around the old bunkers, clear water drains, and rebuild original walkways to help preserve the original look of the park.

For one former Sea Cadet, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Kelsey Nicholls, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, coming back home and giving back to her former unit was important to her.

"I am here to help out with this community service project and give back to the Sea Cadets because that is where I started before I joined the Navy," said Nicholls. "It's important to preserve naval history because heritage gives us a sense of where we came from."

According to www.historylink.org, during World War II Fort Worden was the headquarters of the Harbor Defense Command and was jointly operated by the Army and the Navy. The fort was home to the 14th Coast Artillery Regiment of the U.S. Army, the 248th Regiment of the Washington National Guard, the 2nd Amphibious Engineers, and Navy personnel. The Army operated radar sites and coordinated Canadian and U.S. defensive activities in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. The Navy was responsible for the detection and identification of all vessels entering and leaving Puget Sound, monitored new underwater sonar and sensing devices.

"It is great being able to give back to the community and connect to Navy history to keep our history alive," said Sea Cadet Charles Motzer. "We learn what other service members have done before us and history sets a foundation of our future."

Cowpens' Namesake Hosts 33rd Mighty Moo Festival

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SCW) Jess M. Johnson, Defense Media Activity - Anacostia

June 21, 2010 - COWPENS, S.C (NNS) -- Sailors from both U.S. Navy ships named for the battle of Cowpens attended a five-day festival here to honor those who have served aboard the ships that have shared a name with the town.

Sailors from CVL-25 and CG 63 traveled from all around the world to take part in "The Mighty Moo Festival."

"We've been doing this for 33 years," said Jan Humphries, the Adopt-a-Crew dinner coordinator. "Each year over Father's Day weekend, we invite the crews from CVL 25 and CG 63 to come here and let us thank them for what they did in World War II and continue to do today."

The Mighty Moo Festival is a time for the townspeople to celebrate their history and to honor the veterans and crew of ex-USS Cowpens (CVL 25) and USS Cowpens (CG 63). The event brings people from around the region to this hamlet in northwestern South Carolina swelling their numbers from 2,200 to nearly 5,000.

"We are all here to say thank you to our veterans," said Pam Camp, chairperson of the Mighty Moo Committee. "Our World War II vets have been coming here for years and we love having them. We just want these fellas to come here and let us take care of them for a while."

"Words can't explain the joy we have when coming to The Mighty Moo Festival, the battleground and being with our families that have adopted us," said Carswell Wynne, a veteran of USS Cowpens (CVL 25) and regular attendee of the Mighty Moo Festival.

Among the many highlights of the event are the Adopt-a-Crewman dinner and the parade.

"These people are the absolute finest people you will find anywhere in America," Wynne said. "They wear their patriotism on their sleeve and really open more than their town to us, they open their homes and hearts. Words cannot describe the tremendous emotions involved at this festival. People just have to experience it first hand to really know how much this town loves their country and those who have served in the military."

After the parade down main street featuring a red, white and blue float carrying World War II-era Sailors and their namesake crew members from CG 63, the town sponsors a Walk of Honor, where Sailors representing USS Cowpens (CG 63) place a wreath at the Veterans Memorial and then salute the veterans of the area as they come to pay their respects to those who have served before.

The festival continued with a live band and fireworks marking the end of the festivities.

"We're going to be planning next year's festival just as soon as we get cleaned up from this year," said Jamie Caggiano, who along with the crew of both ships and the people of Cowpens, offer this challenge to former Cowpens Sailors, "Just try to come to one festival. I am sure you won't be able to stay away the next year."

"You just come down here one time," Camp said. "Let us show you how much we appreciate all you have sacrificed to serve our country and keep our freedom secure. Once you let us show you how much we really do appreciate your service and the sacrifices of your families and just get to say 'thank you' I'm sure you'll want to come back."

Navy Official Discusses Climate Change Investment Strategy

By Bob Freeman, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy

June 21, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- A number of recent strategic Defense Department documents have recognized that the changing climate may affect national security and military operations later in the century.

This is particularly true for the globally deployed U.S. Navy, and investments to address climate challenges may need to be made, the service's oceanographer said during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable June 18.

"We're going to have to fold these challenges into a tight fiscal budget," said Navy Rear Adm. David W. Titley, who also serves as director of the Navy's Task Force Climate Change. He explained that it is important not only to know what investments are right to meet future requirements, but also to know when to make them.

"We want to basically pace the threat," Titley said. "We don't want to get into a tail chase over climate change, but at the same time, ... we do not want to spend ahead of need, spending for things that may not be required for years or decades later."

Titley explained that to define the scope of needed investments the Navy will conduct capabilities-based assessments, which he described as foundational studies to determine the requirements for such things as force structure, infrastructure, command and control and communications. "We're doing one of these capabilities-based assessments for climate change in general, and another one focused specifically on the Arctic," Titley said.

Titley said the assessments were timed to coincide with the Navy's program objective memorandum for fiscal 2014. POMs are annual events in which critical decisions on the budget and investment spending are made. Titley said he believes the 2014 budget is where the first climate-change investments may potentially be made.

"One of the investments we're really going to have to think about in the next several decades is the impact of sea level rise on the Navy's infrastructure," Titley said. "That includes our ports and piers in the continental United States, but we also need to think about bases we use in conjunction with our partners and allies overseas."

As an example, Titley mentioned Diego Garcia, a small, low-lying island in the Indian Ocean that hosts a strategic airfield.

"The observations have shown us that through the 20th century, sea level rose by an average of two millimeters per year," Titley said. "So that means over the course of the century, we had about 20 centimeters, or roughly eight inches, of sea level rise. The sea level rise we've seen in the first 10 years of the new century is already 50 percent greater than the average sea level rise in the 20th century."

Titley explained that as the oceans get warmer, they expand and take up more space, causing the sea level to rise. In addition, the land-based ice that already is melting - including mountain glaciers, the Greenland ice field, and even the western Antarctic ice sheet - will add volume to the ocean. He acknowledged considerable uncertainty over the time line and extent of sea level rise, but he noted that leading climate scientists believe sea levels could rise as much as six feet by the end of the century.

"How probable is this?" Titley asked. "I'm not really sure right now, but I am sure there are significant consequences. We need to make sure, as time goes by, that we understand it, we have a plan, and we know what it will cost us to execute that plan.

"That's really one of the foundational elements the task force is going to pursue," he added.

In response to a question on specific infrastructure upgrades, Titley noted that there is no single answer, and said scientists and engineers will need to work together with local communities, taking into account the specifics of every critical location, to determine what types of solutions will be needed.

"That is what our capabilities-based assessments will be tasked to figure out," he said.

When asked whether naval bases were prepared for stronger and more intense hurricanes, Titley said that the impact a warming climate may have on tropical storm development is controversial and subject to much research. He explained that ocean warming is only one component of hurricane formation, and that other factors such as upper level wind shear may not support increased frequency and intensity.

"What I can tell you," he said, "is that our regional commanders make sure their bases are prepared for severe hurricanes every year."

Titley said it's essential to improve predictive capabilities on a variety of timelines to provide reliable forecasts to decision makers. These predictions need to include weather and ocean forecasts in the near term, as well as climatological forecasts extending decades out, he added.

"In the past, many federal agencies tended to produce their own predictive models," Titley said. He noted that he is engaging the leadership of other agencies to create partnerships that will ensure that the best minds in the nation are working collectively on solutions. These joint climate models could serve both military and civilian purposes, he said, recognizing that details regarding classification and security would need to be worked out.

"I believe that the time is right, and the leadership in many agencies is right, to work this at a national level," he said, "to make sure the taxpayer money we put into these predictions give the absolute best return on our collective investment. We owe this to the American people."

Titley said international partnerships also are important to dealing effectively with potential climate-change challenges, particularly in the Arctic. He mentioned that the Canadian navy had invited the United States to participate this year in its annual Operation Nanook polar exercise. U.S. participants will include a destroyer, a maritime patrol aircraft, and specialized ice diving units.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for several hundred of our sailors and officers to experience operating ships and aircraft well north of the Arctic Circle," Titley said.

There is also a proposal to share lessons learned with the Danish navy, which has significant experience operating in the Arctic waters around its territory Greenland. In addition, Titley said, the Naval Research Laboratory is working with the Russian navy in the Kara Sea this summer, and there are current discussions with the International Hydrographic Organization to determine how to best work with regional partners in cooperative ocean-surveying operations.

"This is not meant to be all inclusive," Titley said, "but it is an indication of progress in just the last couple of months towards opportunities to work with our international partners."

Titley noted some other examples of progress in considering the strategic impact of climate change.

"Recently, the chief of naval operations signed out the Navy's Arctic strategic objectives," he said, "and this gives everybody in the Navy a common frame of reference to understand what we are trying to achieve."

He added that the Navy wants to ensure a "safe, stable, and secure Arctic."

Titley said the main goal of Task Force Climate Change is to ensure the Navy is not taken by strategic surprise, and he expressed satisfaction that climate change is being considered in strategic war games and limited objective experiments. He described these as "thinking exercises" that examine various strategic scenarios to determine how to handle them, to evaluate whether the assets are available to handle them, and to identify shortfalls.

"Nobody knows what the future will entail," Titley said, "but if you run a range of scenarios, and you see that there are common capabilities and capacities that you would need to answer those scenarios, then you can really inform a future budget debate."

Former Army Employee Sentenced to Two Years

June 21, 2010 - BIRMINGHAM—U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor today sentenced a former government contracting official to two years in prison for giving preferential treatment to defense sub-contractors who gave him money, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

Judge Proctor also ordered DOUGLAS HARRY ENNIS, 50, of Athens, to serve two years' supervised release after completing his prison term and to pay $75,000 in restitution. He ordered ENNIS to report to prison Sept. 8.

ENNIS was employed as the deputy director of the Joint Center for Technology Integration (JCTI) located at the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville from 1987 to 2008. The Space and Missile Defense Command is responsible for the Army’s research, development and acquisition of systems that may be utilized for defense against ballistic missiles.

“Mr. Ennis was in a position to serve and help protect his country, and he exploited that position of trust for his own financial gain,” Vance said. “He took advantage of his position, and of the American taxpayers as he took payoffs and undermined the competitive process. His punishment is due and deserved.”

ENNIS was deputy director at JCTI while Michael Cantrell was the center’s director. U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced Cantrell in December 2009 to five years in prison for his role in the procurement fraud scheme that netted Cantrell $1.6 million in bribes. She ordered Cantrell and other defendants in the case to pay $2.5 million in restitution to the government and entered a $685,060 forfeiture judgment against Cantrell. She also ordered Cantrell to pay $352,145 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

ENNIS pleaded guilty in 2008 to a conspiracy during which he conspired with Cantrell and others to give preference to sub-contractors and vendors on contracts funded by the space and missile command. The sub-contractors and vendors gave money and gifts to ENNIS and Cantrell. During the course of the conspiracy ENNIS received approximately $70,000 from 2003 through 2004.

ENNIS also pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements on a financial disclosure form to the Army. As part of his employment with the Army, ENNIS was required to submit a confidential certification form that required him to identify any new interests, sources of income, debts, reportable outside positions and gifts. ENNIS failed to report that he received $4,900 between Oct. 1, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2002.

The case was investigated by FBI special agents, with the cooperation and assistance of Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division-Fraud Team, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the Department of Defense. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant is prosecuting this matter on behalf of the United States.

FFSC's Personal Financial Management Program Helps Military and Families Stay Financially Fit

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kari R. Rodriguez, Commander, Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs

June 21, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) offers a program to help service members and their families manage finances.

The Personal Financial Management Program, which encompasses a variety of budgeting and financial planning courses and workshops, is designed to educate military personnel and their family members before financial issues become problematic and possibly jeopardize their careers.

According to Ed Olander, with frequent deployments and training along with the responsibilities of everyday military life, financial education may get put on a back burner, which can lead to financial trouble in a Sailors career; including the loss of security clearances due to financial mismanagement.

"Occasionally financial education gets overlooked and we see Sailors who have accumulated a good amount of debt that can negatively affect their career," Olander said. "We not only want to help those Sailors avoid this kind of trouble, but also help them gain wealth so that once the leave the service, they have good credit ratings," he added.

Through the Personal Financial Management Program, Sailors and families learn how to successfully navigate through the transitions of Navy life and financial challenges that may arise.

The course covers several topics, including military pay and allowances and establishing and maintaining credit.

Attendees also learn how to exercise their consumer protection rights, avoid becoming victims of fraud, and effectively budget for their household and save and invest. The Personal Financial Management Program offers additional workshops including consumer awareness, credit management, car buying strategies, developing a spending plan, retirement planning, home Buying and Thrift Savings Plan.

FFSC also offers free financial counseling.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 21, 2010

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services, Gaithersburg, Md., is being awarded a potential $5,000,000,000, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with mixed payment provisions including firm-fixed-price, incentive arrangements and cost-reimbursable arrangements for contractor logistics support services in support of US SOCOM worldwide. The work will be performed at Special Operations Forces Support Activity in Lexington, Ky., and other locations across the globe and is expected to have a period of performance from March 2, 2009, to March 1, 2018. This contract was awarded through full and open competition. USSOCOM is the contracting activity (H92254-09-D-0001). This contract was previously awarded in March 2009, but was terminated due to protest activity in Jun 2009. The 2009 contract is now being reinstated to meet urgent operational requirements.

Decypher Technologies, LTD, San Antonio, Texas, is being awarded a $6,613,156.80 (to include cost items) labor-hour type contract to provide medical instruction in support of the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center for a base year with two one-year options. The work will be performed in Fort Bragg, N.C., and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2013. This contract was awarded through an Eight (a) Competitive Small Business set-aside. U.S. Army Special Operations Command is the contracting activity (H92239-10-C-0006).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Florida Governmental Utility Authority, Longwood, Fla., is being awarded a maximum $200,716,544 firm-fixed-price with prospective redetermination contract for assumption of ownership, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater distribution systems at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Other location of performance is MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Using service is Air Force. There were originally 750 proposals solicited with four responses. This contract is for a 50 year period. The date of performance completion is February 2062. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting (SP0600-10-C-8251).

NAVY

Michelin Aircraft Tire Corp., Greenville, S.C., is being awarded an a firm-fixed-price exercise of option two of a performance based logistics contract in the amount of $101,131,003 for support for 23 separate aviation tire support requirements for the V-22; H-60; AV-8B; P-3; F-18; EA-6B; H-46; H-53; and E-2 aircraft. Work will be performed in Greenville, S.C. (100 percent). Work is to be completed by January 2016. Funding is provided by the Defense Business Operating Fund and Navy Working Capital Funds. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the fiscal year. This announcement does include foreign military sales Spain; Japan; Egypt; Taiwan; Malaysia; Italy; Australia; and New Zealand (1 percent), Kuwait (2 percent).This contract was competitively awarded. Eleven firms were solicited and two offers were received. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N00383-00-D-042G).

The Boeing Co., Seattle, Wash., is being awarded an $80,914,538 firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for logistics support services for the Navy's C-40A aircraft fleet. Services to be provided include commercial depot support and site support at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla.; NAS Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas; NAS North Island, Calif.; and NAS Oceana, Va.. Work will be performed in Atlanta, Ga. (50 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (30 percent); Seattle, Wash. (5 percent); Jacksonville, Fla. (5 percent); North Island, Calif. (5 percent); and Oceana, Va. (5 percent), and will be completed in July 2015. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals and three offers were received. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-D-0017).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, N.Y. is being awarded a $58,590,309 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee VH-71 System Development and Demonstration contract (N00019-05-C-0030), which was terminated for the convenience of the government. This modification provides funding for post termination related expenses, including, but not limited to, the physical inventory of contractor acquired property; proposal preparation; security; disposition of contract inventory; subcontractor settlement costs; termination management activities; and applicable fees. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y. (36 percent) and at various subcontractor facilities located within the U S, and in the United Kingdom and Italy (64 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $58,590,309 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity (N00019-05-C-0030).

CDM Constructors, Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., is being awarded firm-fixed-price task order #0025 at $46,286,423 under a combination firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity design-build-operate-maintain contract for the design and construction of a southern water total dissolved/total organic carbon corrosion control facility at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The task order also contains one unexercised option and one planned modification, which if exercised would increase the cumulative task order value to $48,934,916. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by November 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68711-04-D-5110).

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $12,448,384 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for the procurement of 698 upgraded engine air particle separator blowers 558 MV-22; 68 CV-22; and 72 spares. Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas (63 percent), and Jackson, Miss. (37 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $6,782,433 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-07-G-0008).

General Dynamics Information Technology, Intelligence Solutions Division, Fairfax, Va., is being awarded an $11,886,544 firm-fixed-priced contract (M67854-10-C-7016), for contractor logistics support (CLS) services to support command, control, communications, computers and intelligence sustainment support (C4IS2) systems. CLS services provide a field and sustainment maintenance capability to the Marine Corps current C4IS2 systems inventory. This contract will continue CLS services for critical Marine Corps C4IS2 systems while a follow-on contract is competed. This contract will provide a transition between the current Intelligence Information, Command and control, equipment and enhancements (ICE2) contract, which expires on June 30, 2010, and the follow-on competitive contract. This contract will have a base period of six months with two three-month options. The scope of services to be procured will be the same as is currently being provided under the ICE2 contract and represents the minimum level of effort required to maintain the systems during the competition and awarding of the follow-on contract. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $25,221,747. Work will be performed in multiple CONUS and OCONUS locations and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $11,886,544 will expire on Sept. 30, 2010. This contract was not competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-C-7016).

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Towson, Md., is being awarded an $8,800,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of traffic mitigation measures at University Road Gate at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda. Work will be performed in Bethesda, Md., 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 procured as a sole source in accordance with FAR 6.302-1 "only one responsible source". The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Officer in Charge of Construction, Bethesda, Md., is the contracting activity (N40080-10-C-1505).

Omega Aerial Refueling Services, Inc., is being awarded a $6,795,350 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-10-D-0009) to provide air-to-air refueling services in support of Royal Australian Air Force F//A-18 aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station, Lemoore, Calif. (50 percent), and at the Royal Australian Air Force Base, Williamstown, Australia (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-10-D-0009).

Truman Carrier Strike Group Transits Suez Canal And Enters U.S. 5th Fleet

From USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

June 21, 2010 USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) entered the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) June 18 after completing a successful transit through the Suez Canal.

Truman CSG is relieving Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG as part of a routine rotation of forces during a scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and theater security cooperation (TSC) efforts in the region.

"I am very proud of the men and women of the Truman Carrier Strike Group as we join the 5th Fleet," said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10. "We have trained hard to support our troops on the ground in Afghanistan, and we look forward to working with our regional maritime partners to enhance interoperability and security."

For many Sailors and Marines aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), this is their first time operating in the 5th Fleet AOR. Several crew members who went topside during the Suez Canal transit observed the sand dunes and the level of navigational skill required to steer the aircraft carrier safely through the passage.

"I was surprised by how close we were to land," said Seaman Jason Kowalski, from Truman's deck department, who stood watches on the forecastle and bridge during the transit.

For Seaman Marissa Cambora, also from deck department, the transit drove home the reality that the aircraft carrier was far from its homeport of Norfolk, Va.

"It was exciting to see palm trees and sand dunes," said Cambora. "Everything is new and different. It makes you realize that after months of preparation, we're actually here."

Truman CSG deployed May 21, and includes the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman with embarked Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW 3) and guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) as well as Aegis-equipped destroyers USS Winston Churchill (DDG 81), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) and German frigate FGS Hessen (F221).

EOD Det Defuses World War II Bomb on Naval Base Guam

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

June 21, 2010 - SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- A four-man team from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Detachment (Det) Marianas successfully defused a World War II-era 1,000 pound bomb aboard U.S. Naval Base Guam June 19.

The unexploded ordnance (UXO), a M65 general purpose high-explosive bomb, which was the largest found on Guam since 1972, was discovered June 14 by a back hoe operator working on construction of a new parking lot behind the Charles King Gym on base.

According to Lt. Brent Wadsworth, officer in charge of EOD Det. Marianas, there were many precautions set in place before technicians attempted to defuse the bomb.

"We determined that the bomb would produce a blast wave that would reach approximately 3,000 feet. All personnel were ordered to relocate outside of this area," he said. "We also determined that fragments from the bomb could reach as far as 5,000 feet. So personnel 3,000-5,000 feet from the bomb were ordered to remain indoors."

A 180-degree barrier was also constructed around the bomb to minimize potential damage to nearby buildings.

"Our main concern was making sure that everyone remained safe during this evolution," Wadsworth said. "Personnel come first, then property."

The team attached a rocket wrench to the bomb, then removed the fuse remotely after all personnel and team members had reached a safe distance.

"About 60 percent of UXO can be moved without such procedures, due to damage to the fuse, or the type of fuse used. This wasn't one of those cases," Wadsworth said. "We opted to use a rocket wrench with an electric Mark 186 remote firing device. After activation and a five-minute wait period, upon inspection, we saw that the fuse had been successfully removed."

Wadsworth said if the rocket wrench had failed to remove the fuse, EOD technicians would have had to remove the fuse manually.

"Our job is inherently dangerous. Each of my team members were prepared to manually defuse the UXO had the rocket wrench failed," Wadsworth said. "This is what we do, and it is an honor to be able to protect the lives of our fellow Sailors and their families."

In 2009, EOD Det Marianas performed 33 render-safe procedures of UXO; responded to 126 emergency calls, 44 on base, 67 off base, and 15 off island; and disposed of 7,061 ordnance items, with a 10,755 pound net explosive weight.

The mission of EOD Det. Marianas is to render safe all types of ordnance, conventional and unconventional, improvised, chemical, biological, and nuclear to include improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction. They perform land and underwater location, identification, render-safe, and recovery or disposal of foreign and domestic ordnance. They conduct demolition of hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics, and retrograde explosives using detonation and burning techniques.

Puerto Rican Troops, Families Need New Birth Certificates

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

June 21, 2010 - Servicemembers and their families who were born in Puerto Rico will need to obtain a new birth certificate starting July 1, although the Defense Department will honor the certificate they used to establish their identity and to enroll for military benefits prior to that date, a defense official said.

The Puerto Rican government, in cooperation with the departments of State and Homeland Security, has enacted a new law that invalidates all Puerto Rico birth certificates issued on or before June 30. The law, which takes effect July 1, is intended to combat the fraudulent use of Puerto Rico birth certificates to obtain U.S. passports, Social Security benefits and other federal services, according to the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.

Within the Defense Department, officials will accept only the new, certified birth certificate for initial enrollment into the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System as of July 1, said Heidi Boyd, senior policy analyst for Defense Department ID card policy. DEERS is the department's database of servicemembers, their family members and others who are eligible for military benefits, including the Tricare military health plan.

However, the birth certificate used by servicemembers and their families to enroll in DEERS prior to July 1 will remain valid and they will remain enrolled, Boyd said.

"Identity is very important for [the Defense Department], and we need as much as we can to establish identity," she said. "But we're not going to take someone's benefits away. We're going to make sure everyone gets the coverage and entitlements they're supposed to get through this process."

Still, Boyd recommends that servicemembers, their families, Defense Department civilians and contractors born in Puerto Rico apply for a new birth certificate for identification purposes, including ID card renewal.

"People with an old birth certificate should do the best they can to get a new one as quickly as possible," she advised. "And we'll do everything we can to make sure the process is easy for them and benefits are not disrupted."

People can apply for a new certificate online at http://pr.gov, or through the mail by completing an application available at http://www.salud.gov.pr/Programas/RegistroDemografico/Documents/Birth%20Certificate%20Application.pdf.

While people can apply now, the government won't start issuing the new birth certificates until July 1, Boyd noted.

The Defense Department also is working with the Puerto Rican government to establish an expedited mail-in system for military members, according to Christopher Arendt, deputy director of accession policy. This system, he added, still is in the planning stages, and people should continue to apply online until it's launched.

After July 1, people who have applied for but haven't yet received the new birth certificate and require DEERS enrollment or an ID card issuance or renewal can obtain a temporary 90-day card through their military service branch, Boyd said. She also encouraged servicemembers and their families to keep alternate documents, such as a passport or driver's license, on hand to establish identity and eligibility.

U.S Army Medical Research Unit: Improving Malaria Diagnosis in Africa, One Lab at a Time

Rick Scavetta
US Army Africa

June 21, 2010 - Inside Rachuonyo district hospital, Simba Mobagi peers through his laboratory's only microscope at a sick woman's blood sample.

The 33-year-old laboratory technologist's goal - rapidly identifying malaria parasites. Dozens more samples await his eyes. Each represents a patient suffering outside on wooden benches.

Mogabi takes little time to ponder his workload. He quickly finds malaria parasites, marks his findings on a pink patient record and moves to the next slide. Much to his surprise, a U.S. Army officer arrives, removes his black beret and sets down a large box.

Inside Maj. Eric Wagar's box is a new microscope - a small gesture within U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Kenya's larger efforts to improve malaria diagnostics in Africa.

For more than 40 years, USAMRU-K - known locally as the Walter Reed Project - has studied diseases in East Africa through a partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

Wagar heads USAMRU-K's Malaria Diagnostics and Control Center of Excellence in Kisumu, a unique establishment begun in 2004 that's since trained more than 650 laboratory specialist to better their malaria microscopy skills.

"Working with the Walter Reed Project is so good for the community, as it benefits the patient," Mobagi said, who is looking forward to attending the center's malaria diagnostics course. "Plus, having a new microscope improves our work environment. Work will be easier and we will have better outcomes."

Back in Kisumu, wall maps mark the center's success, with hundreds of trained lab technicians from more than a dozen countries across the African continent. International students have come from Ireland, the U.S. and Thailand.

Many students are sponsored through U.S. government aid programs aimed at reducing disease in Africa or by nongovernmental organizations. Most of the center's $450,000 annual budget comes from the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative. Other funding is from the U.S. Defense Department, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies.

For students to practice malaria identification, five Kenyan lab technicians work tirelessly to create a variety of blood specimens. Slides may show one or more of malaria's several species - others are free of parasites. The majority of malaria cases are the falciparum species, but many people are co-infected with other species and it's important for students to recognize that, Wagar said.

"At our course, lab students learn skills and habits that increase their ability to accurately detect malaria on blood slides. Yet, when they return to their local laboratories, they face the challenge of changing habits and procedures," Wagar said. "Changing behavior is hard to do."

In late-April, Wagar accompanied Jew Ochola, 28, the center's daily operations manager to Oyugis, the district center of Rachuonyo that lies roughly 30 miles south of Kisumu in Kenya's Nyanza province.

"First I do an assessment of the hospital's lab, what procedures they have, the number of people on staff and the equipment they use," Ochola said. "By partnering with laboratory managers, we hope to increase standards and improve efficient and effective diagnosis.

The goal is to lessen the burden of malaria on the local people."

To mark progress, lab staffs must collect 20 slides each month that show properly handled blood samples. Monthly visits will mark performance improvement.

Through quality malaria diagnosis, USAMRU-K is part of a larger public health effort to reduce malaria's impacts on Kenyan's lives. Illness means paying for treatment and less wages earned, creating an impact on the economy.

"By mitigating a public health burden, people should have more time to grow food and have money for things other than medical care," Wagar said. "We can't expect to see change right away, but hopefully things will be a little bit better every month."

Working with the Djibouti-based Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa and other DoD agencies, the center recently offered microscopy courses through U.S. military partnership events in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. The effort supports U.S. Army Africa's strategic engagement goal of increasing capabilities and strengthening capacity with the militaries of African nations, Wagar said.

"To date, that includes eight Kenyan military lab techs, 17 from the Tanzania People's Defense Force and 30 Nigerians," Wagar said.

Accurate diagnosis is also a key factor for military readiness, Wagar said. For example, a Kenyan soldier stationed in Nairobi - where malaria is less prevalent - is susceptible to the disease if posted elsewhere in the country.

"Improving malaria diagnosis within African military laboratories sets conditions for healthier troops," Wagar said. "When forces are healthy, they are more capable to support their government and regional security."

Quilters wrap up order just in time

June 21, 2010 - When the Soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Brigade arrive at Fort Hood, Texas June 20, it's quite possible that more than 400 quilts will be waiting there for them.

That's a tribute to the army of volunteers who support the Camo Quilt Project - a venture Plymouth resident Linda Wieck began shortly after her son-in-law Todd Richter, now a sergeant 1st class with the Wisconsin Army National Guard, deployed to Iraq in 2006.

According to Wieck, American Legion member Mike Rohan requested 404 quilts for the 147th - a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter battalion which will head to Iraq in several weeks - less than three weeks ago. That's a tall order by any measure.

"I think my volunteers do their best work under pressure," Wieck said.

One quilt was presented to Lt. Col. Martin Pond, commander of the 147th, during a sendoff ceremony Friday, June 18 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

"This is one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever seen," Pond replied, prompting a standing ovation from the battalion.

Voice trembling with emotion and nerves - she had never addressed Soldiers at a sendoff ceremony before - Wieck spoke to the battalion about how her son-in-law's fellow Soldiers saw his custom quilt, made of Army Combat Uniform-patterned material, and asked if she could make more. More than 4,700 quilts later, she is still making quilts for deployed or deploying service members.

"I don't get sick of it," she said after the ceremony. "[My husband] Duane asks me if I'm ever coming home. I love doing it."

Su Timmerman of Madison began volunteering for the Camo Quilt Project in May 2009, and has made more than 300 quilts since then.

"It's something that is so useful," she said of the quilts - a thin quilted blanket with cotton batting approximately 45 inches wide by 72 inches long - about the right size for an army cot, suitable for a twin mattress. The quilt folds lengthwise in thirds and rolls up into a tight package about 15 inches long and 5 inches diameter, held in place with four attached straps. Thanks to donated materials and labor, service members do not pay for the quilts. "It just makes me feel proud that I can do something beneficial."

Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, praised the program.

"I think it's wonderful," he said. "The quilt is fabulous. What's special about it is this group of volunteers, these sweet ladies, thinks so much of our Soldiers to make these quilts. It's a perfect metaphor for the citizens of Wisconsin and their support of our Citizen Soldiers."

Fort Carson Family Brings Service Into Focus

June 21, 2010 - DALLAS – From an infant excited to see his deployed father to a family saluting the flag during retreat, photos submitted in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Patriot Family “My Photo” contest honored images of patriotism, heartbreak and hope.

Of the entries submitted, five winners were selected by a panel of AAFES military and civilian leaders.

“All of the submissions came with a brief explanation, but the photos, for the most, told the big picture story of life in the military,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffry Helm, AAFES senior enlisted advisor. “All of them pulled at heartstrings and offered tremendous insight into the daily lives of America’s war fighters.”

The grand prize winner was a photo of infant Henry greeting his deployed father, Maj. Kyle Upshaw, through a digital camera connection on a laptop.

According to Henry’s mother Amy of Colorado Springs, Colo., it’s the highlight of his week to ‘see’ his daddy who’s on a 12-month deployment in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

For her entry, Amy (and her family) received a Casio Exilim EX-H1 digital camera valued at approximately $300, $50 worth of digital print services at RitzPix.com and a $500 AAFES gift card.

In addition to the photo of Henry and his father, first place winner, Kaokalia Yang of El Paso, Texas, received a $300 AAFES gift card, Nicolette Lanius of Fort Bragg, N.C., took second place honors and a $200 gift card, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. C.W. “Bill” Getz of Fairfield, Calif., and Brooke Conover or Fort Polk, La., received $50 AAFES gift cards as runners-up.