Thursday, June 24, 2010

APS Main Planning Conference Kicks Off

By Lt. Nate Curtis, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe -Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

June 24, 2010 - PARIS (NNS) -- More than 200 military, government and civilian personnel from 21 African countries, six European countries and the United States met in Paris June 22, to begin planning for Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiatives to take place in 2011.

"Our partnerships continue to grow," said Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, deputy chief of staff for strategy, resources and policy at U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. "This is the largest number of participants in any APS planning conference to date, especially from our African partners, our most important participants in this conference."

During the APS main planning conference, U.S. and partner nation representatives will collaborate to develop plans for maritime exercises, training events and port visits in Africa.

"Naval Forces Europe and Africa recognize the benefit of assembling a diverse and focused group of professionals with the common goal of improving maritime security throughout Africa," said Hueber.

APS is an international initiative developed by Naval Forces Europe-Africa that aims to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

US, Japanese Children Share Cultural Exchange in Yokohama

By Mass Communication Specialist Brock A. Taylor, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan

June 24, 2010 - YOKOHAMA, Japan (NNS) -- Japanese and American children learned about each other's culture during a special event held at Fleet Activities Yokosuka Negishi housing complex's Richard E. Byrd Elementary School June 23.

Negishi's Child Development Center (CDC), in coordination with Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Yokohama Detachment, hosted 32 Japanese students from Shin Yokohama's Mama Shinohara Preschool. The five and six year-old children spent several hours singing and dancing, playing.

Negishi's CDC Director Sue Proctor said this is the first time the center has reached out to the community in this manner.

"This will teach these kids a lot about diversity," said Proctor. "Children are never too young to learn about other cultures and see how other people live, so that they can learn from an early age how to get along with everyone in the world."

As Japanese students made their way to the school's cafeteria, CDC students welcomed them with open arms. The American children broke the ice quickly with a few popular children's song and dance routines and Japanese children then shared a few songs.

Culinary Specialist 1st Class (AW) Anthony Sykes from Chicago, who volunteers a lot of his time with community outreach projects, said this is one event that truly displays the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

"These kids are just having a good time," Sykes said. "They are young and this is the perfect time to show them that times have changed and as they grow up they will see how we have become tighter and stronger," he added, referencing the bond between U.S. and Japan.

Japanese students were also treated to traditional American fare, with a hot dog and hamburger lunch.

"I am grateful that we got a chance to come here today and everyone had a really great time. We hope to do this again soon," Mama Shinohara's Principal Katsuko Niwa said.



Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, Portland, Ore., was awarded on June 23 a $74,562,100 firm-fixed-price contract. This delivery order is to add additional vehicle variants of 70 M915A5 to the contract. Work is to be performed in Portland, Ore., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-00-D-S022).

Merrick Construction Co., Cottonport, La., was awarded on June 23 a $22,500,003 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for "West bank and Vicinity- 37, New Orleans, Hurricane Protection Project, Fronting Protection, Ames/Mt. Kennedy Pumping Stations, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana." Work is to be performed in Jefferson Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 2, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with 11 bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0093).

DRS Environmental Systems, Inc., Florence, Ky., was awarded on June 23 a $14,446,206 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for a joint services transportable decontamination system used to apply high-pressure, hot soapy water to vehicles, other equipment, and potentially personnel in the case of chemical or biological incidents. Work is to be performed in Florence, Ky., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 24, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center Natick Contracting Division, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (M67004-06-D-0007).

Central Power Systems & Services, Inc., Liberty, Mo., was awarded on June 23 an $8,566,114 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for 12,952 Detroit Diesel reliabilt fuel injector nozzles, product number R5234775; and 12,952 Detroit Diesel cylinder kits, product number 23524344. Quantities include base and option years. Work is to be performed in Liberty, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 13, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas, is the contracting activity (W911RQ-10-D-0006).

McNeil Technologies, Springfield, Va., was awarded on June 23 a $6,399,950 firm-fixed-price contract for atmospheric, advisory and analysis services in Iraq. Work is to be performed in Iraq, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 14, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-10-D-0022).


Rockwell Collins, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded a $49,000,000 contract which will develop, demonstrate, and transition the tactical targeting network technology and related interoperable technologies such a Quint network technology to support information exchange between the Tactical Edge platforms and users within the Department of Defense. At this time, $3,398,117 has been obligated. AFRL/RIKE, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-10-D-0042).


EMCOR Government Services, Inc., Arlington, Va., is being awarded a $22,803,225 firm-fixed-price, estimated indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for regional base operating support services at Naval District Washington. The work to be performed provides for regional base operating support services including, but not limited: to facility investment; pest control; grounds maintenance; fire protection; janitorial; refuse collection; and snow removal. The maximum dollar value is $179,267,589, including the base period, four option years, and three award option years. Work will be performed at various government facilities in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., within a 100-mile radius of the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., including, but not limited to: the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C.; National Maritime Intelligence Center, Suitland, Md.; Defense Intelligence Analysis Center, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.; Fort Washington Facility, Fort Washington, Md.; Anacostia Annex, Washington, D.C.; Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.; Arlington Service Center, Arlington, Va.; National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.; Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock, Md.; Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Stump Neck, Md.; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Md.; Naval Research Laboratory, Annapolis, Md.; Naval Research Laboratory, Quantico, Va.; and Defense Intelligence Agency, Tyson's Corner, Va. Work is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds do not expire at the end of this fiscal year. This contract was competitively solicited via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with eight proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N40080-10-D-0464).

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $19,644,010 firm-fixed-price modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) delivery order #0012, for a three month extension of 216 field service representatives (FSR) to complete independent suspension system kit installation on the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle fleet at the MRAP sustainment facility in Kuwait and the associated life support required for the FSRs. Work will be performed in Kuwait, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $19,644,010 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin, Information Systems and Global Services, King of Prussia, Pa., is being awarded a $16,575,612 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the maintenance, upgrade and development of Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System software. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($14,475,612; 87.4 percent) and the government of the United Kingdom ($2,100,000; 12.6 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in King of Prussia, Pa., and is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $107,410 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-C-0064).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Aerospace Systems, Battle Management and Engagement Systems Division, Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $9,500,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N61331-05-C-0049) for continued post-delivery technical support (PDTS) and provisioned item order support for the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) units. This modification is to increase the contract ceiling and period of performance for the contractor to provide PDTS of ALMDS low-rate initial production units. The PDTS support will consist of the following: modify and/or repair delivered hardware; modify or build new ALMDS system components to resolve producibility, obsolescence, and end-of-life issues; update the technical data package with respect to the changes implemented; provide maintenance of delivered hardware as well as provide software maintenance required; and provide the software upgrades and modifications required to optimize the performance of ALMDS. The modification will also provide required engineering services consisting of systems engineering; configuration and data management; quality assurance; manufacturing; test and evaluation; generating of presentations, white papers, trade studies; and development, tracking and updating of metrics. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity.

ATAC*, Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $8,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to develop and provide upgrades to the Naval Air Simulation Model System at Naval and Marine Corps installations, as well as other Department of Defense facilities in the continental U.S. and Hawaii. The work to be performed provides for airfield, airspace and range analyses of existing and/or proposed operations at activities and to develop and compile information on mission changes for the Navy's Air Installations Compatible Use Zones and National Environmental Policy Act requirements. No task orders are being issued at this time. Work may also be performed within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic area of responsibility. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of June 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was procured as a sole-source acquisition under statutory authority 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N62470-10-D-2007).

Allan C. Bamforth, Jr, Engineer Surveyor, Ltd.*, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a maximum $7,500,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect/engineering (A&E) contract for A&E services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility (AOR). Task order #0001, at $665,076, will provide A&E services for the construction of a child development center at Courthouse Bay, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Work for this task order is expected to be completed April 2012. All work on this contract will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the Mid-Atlantic AOR including, but not limited to: North Carolina (70 percent); Virginia (20 percent); Pennsylvania (2 percent); New Jersey (2 percent); Rhode Island (2 percent); Connecticut (2 percent); and Maine (2 percent). Work is expected to be completed by June 2015. 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 35 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-D-5304).

York River Electric, Inc.*, Yorktown, Va., is being awarded $6,074,711 for firm-fixed-price task order #0007 under a previously awarded multiple-award construction contract (N40085-05-D-5035) for industrial access improvements, Main Gate 15 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The work to be performed provides for industrial access improvements consisting of security and crash gates; hardened fencing and guard house; and associated site improvements. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2012. Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for the task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

BlueJacket's Host Baseball Clinic at Naval Base Kitsap

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

June 24, 2010 - SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- A local baseball team taught military children of all ages baseball fundamentals at the Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor Trident Lakes Park June 23.

The Kitsap BlueJackets baseball team, in collaboration with the Navy's Children and Youth Programs, hosted a free clinic on fielding, hitting and throwing. The team manager and several players conducted the instruction.

"Last year we had 20 kids sign up for this event, and this year it has grown to up to 120 kids participating. We hope to continue this baseball clinic each summer," said Chelsea McIntyre, Child and Youth Programs sports coordinator. "This is a great opportunity for the kids to get a chance to meet the BlueJackets baseball team members and learn about the sport."

"The children are very excited to meet the team mascot and have a chance to learn about life skills and how to be a team player," added McIntyre.

Trevor Bloom, BlueJackets baseball team member from Sacramento State, said being able to give back to the community means a lot to him.

"It is important to give back to our military community because these kids' parents do a lot for our country, and this is how we can show our support to the service members who continue to protect our nation," said Bloom. "I love teaching kids how to play baseball, and I enjoy being able to teach them about a sport I am passionate about."

Children experienced a day filled with sport activities and baseball drills. They were also treated to a barbeque and took photos with the team mascot.

Chief Sonar Technician (Submarine)(SS) Jorge Lara, USS Ohio (SSGN 726) (Blue) information technology leading chief petty officer, from Brownsville, Texas, said the clinic teaches the children about more than just the game.

"This is a great program for the kids because they learn about baseball and also about the importance of teamwork," said Lara. "This is a good opportunity for children to learn about a new sport and be involved with the community."

Washington Nationals Host Navy Day

By Mass Communication Specialist (EXW) Jennifer A. Villalovos, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Public Affairs

June 24, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Sailors were honored at a Major League Baseball game during Navy Day at the Washington Nationals ballpark June 23.

The Washington Nationals paid tribute to and recognized Sailors for their outstanding service to the nation.

Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Eugene Padden, 2009 Chief of Naval Operations Junior Sailor of the Year, had the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the game against the Kansas City Royals.

"I was shocked and excited when I first found out I was selected to throw out the first pitch. This was a once in a lifetime experience. Excitement very quickly turned into nervousness and I had to keep thinking positive and just get out there and throw the ball," said Padden.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Oluyinka Adefisan, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Sailor of the Year, stationed at National Naval Medical Center Bethesda announced, "play ball" before the start of the game.

Adefisan said he felt proud to be chosen to take part in the pregame events and it was one of the best moments of his life. He never thought he would have the opportunity to be involved in any major league sporting event.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West also participated in the pregame events as the holder of the lineup card in the ceremonial meeting at home plate with Rick Eckstein, hitting coach for the Washington Nationals.

"Any time our Sailors are recognized for the hard work they do is great. Being out here at the Nationals game and seeing the support and respect from the teams and crowd makes me very proud to be in the Navy," said West.

The pregame ceremonies included Sailors from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Color Guard and Chief Musician Daryl Duff, from the U.S. Navy Band who sang the national anthem and "God Bless America."

The game ended with a Kansas City Royals win over Washington Nationals with a final score of 1-0.

Pentagon Marks 60th Anniversary of the Korean War

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

June 24, 2010 - Flanked by Korean War veterans, many proudly bearing the medals and insignias of their military service, defense officials commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Korean War and saluted the veterans during a ceremony held at the Pentagon here today. "Americans have always been defined by their courage and character and incredible optimism about their country and its values," said Joseph W. Westphal, undersecretary of the Army and the event's keynote speaker. "Korean war veterans are examples of that."

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea launched an attack on South Korea in an effort to place all of Korea under communist rule. By September 1950, the efforts of U.N., United States and South Korean forces held the North Koreans in check at the Pusan Perimeter.

The war would last three years. Afterward, Korea would remain divided into a free, democratic South and a communist-dominated North. The United States since has had a "long and proud" relationship with South Korea, Westphal said.

During the past 60 years, more than 3.5 million Americans have served military duty tours in Korea, Westphal said. The 28,500 U.S. servicemembers who serve in South Korea today, under the leadership of Army Gen. Walter L. Sharp, he said, exemplify the nation's ongoing commitment to the defense of South Korea.

South Korea "is a critical ally, a valued partner, an honored friend of the United States," he said.

Westphal paid tribute to Korean War veterans, and shared the story of Ronald Rosser, who flew in from Ohio to attend the ceremony. In January 1952, he said, then-Army Cpl. Ronald Rosser's unit, Company L, 38th Infantry Regiment, was stopped by heavy fire while assaulting enemy hill positions near the town of Ponggilli, Korea. Armed with only a carbine and a grenade, the 22-year-old Rosser charged the enemy position. Three times he ran out of ammunition and three times he returned to the hill. Although injured himself, he then helped deliver other wounded servicemembers to safety.

Rosser single-handedly killed at least 13 of the enemy that day, and for his actions was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In an interview after the ceremony, Rosser, now 81, said it was an honor to serve "and in a small way" assist 50 million South Korean citizens to enjoy the benefits of a free and democratic society.

"Not many people can say that," Rosser said.

Westphal urged Americans to never forget veterans like Rosser. "Let's never forget freedom is not free and we can never stop thanking those who have paid and continue to pay that price so that we can enjoy the liberty and pursuit of happiness," he said.

Han Duk-soo, ambassador of South Korea, also spoke at the event. Thanks to the courage of Korean War veterans, the ambassador said, "Korean flags still fly over the Republic of Korea and the Korea-U.S. alliance, an alliance forged in blood, is still strong and valued by both sides today. This is why we call the Korean War a true victory."

"You won freedom, democracy and prosperity for our nation," the ambassador told the Korean War veterans.

Today, South Korea serves alongside the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan and the waters of Somalia, the ambassador said.

"As the U.S. partner and friend, South Korea is and will be by your side," he said. "Through your bravery and sacrifice you veterans made that possible.

"So today, we honor you and the 36,000 of your brothers-in-arms who gave their lives so that Korea could be free," the ambassador continued. "For that, the Korean people are eternally grateful to all of you and all of them."

The ceremony's pageantry contrasted with the reception many Korean War veterans received upon their homecoming.

"We came home and no one knew where we'd been," said Jack Keep, who served in the Navy during the Korean War.

"This is a great honor after all of those years, to have this recognition," Keep continued. "It's a blessing to our families to have their fathers and grandfathers honored as well."

"We appreciate the attention," added Keep's friend, Charles Hoak, an Army Korean War veteran. "It shows we're not forgotten."

Today's ceremony marked the beginning of the Defense Department's three-year observance of key events of the Korean War that will culminate with the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice on July 27, 2013.

Multi-National Submarines Participate in RIMPAC 2010

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge, COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

June 24, 2010 - PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Republic of Korea Submarine (ROKS) Lee Eokgi (SS 071) arrived here in early June, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) submarine Mochishio (SS 600) arrived Monday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise that began yesterday and continues through Aug. 1.

These two submarines, along with U.S. Navy submarines USS Bremerton (SSN 698), USS Pasadena (SSN 752) and USS Columbus (SSN 762), will participate in numerous operations displaying their warfare capabilities during RIMPAC.

RIMPAC is a multinational exercise that prepares forces to be interoperable and ready for a wide range of potential operations. The biennial exercise affords an opportunity to train and operate in a multinational environment, strengthening maritime partnerships while increasing personnel proficiency and honing participants' ability to adapt to changing environments.

"RIMPAC is a great opportunity to train and work together as a team, establish a strong partnership with various military forces and having the capability of executing any task." said Lt. Cmdr. Myungho Jung, executive officer of ROKS Lee Eokgi. "This mission has already presented a positive impact on the crew. To be able to communicate to each other with a full understanding, despite the language barrier, displays camaraderie, a true milestone in the career of each and every one of them."

The exercise is designed to enhance the tactical proficiency of units in a variety of sea operations. This year 14 nations, 32 ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 20,000 personnel will participate in the biennial RIMPAC in the Hawaiian operating area in, and around, the islands of Hawaii.

"This training exercise is of vital importance for the crew of Mochishio," said Cmdr. Yasuteru Ueta, commanding officer, JMSDF Mochishio. "To have the opportunity to compare and improve their submarine tactical skills and training techniques with not only U.S. forces, but with forces from all over the world will strengthen their knowledge in joint training operations."

"The crew of the Pasadena is excited to be a part of this multinational exercise," said Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Steve Boching, USS Pasadena assistant navigator. "RIMPAC is an excellent opportunity for us to strengthen ties with our allies and the numerous types of at-sea training attained will be invaluable to all submariners who are participating."

Hosted by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2010 is themed "Combined Agility, Synergy and Support," and marks the 22nd exercise in the series that originated in 1971.

Air Force chief of staff presents combat decorations, addresses 386th Airmen during visit

by Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/24/2010 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top military leader took time during a visit to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing June 22 to present combat decorations to two Airmen, both of whom were injured by the detonation of an improvised explosive device while driving in a supply convoy in Iraq.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented a Purple Heart and an Air Force Combat Action Medal to Senior Airman Brian Willard, a vehicle operator assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron here.

General Schwartz also presented vehicle operator Senior Airman Trent Cichy with an Air Force Combat Action Medal.

Senior Airmen Willard and Cichy were on a nighttime supply mission May 27 in Baghdad, when they realized that a new checkpoint had been erected, and road barriers were placed to funnel the convoy team from a three-lane passage into a single lane of traffic. To make matters worse, a sandstorm had swept through the area the day before.

Sandstorms inhibit visibility and provide cover to the enemy to place IEDs while going undetected, Airman Willard said.

"We had taken the route several times before, and these changes were very noticeable," Airman Willard said. "Looking back, I can see (the enemy) knew exactly where we were going."

Airman Willard said he doesn't remember the explosion, but he vividly recalls smoke filling the vehicle.

He said his next thought was about the rest of the team.

"At first, I thought, 'I'm alive,'" he said. "'How is everyone else?' We all checked on each other, and our adrenaline was through the roof. The training we get really kicked in."

He credited the basic combat convoy course he attended in San Antonio, with teaching his team how to react when responding to an IED attack.

The blast knocked out the truck's communications gear, but they were able to signal other vehicles. Within minutes, the team received help from other members of their convoy.

"No one saw where the blast came from," Airman Willard said. "But we all came together and got to where we needed to go."

Airman Willard received shrapnel wounds to the leg in the attack, and Airman Cichy incurred second-degree burns to his leg.

General Schwartz, accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, concluded the June 22 award ceremony by noting how teamwork played a vital role in the outcome.

"Everybody matters," he said. "We are a family. If everyone doesn't play their position, the team doesn't succeed."

He continued this theme during a wide-ranging commander's call that followed the ceremony, discussing the importance of everyone's role in today's fight.

That's especially true for the Airmen of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, who have been providing essential support for the responsible drawdown of U.S forces in Iraq for quite some time, General Schwartz said.

"In the past year, Airmen here have been involved in moving 600,000 pounds of cargo and 50,000 vehicles within the area of responsibility," he said. "The footprint in Iraq has been reduced to half, and Airmen have still managed to move personnel, do our jobs, deliver mail, make sure meals were available and ensure the mission is being done, which has been noticed.

"We are grateful and are proud of what you do," General Schwartz said.

General Schwartz also talked about joint expeditionary taskings, in which Airmen are assigned to deploy with other services to perform a variety of functions traditionally not associated with Airmen.

He said Airmen will continue to fill these JET assignments because they are necessary to ensure mission success, and because Airmen have proven their value to the fight.

"We often hear that the other services want our Airmen because we know how to get things done," he said. "We bring excellence and commitment."

General Schwartz concluded his commander's call by pledging his support for all Airmen.

"This is about keeping promises," he said. "We are keeping our promise to you to represent you. Let's continue to be proud of what we do, and be proud of our team."

Social visit helps fight wars

by Senior Airman Cynthia Spalding
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs

6/24/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AFNS) -- Sixteen general officers from 16 different countries joined Pacific Air Forces leaders June 17 in their premiere multinational large force employment exercise while building partnerships with senior airpower leaders from the global community.

The hosts of this year's Red Flag-Alaska Executive Observer Program were Gen. Gary L. North, the PACAF commander, and Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, the Alaskan Command commander.

"The biggest part of having these Airmen here from around the world for Red Flag-Alaska is building partnerships and being able to expose them to the benefits of training in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex," General Atkins said.

The general also said there is a significant value to the program when a nation's senior leaders continue to come back knowing what we can offer in Alaska, and allowing members of their air force to participate in Red Flag-Alaska.

Brig. Gen. James N. Post III, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, presented the observers with a Red Flag-Alaska overview, and the observers had an opportunity to tour the RF-A operations building and a flightline tour on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

During the program, General North, as well as several executive observers, participated in presentations and discussions on how Air Force officials integrate and synchronize service capabilities, resources and effects to meet national challenges.

"From a national perspective, we can't do contingency operations independently. We have to build coalitions, and it's the strength of those coalitions that allow us to be so successful," General Atkins said. "When you can get other air forces to understand your capability and figure out what they can contribute, then you become a stronger coalition. We've proven that to ourselves from past conferences, and since the Gulf War in 1990, that coalition warfare is the way to do business."

In having other countries' senior leaders come together to socialize and learn how other forces work, it can help them develop plans and ideals on how to work together and create alliances.

"There is a natural balance between a social setting in building friendships, and partnerships with a professional setting as well," General Atkins said.

"This week, we've seen individuals work together and share experiences that provide a unique bond. One day that bond may be the key to resolving a crisis or to remove barriers from the execution of a mission," said Chief Master Sgt. Brooke P. McLean, the PACAF command chief master sergeant.

Chief McLean also briefed the executive observers on PACAF enlisted force development.

"In building these personal partnerships, often the dividend does not come until years later," General Atkins said. "Then you can resolve the issues on a personal conduit, rather than from a national perspective. I can imagine that sometime in the future, that I may be able to pick up the phone and call one of these officers, discuss an issue and get it resolved because of the confidence that has been built between each other."

Delivery of new F-16s to Pakistan shows deepening relations

by Lisa Daniel and Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

6/24/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Three F-16 Fighting Falcons are scheduled to arrive in Pakistan June 26 with 15 more to be delivered later this year and next, said Maj. Todd Robbins, the Pakistan country director in the office of the undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs.

"This is the most visible part of a strong and growing relationship between the two air forces that will benefit us both near-term and long-term," he said.

This sale of F-16s to Pakistan renews new aircraft sales that existed between the United States and Pakistan in the 1980s, but were halted in the 1990s. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and other U.S. military and civilian leaders have spoken out about "not repeating the mistakes" of the U.S. halt in relations with Pakistan in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In March, the U.S. and Pakistan officials held their first ministerial-level strategic dialogue here, co-chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. High-level officials from both governments participated in the dialogue, including Secretary Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gates said then that the talks included discussion of "how we can help Pakistan in dealing with the security challenges that face them, but also face us and NATO as well."

The two countries held follow-up meetings in Pakistan in early June that focused on improving military-to-military relations and security cooperation, officials said.

Relations with Pakistan improved after Sept. 11, 2001, Robbins said, "and this is just one very tangible example of the currently strong and growing relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Pakistan air force and, in the larger context, between the United States and Pakistan."

The F-16 is a multirole jet fighter sold to 24 countries around the world, according to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. The 18 being sold to Pakistan are the Block 52 versions of the aircraft, Major Robbins said, which will give Pakistan new capabilities, including day-night, all-weather and precision-attack capabilities.

"They've not had (these capabilities) before, so this is a major milestone in the U.S. providing this capability, which older models (of F-16s) don't have," he said. "This will enable them to strike terrorists within their borders while helping them to avoid collateral damage. It's an increase in capabilities that are beneficial to us all."

Pakistan officials paid $1.4 billion for the 18 new aircraft, in addition to $1.3 billion in upgrades to its existing F-16 fleet, which are to begin being delivered in 2012, Major Robbins said.

Air Force members are also training Pakistan air force pilots. The first eight recently completed training with the Arizona National Guard in Tucson, Ariz.., with additional training done by Lockheed Martin, Robbins said. Air Force members are also training Pakistanis in night-attack training and recently completed training for four instructors and five flight leads, he said.

Wisconsin Guard Soldiers among citizens affected by recent tornadoes

Date: June 24, 2010
By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin National Guard

When wild winds, torrential rain and deadly tornadoes tear through Wisconsin, downing power lines and trees and destroying homes, the Wisconsin National Guard stands ready to respond if called. As it turns out, two Wisconsin Guard Soldiers were among those in need of assistance following Monday's powerful storms.

"I never, in my wildest dreams, thought a storm I was watching over top of me in Monroe would later demolish my home and neighborhood in Eagle," said Sgt. Josh Werner, a trumpet player for the Madison-based 132nd Army Band.

Werner's duty Monday (June 21) night was to entertain the residents of Monroe, instead the concert was cancelled and residents took cover as a tornado, traveling up to 130 mph, ripped through the area. It touched down in Eagle, Wis., destroying Werner's home and at least five other homes and damaging hundreds more.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, visited Werner and many Eagle residents Wednesday (June 23) as they assessed the damage from the air and ground.

"I had the opportunity to survey the area with Brig. Gen. Dunbar today, and as you would expect, we saw significant destruction," Doyle said. "But what I see here in the village of Eagle - and what I see on the faces of the crews and volunteers already hard at work to rebuild this community - is a determination to help those who have been affected, and return life to normal."

Susan Bolt of Wisconsin Emergency Management recommends the first non-emergency call should be made to the county Emergency Management office to notify them of any damage and see if there is any available assistance. Bolt also said those affected by severe storms or tornadoes can dial "211" from almost any county in Wisconsin to get a listing of available emergency and short-term housing assistance.

Service members are also encouraged to contact Military OneSource, a Defense Department organization that was established as a "one stop" place whenever service members or their families need any type of assistance. Military One Source advisors are available 24/7 at 1-800-342-9647.

Werner said his home has been declared a total loss and many personal possessions were lost, but after contacting Military OneSource, the Werner family discovered there are options available.

"I've contacted [Military OneSource] and they're taking care of a lot of that information for me so I don't have to contact 20 different people," Werner said. "They've also offered counseling sessions, clothing and help purchasing some of my family's immediate needs."

With so many issues his family now faces, Werner said Military OneSource has offered to help his family in whatever way they can.

Another tornado later touched down in the Big Bend/Muskego area just west of Milwaukee, and traveled about six miles. The tornado had recorded wind speeds around 105 mph and caused major tree damage and shingle damage to structures. A National Guard family in Muskego reported damage to their trees and vehicles.

The National Weather Service reported a total of five tornadoes touched down in four Wisconsin counties June 21. Wisconsin averages about 21 tornadoes per year with the majority occurring between May and August. Lori Getter, Wisconsin Emergency Management crisis communications manager, said every Wisconsin county has had a tornado strike in the last 20 years, so it's important to be prepared.

"It's important that every family have an emergency plan knowing where to go and what supplies to have on hand to make the difference in surviving severe weather or any disaster," Getter said.

National Guard Bureau aims high with Milwaukee launch of high-tech recruiting effort

Date: June 24, 2010
By Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze
128th Air Refueling Wing

Expectations are sky-high for the National Guard Bureau's new interactive recruiting program which the Wisconsin Air National Guard will launch at Summerfest.

The "Rise to the Challenge" tour program offers potential recruits a hands-on taste of the Air Guard through interactive simulations and mission-themed challenge kiosks, according to Master Sgt. Duane Butler, the marketing and outreach non-commissioned officer-in-charge for the National Guard Bureau.

In the refueling challenge, the player takes control of a B-2 Spirit "Stealth Bomber" and, using new augmented reality game play, the player has to fly up to a KC-135R Stratotanker to be refueled, Butler explained. The recon kiosk challenges players to examine satellite photographs for 10 seconds, and asks the players to answer questions regarding minute details from the image.

Players face three challenges at the medical kiosk, where augmented reality scenarios are used to perform procedures such as CPR, maintaining an open airway, and stabilizing a patient with a neck injury, Butler said.

"We will be one of the first displays to use augmented reality in an interactive display," he said.

Augmented reality scenarios involve a real-world environment that can be manipulated by a player, and is akin to a realistic video game. The games and interactive scenarios available in the Air National Guard's new outreach program were built specifically for the display, Butler explained.

The recruiting tour will "let [people] know what the Air National Guard does and how it can help them achieve their goals," he said.

According to Senior Master Sgt. Connie Bacik, the recruiting and retention superintendent for the Wisconsin Air National Guard, the new recruiting tour aims to bring the Air National Guard to the forefront of military recruiting.

"We won't be even with our competitors," Butler said. "We'll blow them out of the water."

"I think we're going to dominate," said Master Sgt. Angela Petri, the 128th Air Refueling Wing recruiting office supervisor. "We're usually the underdogs."

The "Rise to the Challenge" tour took off Monday (June 21) at the 128th Air Refueling Wing by filming a "sizzle reel" of Air National Guard recruiters interacting with potential recruits and hired actors.

"The reason I picked the 128th Air Refueling Wing, and Wisconsin as a whole, was because Wisconsin has one of the best recruiting teams and the 128th Air Refueling Wing has always been helpful," Butler said.

The new recruiting tour and outreach program will begin during this year's Summerfest in Milwaukee, Bacik said.

Summerfest runs from June 24 through July 4 at Milwaukee's lakefront. "Last year, Summerfest was rated as the number one outreach venue," she said. "Outreach events are huge, because even if we're not looking for [recruits], they keep people interested and maintain brand recognition."

Butler said the "Rise to the Challenge" tour will visit 38 events across the nation, including fairs, sporting events and NASCAR races.

Safety Center Leader Talks Shop With Yokosuka Sailors

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

June 24, 2010 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The commander of Naval Safety Center (NSC), visited Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) June 22-23 to tour the base and speak to the community about safety-related issues.

Rear Adm. Arthur Johnson and his staff delivered several safety-related briefs to Sailors and safety representatives of the forward-deployed naval forces. He also charged Sailors to come forth with their safety concerns and provide possible solutions.

"At NSC, we collect a lot of data and then we provide information on trends we find to the fleet," Johnson said. "This information can impact their decision making and behaviors and outcomes.

In his travels around the base, Johnson talked to as many Sailors as possible, picking their brains for deckplate safety concerns.

"I thought it was good that a two-star admiral would come out to work with people who actually do the job," said Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW) Richard Copeland. "He listened to our Sailors, was very attentive and concerned with the feedback our Sailors gave him."

"It was good to be able to address some of my concerns about training," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Chris Krueger. "I think the admiral will make sure our concerns are brought to the attention of some one who can change things."

One of the biggest awareness programs is the "Live to Play, Play to Live: Summer Safety 2010" campaign, which emphasizes all aspects of staying safe during the summer, both on and off duty. Johnson gave a presentation highlighting risks Sailors face at work and at play, then asked individual audience members how they cope with various risks.

"The primary purpose of our visit is to support the beginning of the summer safety campaign," said Johnson. "I think we may have started something positive by making Sailors realize they are an important part of the process. Their engagement is helping us find hazards and implement strategies."

Johnson noted that alcohol-related incidents still top the list of off-duty risks Sailors face, then stressed that there are simple ways for Sailors to mitigate these risks.

"First off, one thing Sailors can do to help us is to plan out activities; no one wakes up in the morning looking to have a bad day," Johnson said. "But you will have a bad day if you don't plan ahead.

"The second thing I would encourage all Sailors to do is to report hazards. As you go through your daily activities you may encounter a situation that needs to be addressed, I would encourage everyone to report that, so we can fix the problem. NSC's success is determined by each individual Sailor and Marine and the more we have them engaged the more successful we are."

For more information about summer safety visit

Education Activity Director Moved to New Post

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

June 24, 2010 - The leader of the Department of Defense Education Activity has been temporarily assigned to another job within the department, effective immediately, a defense official announced today.

Shirley Miles, who served as the activity's director since June 2008, will be detailed to military personnel policy, said Virginia S. Penrod, the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

Marilee Fitzgerald, acting undersecretary for civilian personnel policy, will become the activity's new acting director, she added.

Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, made the personnel change as part of an "evolving process" to ensure positions are structured properly within his organization, Penrod explained.

"One of [Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates'] charters to Dr. Stanley was to look at the personnel and readiness organization," Penrod said. "Stanley is looking at: 'Are we structured for success? Are we providing the most effective training and education? Are we supporting the mission?'

"He's made different moves, and I think he will continue to do that as he looks at where's the right fit for the organization," she added.

Penrod declined to give specifics on what Miles' specific duties will be within military personnel policy, but noted that her education expertise will be used to the organization's benefit.

Penrod said she has full confidence in the new director. Fitzgerald will have oversight of all Defense Department schools, which includes 191 schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 84,000 students, according to the activity's website.

Fitzgerald has extensive experience within the education activity, Penrod said, including prior positions as the activity's chief of staff, associate director of management, chief of executive services and chief of recruitment.

"She understands how the organization operates," Penrod said. "I think Marilee is an excellent choice to go into that position."

A memo announcing the change will be issued to the education activity's staff. As for the parents and students, Penrod said, the leadership change should be transparent.

Mullen Urges Support, Care for Nation's Veterans

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

June 24, 2010 - Today's generation of military members, veterans and their families is making an impact on American society that could be felt for generations to come, the nation's top military officer said here today.

Speaking to a group of political staffers, defense industry officials and reporters at The Hill newspaper's annual Tribute to the Troops breakfast this morning, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stressed the need to take care of veterans.

Their desire to serve the nation and make a difference in their communities is unmatched by any other generation in American history, he said, and the nation would be wise to meet the needs of veterans in their communities and take advantage of the qualities veterans offer.

"I've been so struck in these wars by the extraordinary service of the men and women who wear the uniform [and] their families to a degree and a level that I've just never seen before," Mullen said. He cited the "extraordinary propensity to serve" today's generation of troops and veterans exude.

"It's my belief [veterans] will continue to contribute to our society in ways we can't imagine, and a lot of it is certainly based on what they've learned since they've been in the military," he added.

The admiral discussed initiatives the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are spearheading in communities across the country. Mullen is spearheading a year-long effort to help communities realize the potential of veterans and how to integrate them into their societies. The future of the country depends on reaching out to veterans and involving them in their communities, he said.

"It should never be about veterans returning and seeing them as a burden," Mullen said. "It should be about veterans returning and seeing them with great potential to serve in the future and make a huge difference."

Such national initiatives also are ongoing with the Post 9/11 GI Bill and efforts to end homelessness among veterans. Along with their potential, Mullen said, the needs of veterans are too great to ignore.

"What hasn't changed over the course of these wars is [veterans'] dreams," he said. "They still want to raise a family, they want an education, they want two incomes, [and] they'd like to own a piece of the rock."

But while people at all levels of society want to help veterans, there's an inability to connect those needs with those who want to help, Mullen said. Building such relationships is more difficult than many may realize, he added.

Organizations throughout the country express their desire to help, but rather than focus on what they do best -- whether it's assisting homeless veterans, helping veterans market their skills to the civilian work force or helping them understand benefits they've earned to buy a home, some veteran outreach groups are burdened with raising resources, he said.

Mullen explained that he'd much rather help to connect such organizations with other groups for resources, he said. But it's a work in progress, he added.

The chairman said he is encouraged by the support the American people have shown today's servicemembers.

"As I travel throughout the country, I'm really uplifted by the American people who are so supportive of our men and women and who are looking for other ways to improve, increase and make an impact on their lives in terms of support because of their sacrifice," Mullen said. "These [troops and veterans] are the treasured individuals returning to your communities and can make such a difference."

America's future is in great hands with today's veterans leading tomorrow's communities, the chairman said.

"I think our future will be absolutely superb in many, many, many ways, simply because we have the best people we've ever had," Mullen told the group. "We need to make sure we not just recognize that they are the treasure, [but] that we protect, invest in, depend on them for the future. If we get that right, [the future] will be just fine, no matter what happens in the world. If we don't, it will dramatically increase the challenges."

USS Typhoon and Lebanese Sailors Share Techniques

From Expeditionary Strike Group 5 Public Affairs

June 24, 2010 - MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Sailors aboard costal patrol ship USS Typhoon (PC 5) played host to commissioned officers from the Lebanese navy June 14-18, while conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Lebanese officers were aboard Typhoon to participate in various professional exchanges and hands-on training on shipboard operations.

"Understanding the history behind regional conflicts, respecting religious beliefs, and having a firm understanding behind cultural differences builds a better coalition force for tomorrow's Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Kelley Jones, Tyhoon's commanding officer.

Typhoon's crew trained the Lebanese officers on shipboard and small boat recovery, familiarization firing exercise, engineering drills and evolutions and shipboard operations.

With the Lebanese officers' proficiency in speaking English, they were able to interact with the Sailors from Typhoon and learned about the way the crew operates on a daily basis to accomplish the mission.

"The Lebanese officers were able to take the new found tactical knowledge and training observed while on board and implement the takeaways to best fit their navy," said Jones.

Typhoon's primary mission is to conduct Maritime Security Operations to establish, maintain and enhance stability and security in the maritime environment and to deny enemy organizations access of the seas.

Submarine Group 9 Sailors Participate in Day of Caring

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gretchen M. Albrecht, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

June 24, 2010 - BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Submarine Group 9 participated in the United Way of Kitsap County's 17th Annual Day of Caring June 23.

Participants spent the day sprucing up the grounds of the Hospice of Kitsap County. Sailors pulled weeds, pruned flowers and laid bark in an effort to improve the appearance of the center which is home to patients who are terminally ill.

"It is great to see so many people here to help because we really rely on the support of the community and volunteers to help meet the patients and families needs," said Valerie Younger, deputy executive director of Hospice of Kitsap County. "The Sailors here have really impressed me with their hard work and ability to do so much with very little direction. We are so very grateful for their help."

For some Sailors, this was their first time volunteering.

"I wanted to take the time to give back to my community and today was a great opportunity," said Yeoman 1st Class Jeremy Stover, one of 20 Sailors who participated. "We had a great turnout today, and it was great to be able to work side by side with my shipmates for a good cause."

The United Way has been operating in Kitsap County since the 1930's, and has been engaging people to help out and make a difference in the community.

Beverly Kincaid, President of the United Way Kitsap County Board of Directors, was impressed with the discipline and drive each Sailor showed during the day's events.

"I saw such a great deal of teamwork and camaraderie from each volunteer," said Kincaid. "Even though this is a temporary home for the Sailors stationed here it is great to see that so many care about the community and are willing to help."

"I really like to volunteer and help out my community so when this opportunity came up I was glad to help," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Lyna McKeever. "Volunteering is a much more productive way to spend free time, and it gets people involved in something worthwhile."

The United Way Day of Caring event is held every year, with 30-50 projects in need of volunteers to help complete.

Kitsap Gives Sailors the Choice, "You Decide"

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

June 24, 2010 - BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- More than 100 Sailors from the Pacific Northwest attended a "You Decide" Destructive Decision Seminar held at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) June 23.

NBK Fire Department, Kitsap County Sheriff's Department and Mothers' Against Drunk Driving (MADD) were among those who took part in making this event possible.

"Regardless of where they're from, what their background is or how long they have been in the Navy, our folks certainly are faced with tough challenges every day," said NBK Command Master Chief Joseph Fahrney. "Some of those challenges result in destructive decisions, but from my perspective, it is important to make sure we continue the pulse on it. About once every quarter we do something like this event to make sure we bring all the experts from the community and within our military into one place to discuss the decisions our Sailors and Marines are making."

The seminar consisted of several briefs, true-life accounts, a slide presentation demonstrating the effects of peoples' choices and a mock crash with a life-like extraction.

"Our goal here is to make sure folks understand what options they have out there," said Fahrney. "And when they don't take those options, what kind of travesties can happen, whether it's domestic violence, blue-on-blue assault, drinking and driving…any of that stuff; it's all destructive, and it all hurts our mission."

When asked what kind of impact this event will have on Sailors, one Sailor and event volunteer said she hopes it wakes people up to the importance of what could happen.

"I think right now with so many Sailors, this is a good thing," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate Handling Airman Elizabeth Jurek, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. "This is a right-in-your-face approach to let them know that this could happen to you. I think that young Sailors, especially in my age range, need to see that this does go on…and they need to have it in their face."

Jurek also said she hopes Sailors realize the driver may not always be the one who is hurt, rather they could be responsible for someone else's death.

The loud sirens and visual aids caught one Sailor's attention.

"I think it will put things into perspective because of the visual aids, actually seeing first-hand rather than just hearing about it. I've been in six years and never have I seen anything like it…hopefully it will change people's minds about drinking and driving," said Sonar Technician (Submarine) 2nd Class Matthew Vine, USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735).

Odierno to Use Combat Lessons to Develop Joint Doctrine

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 24, 2010 - President Barack Obama's nominee for the top U.S. Joint Forces Command post said today he will utilize the lessons he has learned during three combat command tours in Iraq if he is confirmed to lead the nation's joint force provider.

During his confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno explained the approach he would take at the Norfolk, Va.-based command.

Odierno, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, also has served as commander Multinational Corps Iraq and was the commander of the 4th Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"My first priority will be to support all of our combatant commanders and prepare our U.S. joint interagency team to meet the needs of this evolutionary and complex environment in which we must continue to operate, and not only operate, but succeed," the general said. "I will never forget my responsibilities to ensure our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, as well as our dedicated families, are prepared and ready to take on all of the challenges ahead."

Odierno took time to brief the committee on the situation in Iraq, saying he is encouraged by the progress there. Iraq held national elections in March and sat its new parliament earlier this month. The process of forming a new government proceeds slowly, Odierno said, but is proceeding.

"We are working closely with Iraqi partners to enable a process that yields an inclusive governing body that is representative of the diversity of the nation and the results of the elections," he said. Terrorists continue to launch sporadic attacks in Iraq, but the overall decline in attacks continues. The number of civilian casualties also continues to decline, as well as the number of high-profile attacks.

All of this is happening as the number of U.S. personnel in Iraq is dropping and the mission is changing. Since June 30, 2009, the Iraqi security forces have assumed full responsibility for planning and executing security operations in their country.

"Working closely with the [U.S. Central Command] commander, secretary of defense and the president of the United States, we have developed a roadmap for the future of Iraq and our mission there," Odierno said.

Some 84,000 U.S. servicemembers are based in Iraq, down from 165,000 at the height of the surge in 2008. That number will drop to 50,000 by the end of August as part of the U.S.-Iraq security agreement. The American troops remaining will transition to an "advise and assist" role for Iraqi security forces. All U.S. troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011, according to the agreement.

"As we transition to a civilian-led presence, we will continue to conduct partnered counterterrorism operations and provide combat enablers to help the Iraqi security forces maintain pressure on the extremist networks," Odierno said. "But our primary mission will be to train, advise [and] assist the Iraqi security forces to protect the population against internal and external threats."

U.S. Forces Iraq will continue to support the U.S. embassy, the provincial reconstruction teams, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations dedicated to building

Iraqi governmental capacity, the general noted.

Odierno praised the efforts of U.S. servicemembers in all phases of warfare.

"In a complex and ever-changing operating environment, our servicemembers have displayed unparalleled adaptability and ingenuity to work through the toughest issues," the general said.

"If confirmed," he continued, "I'm committed to applying the lessons I've learned in almost five years as a division, corps, and force commander inside of Iraq. I will dedicate myself to ensure that, in my duties as the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, I plan to use that experience to develop our joint doctrine and capabilities, evolve our professional military education and support our servicemembers currently deployed around the world."

The armed services committee must vote on the nomination and, if approved, the full Senate must confirm the appointment. Odierno would replace Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis at the command.

Illinois Guard Veterans Recall Korean War

By Adriana Schroeder
Illinois National Guard

June 24, 2010 - June 25, 1950, marked the start of the Korean War, sometimes called "the forgotten war." Sixty years later, America is remembering those who served and those who were lost.

"A bleak and dismal place," is how retired Illinois National Guard Lt. Col. Don Sneed of Litchfield described his time in Korea in 1952.

Today's Illinois Guard members know that their military lineage is linked to their predecessors' Korean-War exploits of more than a half-century ago.

"We salute the Illinois National Guard Korean War veterans and honor them and all Korean War veterans for their commitment to country, and individual courage and sacrifice," said Army Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Illinois adjutant general. "The Korean War is often referred to as the 'forgotten war,' but I can assure you that the war is not forgotten by those who wear the uniform today; many of whom have served or are still serving on the Korean peninsula."

Fifteen Illinois National Guard units and their subordinate commands were called to federal service during the Korean War. Members of the largest unit, the 44th Division, boarded trains to Camp Cooke, Calif., in the winter of 1952. The division included about 7,000 soldiers from 78 towns around the state.

After weeks of training, the division's mission changed from combat readiness to training combat replacements. Called to serve as fillers for other divisions, thousands of soldiers from the 44th Division found themselves on landing craft, destined for a country they would not soon forget. Leaving behind a young wife and infant child, Sneed was one of these men.

Plucked from the front lines in the Kumhwa Valley, Sneed worked as a tactics instructor for the 25th Division's 14th Infantry Regiment.

"I would not take anything for the experience," Sneed said. "There were good days and bad days."

On one of the worst days, he received news he lost a cousin on Heartbreak Ridge, a famous battle fought in the hills of North Korea, just north of the pre-war boundary known as the 38th parallel.

After the war, Sneed continued to serve in the Illinois National Guard with the 33rd Division's 3rd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery, in East St. Louis and with the 66th Brigade in Decatur. He retired in 1982.

The 1903rd Engineer Aviation Battalion out of Chicago was the only organization that went as a whole unit to Korea. Stationed near Pusan, the 1903rd kept vital runways repaired, constructed much-needed buildings, and installed electrical lines, plumbing and refrigeration equipment in many areas. The engineers received a Presidential Unit Citation and were commended by the Korean government with a parade in their honor for the much-needed repairs the soldiers made in the local community in addition to their main mission.

Other Illinois units participated in large-scale maneuvers. The 184th Medical Company from Chicago served in Germany and engaged in an exercise called "West Wind," while the 170th Fighter Squadron in Chicago was involved in "Longhorn." Both exercises simulated atomic and chemical attacks.

Army Lt. Col. William D. Middleton, assistant chief of staff for the 44th Division during the Korean War, spoke with pride during his 1952 briefing to Illinois Gov. William Stratton.

"While most individuals of the 44th Division viewed the alert with consternation, it was with a grudging pride that we came to duty as we realized that the 44th had been called because it was one of the best," Middleton said. "If I may appear boastful, I will say that we knew we were good and were proud that the Department of the Army recognized us as such. I think I can speak for the command when I say that. Few of us desired active duty, but all of us were willing to do our duty as a National Guardsman in times of emergency."

Members of the Illinois National Guard were sent to Korea, Germany, and France, and they served from California to Massachusetts. Even though the Korean War began 60 years ago, experiences are still fresh in the minds of those who served.

National Guard to Deploy to Southwest Border

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

June 24, 2010 - About 1,200 National Guard troops will support the Homeland Security Department in enhancing the security of the nation's Southwest border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said here this week.

The Guardsmen will assist in ongoing efforts to secure the border and combat cartels, Napolitano said during remarks June 22 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies about ongoing Homeland Security initiatives and new strategies to bolster border security and enforce immigration laws.

The National Guard deployments have worked over the last 20 years in a coordinated fashion that frees up border patrol agents for other aspects of their duties, David Aguilar, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said during a panel discussion following Napolitano's remarks.

"Support from the National Guard - but yet a clear division: them not arresting, not engaging in enforcement activities directly attributed to any illegal crossings of either aliens, narcotics or things of that nature ...

has worked out very well," Aguilar said. "The National Guard ... will bring us a tremendous amount of capability in securing our borders."

Homeland Security officials work with federal, state, local, tribal and Mexican partners to crack down on border-related crime and smuggling while facilitating legitimate travel and commerce.

President Barack Obama has requested $500 million in supplemental funds for enhanced border security and law enforcement activities in addition to the deployment of National Guard troops.

Napolitano announced several additional initiatives that include creating new partnerships with state and local law enforcement, building information-sharing capabilities, enhancing technology, prioritizing the arrest and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and expanding unprecedented law enforcement partnerships with Mexico.

The National Guard supported the border security mission during Operation Jump Start from 2006 to 2008. The latest mission, employing 1,200 volunteers drawn from the four border states, will provide criminal investigative analysis and entry identification teams that will monitor the border from strategic observation points with state-of-the-art surveillance and detection tactics and technology for one year.

The deployment of National Guard troops is part of a multi-layered effort targeting illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons and money, Guard officials said.

Navy To Christen USNS Howard O. Lorenzen

June 24, 2010 - The Navy will christen the missile range instrumentation ship USNS Howard O. Lorenzen on Saturday, June 26, 2010, during a 1 p.m. CDT ceremony at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship honors the late Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) electrical engineer who was instrumental in the creation of our nation's electronic intelligence capabilities.

Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, willdeliver the ceremony's principal address. Susan Lorenzen Black, daughter of the ship's namesake, is the sponsor, and in accordance with Navy tradition, will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship.

Considered by many to be the 'Father of Electronic Warfare,' Lorenzen's accomplishments include developments in radar, electronic countermeasures systems and intelligence satellite designs. Lorenzen led the Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) program, the earliest successful reconnaissance satellite program and the first electronic intelligence satellite. NRL began the classified GRAB program shortly after the U-2 incident of 1960 to obtain information on Soviet air defense radars that could not be observed by military aircraft.

Designated T-AGM 25, Howard O. Lorenzen will provide a platform for monitoring missile launches and collecting data that can be used to improve missile efficiency and accuracy. Like the Navy's two current missile range instrumentation ships – USNS Observation Island and USNS Invincible – T-AGM 25 will be operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC) and conduct missions sponsored by the Air Force.

Built by VT Halter Marine Inc., in Pascagoula, the 12,575-ton ship is 534 feet in length, with a beam of 89 feet. As part of MSC's special mission program, Howard O. Lorenzen is designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and will have a combined crew of civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship, and military and civilian technicians from other government agencies who will operate shipboard monitoring equipment.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. Additional information about this class of ship is available on line at