Military News

Friday, June 25, 2010

Operation Homefront Receives $1M from Outback Steakhouse

From an Operation Homefront News Release

June 25, 2010 - A month-long campaign culminated yesterday with a $1 million gift from a restaurant chain to a nonprofit troop-support organization.

Operation Homefront received the donation at a reception held in an Outback Steakhouse restaurant here.

Participating Outback Steakhouse restaurants around the country held a "Thanks for Giving" campaign in March, in which customers could demonstrate support for the nation's servicemembers by ordering from a special "Red, White and Bloomin'" menu. A portion of the proceeds from menu sales during the March initiative contributed to the $1 million commitment Outback Steakhouse made to Operation Homefront, officials said.

"The generosity of Outback Steakhouse is an incredible testament of sustaining support to our servicemembers and their families," said Jim Knotts, chief executive officer of Operation Homefront. "With the ongoing deployments in Iraq, increased deployments to Afghanistan and severe economic challenges, the needs are greater than ever for basic necessities like food, utilities and rent. We know military families struggle in meeting the most basic of needs, and this generous $1 million donation will make a significant difference.

"As a result of Outback Steakhouse and country music superstar Tim McGraw's collaborative efforts," Knotts continued, "we are genuinely privileged to be able to accept this donation and thereby continue to serve our country by serving military families. Thank you for your continued partnership in this most-honorable endeavor."

Liz Smith, CEO of OSI Restaurant Partners -- a company that owns several restaurant chains, including Outback -- thanked servicemembers and their families for their service, and Outback customers for their support.

"The sacrifices that our troops and their families make so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in the United States is something Outback employees have recognized and appreciated since we opened our doors 22 years ago," she said. "As we express our sincere appreciation to those serving our country, we would also like to thank the countless Americans who rallied behind our 'Thanks for Giving' program."

In addition, Outback partnered with country music superstar Tim McGraw during his "Southern Voice" concert tour. Proceeds from a Southern Voice commemorative T-shirt also will be donated to Operation Homefront.

Operation Homefront provides direct services that alleviate emergency financial burdens for servicemembers and their families, as well as counseling and recovery support.

The group provides financial assistance with checks paid directly to mortgage lenders, auto mechanics, contractors, hospitals, doctors, dentists and other providers within 24 to 72 hours of receiving a complete application. Services include emergency food; emergency home repairs; financial assistance; critical baby items such as formula, food and diapers; vehicle repairs and donations; furniture; and household items.

Operation Homefront also operates two Operation Homefront Villages that offer free transitional housing where wounded warriors can live with their families as they undergo treatment in Washington, D.C., or San Antonio.

USS Essex Earns Inaugural VADM Bulkeley Award

By April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Essex (LHD-2) recently earned the inaugural Vice Adm. Bulkeley Award for Afloat Safety Culture.

June 25, 2010 - Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson, commander, Naval Safety Center (NSC), presented the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Troy Hart and safety officer, Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Aramburu with the award in a ceremony June 21 on board the Sasebo, Japan, based amphibious ship.

Johnson said the award recognizes the importance transparency and communications plays in reducing mishaps.

"This award symbolizes a culture shift toward transparency that is taking place and which benefits fleet readiness as a whole. By being willing to share what you've learned, you've raised awareness which leads to reduced mishaps," Johnson said.

Essex safety department Sailors contributed numerous articles to safety publications on lessons learned and best practices. Johnson also commended the ship for making the most of the petty officers assigned to the ship's safety department.

"USS Essex has empowered the ship's safety petty officers to be aggressive about identifying, reporting, and correcting minor hazards. This keeps those minor problems from becoming major problems," Johnson said.

Essex had a verified 51 percent reduction in accidents and injuries during the last two years and had no Class A or Class B mishaps in 2009. These are the most serious mishap classes.

The award is named for Vice Adm. John D. Bulkeley, a Navy officer who earned the Medal of Honor Award during World War II and who served as the head of the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) from 1967 to 1988. INSURV is responsible for inspecting ships prior to their deployments. It's known to be a rigorous inspection, but one that is needed to prevent mishaps.

FISC Yokosuka Fuels, Supplies, Supports Pacific Partnership 2010

By H. Sam Samuelson, U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka Public Affairs

June 25, 2010 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Humanitarian assistance teams based aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) are tapping into the theater-wide logistics network of U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Yokosuka, Japan, to support completion of multiple engineering and medical civic action projects during Pacific Partnership 2010 (PP 10).

Mercy is currently anchored off Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Humanitarian teams are wrapping up three fresh-water well-digging projects in the Udong and Takeo provinces, and medical and dental projects are in full swing at various health centers from Ratanakiri in the north to Sihanouk on the southern coast.

But when unforeseeable delays extended the operational timeline for completion of the wells, Navy Seabees needed more time. A communiqué was dispatched immediately to FISC Yokosuka with this situation report: "Decision made to extend Seabees in Cambodia to complete water wells. Changes/increases required for the following life-support contracts: hotels, consumables, transportation, translators."

FISC Yokosuka's PP 10 support plan was designed for precisely this situation and the reason a FISC Yokosuka contracting officer was already on the ground, in country, and ready to render contracts as needed to enable the Seabees to remain and complete their work.

Future mission ports for PP 10 will provide support to multiple sites in Indonesia, Palau, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. In each country, before the supporting ship arrives and humanitarian assistance teams even hit the ground, FISC Yokosuka will be in place, with a contracting officer or forward logistics support representative (LSR) on the ground, ready to support critical projects. "FISC Yokosuka is continually evaluating and improving its comprehensive logistics support plan for fleet activities in this AOR (area of responsibility)," said Lt. Luke Hodges, FISC Yokosuka PP 10 current operations officer. "From pre-deployment site surveys to the execution of last minute contracting actions, our proactive involvement and local presence at the mission sites has been critical to the efficient and effective execution of Pacific Partnership 2010."

Pacific Partnership is an annual humanitarian civic assistance mission which originated in 2006 and continues as a civic partnership among the United States government, other partners in the Western Pacific region and non-governmental organizations. The mission is intended to promote peace and theater security in the region.

Preparations for PP 10 are initiated about eight months in advance, including the anticipation and acquisition of material and required team support. A key component of logistics planning was FISC Yokosuka.

"The fact is, part of the planning included the understanding that you can't plan for everything," said FISC Yokosuka Operations Director Commander Eric Bach. "We entered the equation to be the local contact for emergent requirements."

Representatives were on the ground at each anticipated stop and available to resource any unplanned contingencies during the humanitarian civic action projects.

Previously, unanticipated or emergent needs on-scene first generated a flurry of phone calls, e-mails or messages from the country back to FISC Yokosuka where the realities of geography and multiple time zones might delay response.

"By putting FISC personnel on the ground in advance, we make them accessible to the people who are identifying emergent requirements. This facilitates unhindered communication which enables timely, accurate support for those requirements," said FISC's PP 10 Current Operations Officer Hodges. "FISC's initiative in this area has been extremely well-received by the aid teams and by the military treatment facility personnel on MERCY."

In addition to providing outstanding mission support, there is an added benefit as FISC Yokosuka contracting officers source emergent needs locally. "Another advantage to using the local market for material and services," Hodges said, "is that you benefit the local economy while providing humanitarian aid. There are legal limitations; we can't contract for everything in this way, but we take every allowable opportunity to support the community as a whole, which includes the use of local goods and services providers."

FISC Yokosuka, one of seven supply centers under Commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers (COMFISCS), is the Western Pacific region's largest Navy logistics command, includes more than 20 detachments, fuel terminals and sites from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam, from Misawa, Japan to Sydney, Australia.

COMFISCS comprises more than 6,400 military and civilian logistics professionals operating as a single cohesive team providing global logistics services from more than 200 locations worldwide. A component of the Naval Supply Systems Command, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., COMFISCS is part of a worldwide logistics network of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel providing combat capability through logistics.

Officials: Treaty Would Give Best Look at Russian Weapons

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2010 - Ratification of the new Strategic Arms Control and National Security Treaty would give the United States the most-detailed look possible into Russia's strategic nuclear forces, Pentagon officials told a Senate panel yesterday. James N. Miller, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and Kenneth A. Myers III, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and U.S. Strategic Command's Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction, were the latest senior Defense Department officials to testify before Congress in favor of the treaty's ratification. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty on April 8.

Miller and Myers told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the treaty's provisions for on-site inspections are an improvement on the previous START treaty. And, it's critical to resume such inspections, the two officials said, since the previous treaty expired in April 2009.

Miller said on-site inspections "provide the cornerstone of the treaty's verification regime," allowing U.S. inspectors into some of Russia's most-sensitive facilities.

"This, in turn, will establish a strong disincentive to Russian cheating," he said. "More broadly, these inspections and exhibitions will give us a detailed picture of Russia's strategic delivery systems and associated infrastructure."

The treaty allows the United States and Russia to conduct as many as 18 short-notice, on-site inspections each year, with as many as 10 "Type 1" inspections, which focus on strategic systems, such as ICBMs, submarines and bombers, and up to eight "Type 2" inspections, which cover storage sites, test ranges and other facilities, Miller said.

On-site inspections work in synergy with other elements of the treaty, including data exchanges on the technical characteristics, locations, and distribution of weapons, Miller said. Under the treaty, any changes in the status of strategic systems must be reported through timely notifications and biannual reports, he said.

On-site inspections will confirm that information, including the conversion or elimination of systems, Miller said.

"Inspections will not be 'shots in the dark,'" he said. "We can choose to inspect those facilities of greatest interest to us."

If the United States has concerns or sees ambiguities in Russia's reported data, U.S. officials will be able to raise them through a bilateral commission, or pursue the matter at higher levels, Miller said.

Myers, a former staff member of the committee, said the new treaty improves on the previous one by reducing the types of on-site inspections from nine to two, and by not providing for a baseline inspection of every facility. In negotiating the new treaty, both sides agreed that it would not be necessary to conduct baseline inspections at facilities that had been subject to inspection under the previous treaty, he said.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency will staff, train, equip, and lead U.S. inspection teams in Russia and escort Russian inspectors at U.S. facilities, Myers said. The agency, based at Fort Belvoir, Va., will maintain detachments at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as well as at its division in Darmstadt, Germany, he said.

Under the treaty, 35 facilities in Russia and 17 in the United States would be subject to inspections, Myers said. Russian inspectors would be permitted entry into the United States via Washington and San Francisco, escorted by DTRA officials, he said. Each side would have to give 32 hours notice during normal working hours before a short-notice inspection.

While the new treaty allows for fewer inspections than the previous one, Myers said, inspections of weapons systems will be more difficult. DTRA already is training inspection and escort personnel on the provisions of the new treaty, and their initial certifications are under way, he said.

"We will be prepared to carry out all of its inspection and escort provisions with the utmost accuracy and efficiency," Myers told the committee.

If ratified, the new treaty would be carried out in conjunction with the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, a 20-year-old effort to advance nuclear non-proliferation around the world, Miller said. As of June 21, the program has supported the elimination of 783 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 672 ICBM launchers; 651 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 476 SLBM launchers; 155 heavy bombers; 906 air-to-surface missiles; and deactivation of 7,545 nuclear warheads.

"The CTR program has made a tremendous contribution to U.S. national security and will continue to do so under the new START treaty," Miller said. Biological threat reduction now comprises 40 percent of the program's budget, he added.

The new treaty and the CTR program together are critical to national security, Miller said.

"This level of detailed information on Russian strategic forces could simply not be accumulated in the absence of a treaty verification regime," he said. "The new START, if ratified, will promote transparency and help avoid worst-case assumptions and planning."

Rumsfeld Says America is Servicemembers' Gift to Future

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2010 - America is U.S. servicemembers' gift to future generations, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today during the unveiling of his portrait at the Pentagon. "This country – which has treated me so well – exists and prospers because the members of the United States armed forces have volunteered to step forward and protect it," Rumsfeld said during a ceremony hosted by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. "In a very real sense, America is their gift to the future."

Gates said the Defense Department is one place in Washington where there is a degree of consistency and continuity, even as administrations and political parties change. The men who have served as defense secretary have experiences in common including "the challenges we face; the obstacles we have to overcome within this building and across the river; the changes we pursue to better-protect this country and do right by its men and women in uniform," Gates said.

Gates said Rumsfeld began his second stint as defense secretary on Jan. 20, 2001, with a mandate to transform the U.S. defense establishment from its Cold War posture, attitudes and moorings to a force ready to confront the threats of the 21st century.

"On a bright Tuesday morning in September, eight months into President [George W.] Bush's first term, a decade of slumber in a holiday from history came to a crashing halt," Gates said. "This country and this military learned how dangerous and unpredictable this new era could be, and saw in the starkest terms how necessary was the task of transforming this department to meet these challenges."

Rumsfeld inspired, educated and often charmed a wounded nation, the secretary said. Rumsfeld's first action on 9/11 was to rush to the aid of those killed and wounded in the attack. In the days and months after the attack, Americans heard straight talk from the podium about how the military really was going to "kill" America's enemies – "jarring stuff for a country grown accustomed to euphemisms and political correctness," Gates said.

And the world saw the rapid removal of two odious regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In addition to fighting America's enemies, Rumsfeld "simultaneously and doggedly pursued an agenda of institutional transformation and reform – grappling with inertia and vested interests like the champion wrestler he once was," Gates said. "The result is an American military that has become more agile, lethal, and prepared to deal with the full spectrum of conflict."

Rumsfeld famously brought his own unique and bracing style of personal management to the Pentagon bureaucracy, Gates said, citing Rumsfeld's habit of sending handwritten memos to his aides, who called them "snowflakes."

Military and civilian employees "soon discovered that snowflakes really could fall from above in the middle of August," Gates said. "Self-described as 'genetically impatient,' [Rumsfeld] did not brook much nonsense or suffer fools gladly – as many an unprepared briefer would find out the hard way."

Rumsfeld served as the 13th defense secretary from 1975 to 1977 and as the 21st secretary from 2001 to 2006. He is both the youngest and oldest man to serve as defense secretary.

Both of his official portraits will hang in the Pentagon. The newest, painted by Steven Polson, shows Rumsfeld at his stand-up desk with a picture of first-responders and soldiers unfurling the flag over the still-burning Pentagon on September 12, 2001.

The secretary, who will be 78 next week, joked that he has been alive for almost a third of the existence of the republic.

"I've seen our country in times of depression, prosperity, peace and turmoil, [through] exhilarating triumphs and agonizing wars," Rumsfeld said. "In my lifetime, our national leaders have had to tackle the worst economic depression, order troops into combat against the longest of odds on islands in the Pacific and battlefields in Europe, win legislative struggles that belatedly but finally brought equality to millions of Americans, right our battered ship of state after the Vietnam War and Watergate and win a 50-year struggle against a communist empire of boundless ambition an ideology of discredited lies.

"And we've seen this great nation take the offense after a devastating terrorist attack – one that shook the foundation of this building now almost nine years ago," he added.

America has survived all these crises "because we are a free people, blessed with a free economic system, a free political system," Rumsfeld said. "We're free to think and to act, to believe and to protest, to vote and petition, and yes, free to succeed, free to fail and free to start again."

The former defense secretary spoke about his favorite photo that brightly illustrates what freedom can accomplish: it is a satellite photo of the Korean peninsula taken at night. The free South Korea is bathed in light. In the communist North, a small glimmer of light is seen around the capital city of Pyongyang – otherwise the country is dark.

"They are exactly the same people north and south, exactly the same resources north and south, but those millions of Koreans who labor in the north work not for their families, but for a regime that enslaves them," Rumsfeld said.

The United States is free and the people of America are free to make their own choices, he pointed out.

"We can choose to engage the world and strengthen alliances with our friends and our trading relations, deter potential foes and to take the fight to them when necessary," Rumsfeld said. "Or we can retreat and make the tragic mistake of modeling our country after failing systems. If we choose the latter, let there be no doubt, we are certain to fail the generations that follow."

Rumsfeld said it was important to him and his wife, Joyce, that his second official portrait includes the photo of the Pentagon workers unfurling the American flag.

"It shows that the traits of resilience and perseverance – while remarkable – are not uncommon in those in this department," he said. "Those traits are what sustained this country, and what I saw every day in the men and women I served alongside months and years after the worst terrorist attack in our country's history."

It was a veritable who's who at the ceremony. Former defense secretaries William Cohen and Frank Carlucci attended. Retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers and retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace – who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff alongside Rumsfeld - were there with their wives. Former deputy secretaries Paul Wolfowitz and Gordon England, retired Air Force Gen. Joe Ralston, retired Navy Adm. Vern Clark, retired Navy Adm. Ed Giambastiani, former senior Pentagon correspondent Charlie Aldinger, and many, many more friends attended the event.

U.S. 4th Fleet Admiral Highlights Humanitarian Response, Partnerships in the Americas

From U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

June 25, 2010 - MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet spoke with various DOD Press Corps June 25, about the command's upcoming two-year anniversary in July 2010, humanitarian disaster relief in Haiti, as well as his experiences since taking command.

"The U.S. Navy supports a range of maritime operations with our partner navies throughout the region, but a major focus is in support of counter-illicit trafficking operations," said Rear Adm. Vic Guillory. "At any time I have a half a dozen ships, a dozen aircraft, and perhaps a thousand personnel throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, who are working with our partner nations under our tactical command Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in Key West on illicit trafficking activities."

Guillory responded to the first question from Cid Standifer of Inside the Navy, about the lessons learned from the 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti Jan. 12.

"Over the course of the last year, we've been on a path to mature the staff in behaviors, activities and processes to support a full range of operations, including humanitarian disaster response," said Guillory. "The devastating earthquake in Haiti accelerated that process with 4th Fleet, and the staff doubled in personnel with augmentees that came from the Navy around the world. We went from our usual number of deployed assets primarily focused around counter-illicit trafficking, to two dozen ships; an aircraft carrier, and amphibious ready groups with thousands of Marines, along with Military Sealift Command ships."

Guillory also commented on the tremendous job his staff performed during disaster relief operations in Haiti.

"I am so proud and impressed with how these terrific Sailors and civilian personnel performed," said Guillory. "We exercised exceptional command and control of those forces. The Navy gave us about 15,000 Sailors and Marines, and we returned them upon mission completion with all ten fingers and ten toes."

Sam Lagrone from Jane's Defense, asked about the current relationship between the U.S. and the countries within 4th Fleet's area of responsibility (AOR) after having some friction between some of the countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America from the re-establishment of the numbered fleet nearly two years ago.

"It was my top priority when I got this job," said Guillory. "I can report that I have visited just about every country in the region. During these visits, I have been warmly received and have engaged in productive discussion on a range of maritime topics. We've been able to enhance relationships with my counterparts in those navies. I think the relationships are healthy and improving."

Guillory closed with thanks to the individuals from the DOD news agencies for taking an interest in 4th Fleet and its role in the Navy and in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.

"I want to thank you very much," said Guillory. "It's easy for me to talk about what the Navy does in the U.S. Southern Command's (USSOUTHCOM) AOR. Our Navy's branding is 'Global Force for Good'. Hopefully you'll have the opportunity to see what that 'Global Force for Good' is also doing with our partners in the Caribbean, Central and South America."

COMUSNAVSO is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all Naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including Theater Security Cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

What have you done for your country today?

Commentary by Senior Master Sgt. Jim Albini
314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

6/25/2010 - Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. (AFNS) -- Sitting in my spare bedroom Tuesday morning, I was looking at a career laid out before my eyes. I saw awards dating back to my days as an airman and goodbye gifts from many of my bases.

I started to reflect on the role models I've had and one name stuck out. Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal was the security forces manager at Aviano Air Base, Italy, when I was the plans and programs NCO. I learned a great many things about life and the military through the chief and his family. Often, a lesson was initiated by one simple question, "Jim, what have you done for your country today?"

In its context, many might interpret the question as, "What have you done to earn your paycheck today?" Perhaps the question was his way of asking "Summarize what you did in the office" or "Did you give the boss your best effort?"

In my early days with Chief Omdal, that's how I answered the question. I only thought about it as it related to my primary duties. Though I was proud of my response, his expression always seemed as if I was missing something. To this day, I am not sure if it was intentional, but I learned to take a deeper look at the question.

As I grew in my career, I started thinking about my responses and how they related to other aspects of my job. I may have been a pretty good plans NCO, but what kind of supervisor was I? Did I do anything to help mentor a future leader? Did I leave my organization and base a better place? Did I foster esprit-de-corps through a private organization, making new friends and being a better NCO along the way?

Sometimes we get hung so up on our jobs that we forget the bigger picture. Our responsibilities go beyond the task at hand to one of mentorship and leadership. Are we setting the right examples and truly training our replacements? As an NCO or officer, have you gone beyond the role of your primary duty to be a Chief Omdal to someone? Are you listening to his or her response and encouraging them to look beyond the obvious?

I challenge you to ponder this question from another direction. What have you done for your community today? When you think about your country, think about your community. What are you doing to make it a better place?

Why was I sitting in my spare room, looking at memorabilia and thinking about my mentors? After eight bases in 25 years; a career as a security forces member, inspector general and first sergeant, I must face reality and see that time is winding down. As I sat on that lonely chair, the words of Chief Omdal rang in my head, "Jim, what have you done for your country?"

My answer is this: Chief, over a drink I hope to fill you in. I don't believe you will be disappointed in my answer.

National Guard battles flood waters in four states

by Spc. Heidi Kroll
National Guard Bureau

6/25/2010 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- This week almost 300 National Guard members from four states are helping to prepare for future floods and recover from past flood damage.

Task Force Northwest is commanded by Air Force Col. Mike Pankau of the 139th Airlift Wing, based in St. Joseph, Mo.

"Soldiers and Airmen are conducting a variety of missions supporting civil authorities, including manning traffic control points and monitoring levees," said Army 2nd Lt. John Quin, a public affairs officer for the Missouri Guard. "Guardsmen are also serving as liaison officers with local emergency operations centers and civil authorities."

In South Dakota, 130 Soldiers from the 200th Engineer Company and the 153rd Engineer Battalion are helping to fill sandbags in Huron, Woonsocket and Bonilla.

The mission is to place about 20,000 sandbags in Woonsocket to channel water through the town.

Emergency management personnel will decide June 26 if additional sandbags are needed, Army Maj. Brendan Murphy, the public affairs officer for the South Dakota Guard. About 3,000 sandbags have been staged in Bonilla.

More than 30 Soldiers responded to the request of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's request for vehicle support to remove debris from the northwest counties of Mingo, Logan, Wyoming and McDowell.

Dams in the Dakotas are full and the Army Corps of Engineers plans to let out water to release pressure on them, which will increase the water flow in the Missouri River, guard officials said.

North Dakota Guard officials have a UH-60 Black Hawk and a 10-man crew on stand-by to respond to evacuate residents who can't use the roads in the Devils Lake area.

"The crew should be relieved today as Devils Lake (officials) take over the evacuation mission with a high-lifted ambulance," said Army Lt. Col. Rick Smith, the public affairs officer for the North Dakota National Guard.

Almost 100 guardsmembers cleaning up debris in West Virginia that residents found in their homes in Wyoming County, said Lt. Col. Mike Cadle, the public affairs officer for the West Virginia Guard.

About 55 counties in the state have been affected by rain and rapid snow melt since the spring.

Sasebo Sailors Serve at Local Home for Challenged

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Richard Doolin, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Sasebo

June 25, 2010 - SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Thirty-three Sasebo Sailors took part in a community service project at the Tsukumoen home for the physically and mentally challenged in Sasebo, Japan, June 24.

The Sailors split into three groups, with one group raking grass and leaves while the other groups painted.

"Oh, this is great. This is why I joined the military. This is why I went in my rate; get out, help different people, see different cultures," said Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Brandon Enck.

Legalman 2nd Class Alain Bois was happy to lend a hand, noting the importance of helping and being part of the community.

"So that was our job (raking grass) of course. We helped clean the community, we're doing our part, because we are part of the community here in Sasebo," said Bois.

While displaying their sense of community and charity, the volunteer force of Sasebo Sailors also had a fun time working together and interacting with the 170 residents of the facility.

"I think it was a good experience to come out and to volunteer and help paint," said Master-at-Arms Seaman Ray Williams. " It was fun, and I enjoyed the patients. One of them gave me chocolate candy. They were very nice. I just enjoyed myself."

Hiroo Machida, Tsukumoen's administrator, was grateful for the volunteer efforts.

"Thank you for your time cleaning this facility today. It's been 40 years since they built this facility. It's a very big facility, and a lot of places are worn. Your volunteering was so helpful for us. Thank you," said Machida.

MILITARY -CONTRACTS June 25, 2010

AIR FORCE

BAE Systems, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $49,775,942 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to develop an infrared system that provides a real-time, high-resolution, wide area video persistent surveillance capability that allows joint forces to keep critical areas of interest under constant surveillance with high degree of target location accuracy. At this time, $6,358,566 has been obligated. AFRL/PKDB, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-10-C-7044).

Armtec Countermeasures Co., Coachella, Calif., was awarded a $30,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a multiple jettisoned unit 23A/B infrared countermeasure flare. Estimated quantity for each period is: 27,928 for year one; 9,326 for year two; 9,326 for year three; 1,114 for year four; 1,355 for year five. At this time, $16,673,016 has been obligated. OO-ALC/784 CBSG/PK, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8213-10-D-0009).

Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $6,776,720.84 contract modification of the Wideband Global Satellite Communication Block II contract in support of the Military Satellite Communications Program. This mission assurance task order will provide additional on-ground testing while the SV4 spacecraft is in thermal vacuum. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. HQ SMC/MCSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8808-06-C-0001/P00090).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Bethel Industries, Inc., Jersey City, N.J.* is being awarded a maximum $14,998,200 firm-fixed-price, partial set-aside contract for men's and women's airmen battle uniforms. Other locations of performance are North Bergen, N.J.; Tennessee; and Mississippi. Using service is Air Force. The original proposal was Web solicited with 26 responses. This contract includes a base with four one-year option periods. This contract represents the third option year only. The date of performance completion is June 25, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-07-D-1502).

Pentagon Force Protection Agency Holds Annual Exercise

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) will conduct an annual interagency response exercise on Saturday, June 26, 2010, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The exercise, called "Gallant Fox," will be conducted with federal, state and local interagency partners to evaluate response to an active shooter scenario within the Pentagon. The Pentagon Center Court Yard will be used for the scenario and the Boundary Channel overflow lot and Eads Street lot will be used as staging areas for emergency responders.

Between these hours, the general public may see an increase in police and other emergency responders on the Pentagon Reservation in support of the exercise.

If there are any questions please contact PFPA Public Affairs: Terry Sutherland, 571-722-8777 or Chris Layman, 571-722-7225

Wisconsin Airman recounts role in Haiti relief mission

Date: June 25, 2010
By Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze
128th Air Refueling Wing

A Wisconsin Air National Guard member returned last month following 71 days supporting the relief effort in Haiti.

Master Sgt. Craig DeLorme, a pest management supervisor with the Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron, arrived in Haiti on Feb. 23 - traveling throughout the city of Port-au-Prince during his deployment, visiting military camps and the camps of displaced persons to treat water and manage any infestation problems.

"Me and [my co-worker] visited nine military bases around Haiti, where we assessed their pest infestation," DeLorme said. "We walked around, pointed out problem areas and decided how to handle them."

His co-worker, he said, was an Airman from the Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux Falls.

"I couldn't help them as much as I wanted to," DeLorme said of the displaced persons camps. He said supplies were always in short order, and dirty standing water increased the mosquito problem.

"It was a losing battle," he added. "All I could do was drop mosquito dumps into the water."

The amount of refuse and debris created a breeding ground for pest infestations, he said. Military bases were in a slightly better situation.

"Most of the bases were following what we told them to do," he said. "The bases were set up correctly."

During his time in Haiti, DeLorme said he worked with a variety of military forces, starting with an Air Force civil engineering unit, and then moved on to help the Army and Navy with their pest problems. He also worked with medical groups, kitchen staff members and various inspectors.

"It was truly a joint task force," DeLorme said, adding that he helped the Brazilian relief workers with showers and clean water.

He said there were several obstacles to overcome while he was conducting his mission. MREs were the only food source for the first week of the deployment, communications within the camps suffered difficulties, and people were generally very busy and couldn't provide many answers to questions he posed, he said.

"We did the best we could with what we had," he said. "There weren't a lot of complaints."

Destruction and pest infestations did not encompass all of DeLorme's experiences, though.

He said he took food to orphanages and helped to hand out the items, which were mostly MREs from camp that people donated from their supplies.

"We went to orphanages because they were safe," he explained. "We couldn't give food on the streets because rioting would break out."

By the end of his deployment, DeLorme said the situation had improved, mostly at the military sites.

"There were 15 cases of malaria when we got [to the bases in Haiti]," he said. "There were none when we left."

He said temporary neighborhoods were just getting started when he left Haiti.

DeLorme returned to Wisconsin May 5, and has since resumed his career as a correctional officer in Oshkosh, the city he calls home.

Army Announces Conversion of Brigade to Stryker Configuration

The Department of the Army announced today the conversion of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, from a modular heavy brigade combat team to a Stryker brigade combat team.

1-1AD will convert to the modular SBCT structure of approximately 4,160 Soldiers effective January 2011. This force structure action represents an increase of approximately 420 military authorizations.

This conversion will take approximately 24 months for the unit to conduct new equipment training, fielding and collective training. The unit will enter the available force pool by second quarter fiscal year 2013.

Media may direct queries to Lt. Col. David Patterson at 703-697-7592, Army Office of Chief of Public Affairs.