Military News

Friday, July 02, 2010

Holiday Has Special Meaning for Captain

By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command

July 2, 2010 - The Fourth of July is especially significant to Capt. Fred Babauta, commander of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. This Independence Day marks the fifth anniversary of Babauta's awakening from an 11-day coma after encountering an improvised explosive device in Ramadi, Iraq, that twice cut his jugular vein and left him blind in the right eye.

Babauta was rushed to Balad Air Base in Iraq and transported via Landstuhl, Germany, to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, before he realized that he was alive. Army officials ensured that his wife arrived from Guam, and his parents from the state of Washington, in time to see their soldier awaken.

"They all met me in San Antonio when I arrived," Babauta recalled. "Of course, I didn't know they were there because I was in a coma, but the Army took care of my family."

Babauta remembers his last battle mission as if it happened yesterday.

In June 2005, he was deployed to Ramadi with the 1st Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Brigade. "We were the brigade of [2nd Infantry Division] that deployed from Korea to Iraq," he said. "About two weeks out from us leaving country, I was walking by an IED and it went off. I was probably about 10 feet away."

Babauta had served in Iraq for nearly a year before taking the one step that burned his entire face, stole half his vision and nearly took his life.

"After the explosion went off, they got me into a courtyard and called [a] quick-reaction force to come pick us up," Babauta said. "I was out with a sniper team, and there were only five of us. QRF picked us up. They started out with five vehicles to pick us up, and they ended up only with two."

The other three encountered more IEDs.

"The two vehicles finally picked us up," Babauta said. "We piled in the back, and they drove us back to our outpost. The doctor gave me a shot of morphine, packaged me up, the bird landed right outside our outpost, and they loaded me up."

At that point, Babauta thought he was headed to Al Taqaddum Air Base. The severity of his injuries, however, called for treatment at Balad Air Base.

"I remember them unloading me off the helicopter in Balad," he said. "It sounded like they pulled me into a hangar. I was on a stretcher and they put me on a bed. Doc said, 'Hey, I'm Doc so-and-so, I'm going to put this over your face,' which I guess was an oxygen mask, 'and you're going to feel a real quick pinch in your arm.' I guess he gave me a shot, sort of put me under, and I woke up 11 days later in Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston.

"Eleven days later was July 4th of 2005."

The rest of the trip is a blur to Babauta.

"I think they repaired my jugular in Balad," he said. "From what I understand, it didn't rupture until I got to Balad. I guess it was just probably hanging on by a string, but luckily the timing was great."

An avid Detroit Pistons fan, Babauta went on patrol earlier that day with visions of watching a replay of his beloved team taking on the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals upon return to camp.

"This is what I was thinking," he recalled. "I was going to go out for 24 hours. Game 7 was going to already happen. Someone was going to record it so I could come back and watch the game. I don't know if you remember that series, but the Pistons were killing the Spurs, and the Spurs came back and it was tied up, 3-3. So I was thinking I was going to come back and watch Game 7. It was in San Antonio. So the Pistons ended up losing, and guess where I wake up? San Antonio.

"That was the worst."

At first, Babauta thought he had awakened from a nightmare.

"I remember the nurse when I was first waking up and barely coherent," he said. "She was talking to me -- 'Yeah, you're in San Antonio. You know the Spurs just won the series?' That was the last thing I wanted to hear. I didn't believe it until the nurse brought in a newspaper showing Tim Duncan hugging the trophy."

The hometown celebration got worse before it got better for Babauta.

"What really got to me was when I got out of the hospital and started going around," he said. "The first place I went was the PX on Fort Sam, in all my bandages and everything, and all I saw was Spurs memorabilia - championship gear, hats and everything. That just really ticked me off."

In the long run, however, Babauta counts his lucky stars to be alive. On the night he came around, folks were launching rockets not only in Texas but across the nation.

"It was amazing," he said. "The nurse asked me if I saw the fireworks outside my window. I didn't see any fireworks, but I guess there was a fireworks celebration that night when I woke up."

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Babauta was an Army brat who spent most of his childhood in Guam. He also lived on Fort Lewis, Wash., Fort Davis, Panama, and Fort Stewart, Ga. At age 22, he left the University of Guam, got married and reported to the 1st Ranger Battalion in Savannah, Ga.

All of the men in Babauta's family served in the Army. His younger brother, Danny, 32, is deployed. His two older brothers both served four years before becoming policemen.

Babauta, 38, is the proud father of three daughters. "In my house, my girls, they have to play a sport," he said. "They've got to do something. My oldest grew up playing soccer, and she's actually on a soccer scholarship to Winthrop University. She just finished her freshman year. The other two play volleyball."

The Army took care of them again when Babauta's eldest daughter, Kylene, was a rising high school senior in Colorado Springs. Babauta's boss said he would see what he could do about keeping the family at Fort Carson.

"Hey, I've got a job for you," Babauta recalled of the next phone call. "I'm going to throw your name in the hat and I'll call you back. And he hung up on me. Didn't tell me what it was. Didn't tell me what I would be doing - just I'm going to keep you on Carson with a job. He called me back like 15 minutes later and said, 'Hey, you're going to be the commander of the World Class Athlete Program.' And I had no clue what it was.

"He gave me the telephone number to this office right here," he continued, "and I called up [then WCAP commander] Capt. Dominic Black. I said, 'Hey, this is Fred Babauta and they're telling me that I'm going to be replacing you.' I asked him what building number, and he said 1662. And I was like, '1662? I'm in 1667.' I was in the next building - just right down the sidewalk. So I came up here and met Dominic Black for the first time."

That was in September 2008, Babauta's last day as rear detachment commander for 1st Battalion 9th Infantry Regiment.

"It was very excited about the job," he said. "Not only excited about the job, but also about being able to keep my daughter here for her senior year, as opposed to moving her somewhere else."

Though he's a big sports fan, the captain acknowledged, he wasn't very familiar at first with some of the World Class Athlete Program sports. "But you ask me now, and I can brief you on everything that's going on with taekwondo, fencing and wrestling," he said. "I love getting out there and supporting the guys." Babauta has even grasped the concept of team handball, which he suspected was something akin to racquetball doubles without the rackets.

Instead of leading troops on the battlefield, Babauta now leads soldiers to international and national-level athletic events. His role, however, is pretty much the same.

"I don't think there's any difference," Babauta said. "These guys are just like soldiers getting ready to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. There's a train-up period to get where they need to be, and all the mandatory training that soldiers go through to get ready to deploy. Right now, our wrestlers are training for their battle, to get deployed to Council Bluffs, Iowa, to go to World Team Trials.

"It might be in a different context," he continued, "but I think the principle is the same, as far as getting ready to go. They're going to war. They're going to meet someone on the mat that wants to beat them. So they've got to do everything now to be ready for that match in Council Bluffs. I would imagine everyone here can use that comparison. It's not as life-threatening as deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq, but I think there are a lot of similarities."

As far as Babauta is concerned, the WCAP mission is essential to soldier morale and retention.

"The Army has asked them to do a job here," he said. "When they stop doing their job, that's when they'll go out and do what the Army enlisted them to do, whatever their [specialty] is."

The captain knows he isn't a coach. "I can't tell you how to be a boxer," he said. "I can't tell you how to be a wrestler. I can't tell you how to fence. I can't tell you any of that stuff. But I can tell you how to be a soldier. When they stop being a soldier, that's probably the time they need to leave here. Not only is it hard to get here, I think it's harder to stay here."

Babauta and Army 1st Sgt. Chris Button are responsible for ensuring the soldier-athletes meet all their military obligations, such as mandatory training and completing courses required for promotions.

"We take care of the soldier side of the house," Babauta said. "Being able to support these guys, and for some of them, their lifelong dream of getting a medal and of being on the Olympic team. It's almost like the proud father moment. You want everything best for your kids. You don't want any of the credit. You just want to make sure that you're able to see them accomplish what they want to do."

The coaches feel the same way, he noted. "They don't want any of the credit," he said. "They want all of the credit to go to that soldier, to that athlete who is competing."

Babauta finds it hard to fathom that he was unaware of what was taking place one building away from his previous office.

"Since I just came from down the sidewalk here, I was amazed at what this program was and what it did," he said. "That is one of the conscious efforts I have been trying to do is get more awareness of the program. We've identified that and I think we've made a couple of good strides in that direction. We just need to continue to put it out there.

"Everyone knows Special Forces," he added. "Everyone knows a Ranger. We're trying to push hard so that everyone knows the World Class Athlete Program. We're making good strides. We just need to continue."

Guardsman Gets Lucky Draw at AT&T Pro-Am

By Air Force Capt. Jay Ostrich
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2010 - The pressure of driving iron through sand, running from bunker to bunker or getting near troubled woods while desperately trying not to hit innocent civilians is nothing new for most combat veterans. But combat veteran Air Force Chief Master Sgt. George Vasiloff couldn't be happier to have done all of that on the golf links here June 30. Especially when he was playing alongside famed golfer Tiger Woods.

Through the "luck of the draw" and a little help from his Army brethren, Vasiloff was asked to play a round of golf with Woods at the AT&T National Pro-AM at Aronomink Country Club.

They didn't need to ask twice.

With a slight breeze and early morning dew glistening from the tee box of the majestic, 430-yard first hole, Vasiloff, a 27-year veteran of the Air Force, was introduced to an enthusiastic crowd and his golf dream would begin.

Hauling off boldly with a driver, he hit a towering shot that faded into a thicket of lush, green rough. Sitting 85 yards ahead of him, squarely in the middle of the neatly manicured fairway, was the champion, Woods.

One shot later, Woods was on the green putting for birdie. As for Vasiloff, he was back with a familiar friend – the sand.

Just a few short weeks ago, Vasiloff, chief of logistics with 201st RED HORSE Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., was finishing up his third combat tour in an austere location devoid of green anything let alone the comfy confines of country clubs.

The unit's six-month mission -- RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer -- was to build and repair military infrastructures that support missions as part of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the chief, driving his airmen and keeping them safe was the only thing he could think about. Doing that for a golf ball would have to wait.

But as he walked up through the par-4 second hole, where he would again find himself in a bunker, it all started to come into perspective for both the chief and his family.

"George thinks he died and went to heaven," said a beaming Ronda J. Vasiloff, his wife of 16 years. "Usually we would be worried about when he's in the sand. Not today, though. Today, there are no worries."

After slightly struggling to find his best game through three holes, his caddy, retired Army Col. Joe Laneski, a former Pennsylvania Guard chief of staff, took the bulky bag off his shoulders and presented Vasiloff with his trusted driver and some comic relief.

"The bag's getting heavy," Laneski said to his golf partner of 12 years. "You better start playing."

After all, it was Laneski who had submitted his name for the AT&T military caddy program, which turned into an invitation to play in the Pro-Am when the sponsor of the Tiger Woods Foundation learned Vasiloff could score near par.

Like any good troop, Vasiloff followed orders and sent a missile 330 yards on the 466-yard, par 4 fourth hole, sailing it past three bunkers and softly landing it on the fairway about 15 yards ahead Woods, winner of more than 70 PGA events, including 14 major titles.

But if that wasn't enough, Vasiloff chipped onto the green eight feet below the hole and coolly drained a birdie putt, one ahead of the champ who hadn't yet broken par and wouldn't be able to muster it on the fourth.

Asked on the next fairway whether he felt pressure, the humble hero paused and put it all into perspective.

"After the first hole, when I could finally breathe, I realized pressure is sending your guys out on a combat convoy," said Vasiloff. "This here? This is just fun."

As Vasiloff settled in and hit his groove, sending bomb after accurate bomb down the hilly and treacherous course, Tiger's fans started to buzz about the man with the buzz cut.

"Who is that guy?" asked a casually clad country club couple after watching Vasiloff outdrive the champ on another hole.

"He must be the president of the club or something," replied another.

"No, he is just a normal military guy," said Ronda, who followed him with a smile throughout the more than 7,000 yards of his journey.

This was just fine with his professional playing partner, who was happy to talk about his father, Earl Woods, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and two-tour Vietnam veteran who introduced Tiger to golf at a young age and remained a coach and mentor throughout his life.

Woods, the tournament host, wanted some way to honor the military through golf.

"I just think it was something that should be honored, and that's why we're doing it," said Woods. "It's just a way to say thank you."

With a special military pavilion and more than 30,000 complimentary tickets given to military members and their families, Woods hopes they were on target.

"Tiger knows where we are coming from," said Vasiloff. "This was just a great overall experience."

For Ronda, this was just another example of her husband being humble and thanking others before taking credit for himself.

"He is noble man," said Ronda, who tried to hold back tears of pride. "He is in a noble profession, and he gives it his whole heart and soul."

His caddy and friend, who hours earlier had helped bring it all into perspective, couldn't have agreed more.

"He's dedicated to his family and to his service first," Laneski said. "The third love of his life is golf, and somehow he's able to tie it all together and be excellent in everything."

Ultimately, the team finished a 7-under par 63, tied for seventh, far from the prestige both have felt as being the best in their business.

And as Tiger Woods shook hands with his partner and walked over an isolated bridge by himself, Vasiloff humbly walked through the crowd and into the loving arms of his family, not just as an above-average amateur golfer, but a superior airman and a champion at life.

From the Gulf to golf and bunker to bunker, it was a perfect ending to a nearly perfect day.

Mullens Advocate More Reserve Support

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2010 - Military leaders are working hard to create the same kind of support network for the reserve components that exists for the active duty, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen made the comments as part of his regular podcast to troops. Joined by his wife, Deborah, who frequently meets with military families, the couple discussed stresses on military families and efforts to alleviate them.

National Guard members and reservists have added challenges after being activated for deployments, in that many live in communities without the support found on military bases, often with children who are the only military kids in their school, Mrs. Mullen said. "Our Guard and reservists tend to be great distances from military installations and have no mutual peer support in their schools and their communities," she said.

Too often, Guard and reserve members return from deployment and are "thrust back into civilian life without time to adjust," she said. But good programs exist, she added, such as the Army Reserve's "Fort Family" program with 24/7 phone support and the "Coping With Deployment" program by the American Red Cross, which operates throughout the country.

As he travels across the country to speak about addressing servicemembers' and veterans' needs, Mullen said, he is struck by "the universal constant" that all communities want to help. He said he hopes to "knit up" the efforts of the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs with those communities to provide a continuum of support.

It can be hard for communities to identify veterans and Guard and Reserve families in need, and "we worry about those who don't connect up with community services," Mrs. Mullen said, noting that women veterans with children are the most quickly rising group of homeless veterans.

The increase in Guard and reserve support programs today from when the wars began nine years ago "is night and day," the admiral said, "but it's still not enough." He said he is less interested in adding programs than he is in making sure the current programs are effective. Improving programs is important so that servicemembers "have a life ring to grab onto," he said.

The couple also spoke of the need for vigilance among military members and their families to identify signs that a person may be suicidal. As she meets with military families, Mrs. Mullen said, spouses increasingly ask for training not just in how to detect potential signs of suicide in servicemembers, but also in their civilian family members. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-723-TALK is a valuable resource for such information, she said.

The chairman noted that even as the department puts more resources into curbing suicides, the cases continue to rise. He said he believes the problem is tied to repeated deployments and servicemembers not getting enough time at home, which he said will improve as troops draw down from Iraq.

"We find our military members have been incredibly resilient in the last nine years, yet we have to give them the opportunity to release some of that stress," he said.

USS Nebraska Gold Celebrates More Than Two Years DUI-Free

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chantel M. Clayton, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Northwest

July 2, 2010 - SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors from the USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) Gold Crew, celebrated an 839-day DUI-free milestone with a command picnic at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.

According to Cmdr. Michael E. Fisher, Nebraska Gold commanding officer, milestones such as this allow the crew to focus on their jobs while boosting morale.

"This impacts the ship's mission because it allows us to focus on our mission rather than focusing on disciplinary issues," said Fisher. "We have an emphasis on teamwork and taking care of each other and responsible behavior, and that carries through into how we conduct our business and how we conduct ourselves at sea, as well. This also has a huge impact on the crew's morale. The crew is very protective of their record and their performance, and taking the opportunity to celebrate something like this clearly has an impact on the crew."

The more than two-year streak is credited to a DUI prevention program, where Sailors on board Nebraska rely on each other in the case that they are in need of a ride home.

"The guys watch out for each other; they take care of each other, and that is the best defense against getting a DUI," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (SS) Eric E. Nelson, who oversees the program. "Everyone on the ship, from the captain down to the junior-most guy, has said that if anyone needed a ride, they can give them a call. We even have guys on the ship who don't drink at all, who go out with groups of guys and volunteer to be designated drivers."

Nelson also said the program falls within the command's philosophy.

"One of the cornerstones of the command is that we take care of each other, and how the command has responded was through this program," said Nelson. "This program works really well with the command's philosophy. The command has been incredibly supportive of the program. The crew as a whole slips into the idea that we do take care of each other and Nebraska really reflects that."

"This makes me feel proud of my guys. It's that simple. I'm proud of what they do and what they keep doing. They're an amazing group of folks. I can't believe how proud I am of these guys and the work they accomplish."

Freedom Sailors, Singapore Navy Cross Train

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- U.S. and Singapore Sailors from USS Freedom (LCS 1) and RSS Supreme (70), respectively, exchanged professional knowledge, June 28, while both ships are moored at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Sailors from each ship visited the other as part of the 2010 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. One of the goals of RIMPAC is to build relationships and mutual understandings between partner nations and its navies.

Chief Damage Controlman (SW/FMF) Craig Cole, the damage control assistant aboard Freedom, along with eight other Freedom Sailors, visited Supreme in the morning to learn how the Singapore crew handles damage control.

"We've learned a lot from them," said Cole. Cole explained that the U.S. Navy is not used to managing small crews. "We are a big Navy with big crews on big ships whereas Singapore is a small Navy with small ships and small crews. They have learned how to manage with small crews whereas we really haven't."

Supreme is a multirole stealth frigate which currently holds a crew 71 sailors. Freedom, however, is the lead ship of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships and has a crew of about 40 personnel.

Freedom's crew is part of an innovative manning construct that reduces crew size, demanding each Sailor maintain high levels of proficiency in multiple fields, and optimizes ship operability with multiple crews.

Though a typical Singapore patrol vessel carries a crew of 30 personnel, sailors aboard Supreme were nevertheless impressed by the size of Freedom's crew.

Senior Marine Engineer Wee Tiong Teo, the officer in charge of fire fighting, along with six other sailors, came aboard Freedom later in the afternoon to tour the ship.

"I'm really surprise on the size of the crew and the size of the ship," said Teo referring to Freedom. "It's not any smaller than the size of my ship. I'm really quite impressed with the level of automations that the ship has."

Teo said he was interested in how the ship operates and how the leadership manages morale and fatigue among the crew.

"We are multitasked quite a bit," said Teo. "Judging by the size of the ship [Freedom] and the number of people that they have, I think their capacity to multi-task is amazing. It's definitely something for us to learn."

The 2010 RIMPAC exercise will bring to together units and personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

During the exercise, participating countries will conduct gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as maritime interdiction and vessel boarding, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations, mine clearance operations, and an amphibious landing.

RIMPAC is the world's largest multinational maritime exercise, and will take place in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. The exercise is themed "Combined Agility, Synergy and Support," and marks the 22nd exercise in the series that originated in 1971.

Independence Day message from the Adjutant General of Wisconsin

Two hundred and thirty four years ago, our founding fathers signed a document that declared the independence of 13 colonies from British rule - an act that gave birth to our great republic. 140 years earlier, colonists banded together to form militias that defended our earliest communities, would form the backbone of our war for independence, and would become the modern National Guard.

The Declaration of Independence launched a great experiment in self-governance, founded on principles of freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In time, every American would have an equal voice in governance. Citizens are free to chart their own path and the law provides equal protection. There are many wonderful aspects of our nation, one of which is the one we are privileged to share - service in the National Guard.

As Guardsmen, we come from small towns and big cities, families rich and poor, and serve our community in many ways - cooks, doctors, bus drivers, teachers, accountants, plumbers, nurses, day care providers, pilots, engineers, police officers, fire fighters, musicians, lawyers - and when called upon, we serve our community, state and nation. We serve as military first responders in disasters and proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our active duty counterparts in the global war on terror and other missions abroad.

Today, we face an ever changing and expanding role in homeland security and a more operational focus. We continue to serve and help ensure that our nation remains a free, strong and vigorous Republic. July Fourth is about independence, self-rule and freedom. We should never forget the courage of those who risked their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence and fighting for the freedoms and security we inherited. Likewise, we must remain steadfast and ensure we bequeath the same to future generations.

Our nation has changed dramatically in 234 years, but the core and foundation remain. We are still the National Guard, we still provide enduring value for our community, state, and nation. We are still supported by our families and our employers, who sacrifice in many ways - seen and unseen. And what could be more American than that?

I am proud to serve with you and wish you a wonderful, happy and safe holiday. Happy Fourth of July! Thank you.

Sincerely,

Donald P. Dunbar Brigadier General (WI)
Wisconsin National Guard
The Adjutant General

NSC Offers Safety Tips for Fourth of July

By April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- With the Fourth of July holiday weekend fast approaching, risk management professionals at Naval Safety Center (NSC) are reinforcing safety advice and risk management principles.

When the Independence Day holiday falls on a long weekend, there's an even greater risk for motor vehicle mishaps, said Stan Willingham, a safety and occupational health specialist at NSC.

Last year, two Sailors and three Marines were killed in motor vehicle accidents during the three-day July 4th holiday weekend. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration predicts there will be approximately 300 highway deaths and 20,000 disabling injuries across the country this weekend.

"People are more likely to try to stretch the distances they travel on a three-day weekend," Willingham said, adding that fatigue often becomes a major risk factor.

"To me, fatigue means feeling tired," he said. "And if you feel tired you need to get off the road."

Alcohol is another factor that increases the risk of mishaps while driving, but it also makes many other recreational activities more dangerous.

"Alcohol mixes real well with Coke or 7-Up, but it doesn't mix with driving, or swimming, or lighting fireworks," Willingham said. "Make sure you designate a driver, and if you do drink, do it in moderation."

Fireworks are an activity many people associate with the Fourth of July holiday. However, Willingham said it's important to obey state and local laws, and to read the directions very carefully. Some items like sparklers, which many people believe are safe, cause major burns every year.

"Those suckers burn at about 1,800 degrees," Willingham said. "If you're going to give them to the kids, they need to be supervised."

Other recommendations for lighting fireworks include having a "designated shooter" who will not be consuming alcohol, having a designated area for lighting the fireworks, and keeping water or a fire extinguisher handy. Also, don't attempt to relight any "duds" that didn't go off.

While most Sailors and Marines successfully manage risk during holiday weekends, Marine Col. Mark Erb, Deputy Commander, Naval Safety Center, challenged everyone to look out for unsafe practices around them.

"Most of us do the right thing and manage risks for ourselves and our families. However, it's also important to think about what you'll do if you see another person engaging in high risk activities," he said. "What action will you take? What will you say? Do you have the courage to intervene?"

He encouraged everyone to participate in the activities they enjoy during the long weekend, and to take just a few minutes to think through all possible risks and ways to reduce or eliminate them.

"Sailors and Marines have earned the right to relax and enjoy the July 4th holiday weekend," Erb said. "But we need everyone to plan for success and exercise good judgment, so they can make it back to work Tuesday morning 100 percent mission capable."

Conference Focuses on Globally Shared Spaces

By Jacob Boyer
U.S. Joint Forces Command

July 1, 2010 - Efforts to enable civil and military forces in globally shared and ungoverned operating areas such as outer space, international waters, airspace and cyberspace have been the subject of a conference here this week featuring insights from key leaders of the Defense Department, U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO's Allied Command Transformation.

The three-day Cooperation and Conflict in the Global Commons conference, which concludes today, is sponsored by the Naval Postgraduate School, the National Defense University Institute for National Strategic Studies, Joint Forces Command's Joint Futures Group and the NATO transformation command.

Kathleen Hicks, deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces, was the conference's keynote speaker June 29. She highlighted the recent Quadrennial Defense Review's emphasis on securing the global commons, specifically cyberspace. Attacks there and in the rest of the commons are complex, she said, and identifying the culprit often is difficult. The speed of cyber attacks necessitates fast, agile responses, she added.

"While early warnings against missile attacks or incoming aircraft may allow a few minutes to respond, a computer keystroke travels twice around the world in 300 milliseconds," Hicks explained. "Our reaction must be even quicker -- as close to instantaneous as possible. Attribution of attack - knowing who did what to you - is extremely difficult."

Navy Rear Adm. Lawrence S. Rice, Joint Forces Command's director of strategy and policy, spoke after Hicks and addressed the fundamental need to secure shared spaces, noting that their crucial role in global trade and information sharing makes them big targets for adversaries.

"We need to address the enemy's capabilities as they manifest, specifically in the commons," Rice said. "If those commons are vital connective tissue for trade, then from the enemy's perspective, threats to the commons have the potential to disrupt the cooperation needed for life here on Earth. We need to make no mistake that risks to the orderly flow of trade and information comprise fundamental national security threats."

Rice detailed the efforts Joint Forces Command and the Defense Department are making to improve operations in the commons, pointing to the recent standing up of U.S. Cyber Command as an example. He laid out his expectations for the conference.

"We can't fix something if we don't know what's wrong, so we need a clear articulation of the problem statement," he said. "Following that, we need practical recommendations for how to solve that problem."

James Soligan, deputy chief of staff for capability development with NATO's Allied Command Transformation, focused in his remarks yesterday on NATO's strengths and how they can help to define and solve the complex challenges found in common spaces.

He said NATO's power is its ability to provide standards accepted by its 28 member nations, which are often adopted globally. NATO also can influence national decisions at a time in which countries have different priorities and fiscal restraints.

"The global commons are so diverse, but the real purpose of the conference is to talk about those common interface mechanisms that allow us to deal with those ungoverned spaces," he said. "How do we deal with places in which no one nation has territorial responsibilities?"

Results from the conference will be collected and distributed, officials said, to inform forward-looking documents such as Joint Forces Command's Joint Operating Environment and NATO's Strategic Concept - as well as operations.

Flournoy Notes India's Growing Role as Security Partner

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 1, 2010 - India is an increasingly important partner to the United States, and the relationship between the nations is maturing, a top Defense Department policy official said today.

Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, told members of the Asia Society that the cooperation and collaboration between the United States and India grows out of shared values and shared interests.

Defense cooperation between the nations served as a catalyst for the increasingly close relationship, and Defense Department officials are working to expand military-to-military ties, she said.

India has become an important economic, political and security partner, and that partnership spans a range of interests, Flournoy told the group.

"Some critics in Washington and New Delhi have suggested the Obama administration is not as committed to U.S.-India relations as its predecessors were," she said. "Other critics assert that this administration sees India solely through the lens of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Still others think that the absence of high-profile, headline-grabbing deals and accomplishments over the last 18 months suggests that we don't view this relationship as important."

The critics are wrong, she said.

"The U.S.-India relationship is not built on, and cannot be sustained on, grand gestures or brief moments of crisis," the undersecretary said. "This bond is grounded in common democratic values and converging interests that make India and U.S. natural partners. The U.S. and India have an overarching shared interest in promoting global stability and security."

The two nations are maritime countries that depend on free passage of the seas, and India and the United States work together to ensure maritime security, Flournoy said. Both countries also have an abiding interest in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other dangerous high technologies, she added.

Both nations also are committed to promoting global stability and security, Flournoy said. India is a good partner in peacekeeping efforts around the globe and within Asia, she noted, and both nations are committed to the long-term stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"We know as the U.S. mission in Afghanistan evolves, we must continue to provide robust support for Afghan stability, governance and development," Flournoy said. "India is playing a positive role in Afghanistan's economic and social development and we know that help will continue."

U.S.-Indian defense relations have evolved from solely military-to-military links into a more comprehensive fabric, Flournoy said, in a relationship that encompasses dialogues, exercises, defense sales and practical cooperation.

At the apex of the U.S.-India defense relationship is the Defense Policy Group, which Flournoy will co-chair in the fall. The group allows both countries to plan further engagements, air concerns and exchange views on strategic issues.

"We also have dialogues that discuss our defense trade, service-to-service cooperation [and] technical cooperation, and a group dedicated to developing and ensuring procedures for keeping our technologies secure," she said. "The growth and comprehensiveness of this relationship is nothing short of remarkable. My Indian counterparts now tell me that their defense and security relations with the United States are as close as they are with any nation."

Now the two countries must sustain and expand upon the gains made to date, Flournoy said.

"Cementing a fully formed bilateral relationship requires more than formal visits and high-level dialogues – it's about day-in-day-out cooperation at all levels," she told the group. "Such interactions may not make as many headlines, but routine contacts are in many ways the most important bilateral business we conduct."

Defense equipment sales are another growth area for the partnership. "I am and will continue to be a strong advocate of U.S. solutions for India's defense needs," Flournoy said. "U.S. companies are eager to work with India as the Indian military continues to modernize."

Two American companies are among the leading competitors for a $10 billion sale of 126 advanced fighter aircraft to the Indian air force, Flournoy said. "We are also looking at future sales of the C-17 aircraft as another example of near term defense sales," she added.

Flournoy stressed that the Defense Department does not view these sales as mere commercial transactions. "We understand that India is making a strategic as well as an economic choice when it makes defense acquisitions," she explained. "Obviously, the commercial benefits of defense sales to the U.S. economy can't be denied, but from a [Defense Department] perspective, these sales are even more important in building a strategic partnership that will allow both our countries to cooperate more effectively to protect our mutual security interests in the future.

"Whether the scenario involves humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism cooperation or maritime security activities," she continued, "having common equipment will allow more seamless cooperation."

India is seeking to build its own indigenous defense industry, and is looking for the best technologies to use in its defense sector, Flournoy said. The United States is committed to providing India with top-of-the-line technology, and has backed up its commitment by approving the overwhelming majority of licenses requested last year, she added.

Flournoy pointed out that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has made export control reform a key priority, citing the streamlining and modernizing of the U.S. export control system as a national security priority that affects the nation's ability to build and sustain key partnerships.

India and the United States will explore ways to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction through maritime cooperation, dialogue, and identifying new technologies to combat this threat, Flournoy said.

"We will continue to build on our experience working together on disaster assistance and humanitarian relief, and develop procedures to facilitate more seamless cooperation in future contingencies," the undersecretary said. "We will look at ways in which, together, we can better secure the global commons by expanding our already robust cooperation in air, space, cyberspace and maritime initiatives."

The United States also is interested in India's emergence as a regional power, Flournoy said. "The Obama administration is committed to strengthening regional partnerships, to build an international system capable of addressing the challenges that have no respect for borders," she said. "In Asia, this means it no longer makes sense to discuss this increasingly interconnected region in terms of East Asian security, or South Asian security."

India's relationship with China is vitally important to the health of the region and the globe, the undersecretary told the group.

"A safer, more secure India that is closer to the United States should not be seen a threat to China, and vice versa," she said. "Indeed, all three countries play an important role in regional stability. The United States recognizes and welcomes the growing cooperation between India and China on security affairs in recent years. And both India and the United States seek a closer relationship with China, while encouraging Beijing to be more transparent about its military capabilities and intentions."

DOD authorizes HSM for Chile relief efforts

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Personnel who participated in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Chile following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake Feb. 27, 2010, are eligible for award of the Humanitarian Service Medal.

U.S. military personnel must have provided humanitarian assistance for at least one day between March 6 - 29 in the immediate area of operation within the Chilean cities of Angol, Santiago and Talcahuano. Aircrews landing in the areas of operation, during this period, are eligible as well.

Individuals who believe they are eligible for the HSM must provide source documents confirming their entitlement to the award to their unit commander or designated representative. Source documents include temporary duty orders, travel voucher, decoration citation, performance report, etc. Documents must show the operation being supported, location and duration of service in the qualifying area.

For more information on this and other Air Force recognition programs, visit the Air Force Personnel Center personnel services website at https://gum.afpc.randolph.af.mil or call the Total Force Service Center toll-free at (800) 525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.

Wasp Sailors Give Back at Halifax Elementary School

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rebekah Adler, USS Wasp Public Affairs

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (NNS) -- USS Wasp (LHD 1) Sailors took a break from celebrating the Canadian navy's 100th birthday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a community relations (COMREL) event at St. Catherine's elementary school June 26.

Approximately 35 Sailors from U.S. ships participating in the Canadian Naval Centennial and International Fleet Review week volunteered, including Sailors from Wasp, USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Boone (FFG 28), and USS Gettysburg (CG 64), as well as a contingent of British and Canadian Sailors to perform yard work and provide much-needed repairs to the school.

For five hours Sailors worked on various projects for the school. They spread mulch for the playground and sod for the 3,500-foot soccer field, planted a vegetable garden, and built picnic tables.

"This project alone saved us $13,000, however, the value of the community spirit today was incalculable," said St. Catherine's Principal Richard Duribe. "We're absolutely thrilled to have the Sailors here. We are proud of our school and the international connections we have made."

The event gave Sailors a chance to bond with the community and to give something back to their host city. Teachers and parents of the students were eager to meet the service members and were impressed with the hard work they performed for the school. During the event, many of them came out to provide refreshments and lunch for the crew.

"Any COMREL is important because it gives our Sailors a wonderful outlet to be productive and gives the community an opportunity to see the military in a role they may not necessarily see them in. It helps foster relationships with other countries," said Cmdr. Dean Hoelz, Wasp command chaplain.

"I thought the St. Catherine's COMREL was interesting, but I liked that we helped the children [by making] a new playground," said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW/AW) Sabrina Anderson, from Wasp. "I hope they enjoy it."

Sailors welcomed the change of pace from their busy shipboard schedule and enjoyed the exchange with Canadian and British forces.

"It's great to get all of the forces together and do something out of your core work week to give something back to the community, and to meet military members from different countries. Although we are different, we have many similarities," said HMS Liverpool Sailor, Leading Seaman William Macleod, a Glasgow, Scotland native.

"COMREL projects help us join better as a team, and it helps us get closer and create partnerships with other navies," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Jesse Glover of USS Barry (DDG 52).

Glover added that, not only does he enjoy working with the other militaries, but he is glad to be able to help. He said he looks forward to participating in projects like these in every port he visits.

"It's a good time to get out in the community, to do some outreach and get to learn about different cultures. I'd rather do this than go to a bar. At least I'm doing something good for the community," he said.

The service members performed a volunteer service, and unexpectedly received a bonus in return. At the conclusion of the event, Principal Duribe handed each Sailor an "A Plus" pin, something he rewards his students for earning good grades, to show his appreciation for their hard work.

Wasp is participating in the Canadian Naval Centennial and International Fleet Review Week (CNC/IFR) that began on June 25 and concludes July 2. Wasp Sailors and Marines, including embarked Carrier Strike Group 2, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, and 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines are participating in various cultural and sporting events during the visit aimed at strengthening relationships and the strong bilateral and multilateral ties shared between the Canadian navy and its allies.

Top Naval Officer Visits Halifax

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Kyle P. Malloy, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead visited USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49), USS Gettysburg (CG-64), HMS Ark Royal (R07), USS Virginia (SSN 774), USS Wasp (LHD 1) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 28-29.

Roughead also attended the official welcoming ceremony and International Fleet Review in honor of Queen Elizabeth II during his trip. Roughead said the International Fleet Review provided a great opportunity for many countries to come together and build stronger international naval partnerships.

"One of the great benefits of this fleet review, if you look around the harbor and see all of the flags that are flying from the ships that are here," said Roughead. "These are very young [Sailors] who are at the beginning of their time in their Navy and the relationships that form, the respect that they develop for one another, the interest that they have in each other's navy and culture, that's what really brings navies together."

CNO began his trip with a visit aboard USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) and USS Gettysburg (CG-64) where he toured the ship, facilitated award and reenlistment ceremonies and met with the Sailors stationed aboard each ship.

Roughead proceeded to HMS Ark Royal (R07) where he met with his Canadian counterpart Chief of Maritime Staff Vice Adm. Dean McFadden, Dutch counterpart Netherlands Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. Matthieu Borsboom and his British counterpart First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Mark Stanhope.

CNO and his counterparts were part of the official party that welcomed the Queen to Canada at an official ceremony held at the Garrison Grounds in Halifax.

CNO then toured USS Virginia (SSN 774) to facilitate an award ceremony and meet with Sailors stationed aboard the submarine.

Roughead also met with U.S. Ambassodor to Canada David Jacobson to embark USS Wasp (LHD 1) to tour the ship, meet with Sailors and participate in the International Fleet Review.

"I thank you for what you are doing here, I thank you for what you do for our Navy because we really are a 'global force for good,'" said Roughead.

NNMC Offers Safety Tips for Fourth of July Celebrations

By Cat DeBinder, National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- National Navy Medical Center (NNMC) reminds patrons to put safety first as they celebrate the nation's 234th birthday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

"The American traditions of parades, cookouts and fireworks help us celebrate the Fourth of July," said Nychelle Fleming, spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). "However, fireworks can turn a joyful celebration into a painful memory when children or adults are injured."

Fireworks, considered a hazardous substance by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), sent an estimated 7,000 people to emergency rooms in 2008, she said. The FHSA sets provisions under which the CPSC regulates products for consumers.

Sparklers, often considered to be the "safest" fireworks, can still be a hazard, burning at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees, said Fleming.

Of the children who come into the emergency room with injuries associated with fireworks, more than half are caused by sparklers, said Nikki Poist, a registered nurse in NNMC's Emergency Room, recalling a time when she treated a 6-year-old girl with nearly third-degree burns on her hand as a result of a sparkler.

Poist added the most common areas of the body affected by accidents involving fireworks are the hands, face, head, ears and eyes.

When burned by a firework or sparkler, she said, it's important to react immediately.

"For second-degree or more serious fireworks burns, the first thing that should be done is to immerse the affected area in clean, cold water while arranging medical attention," said Poist. "Then, dry the burn gently, apply an antiseptic cream and wrap it in clean soft cloth, such as towels, sheets or gauze."

The affected area should also be elevated, she added, and the individual should be taken to the hospital or other medical treatment facility.

"Fireworks injuries can be avoided and prevented by following some common sense safety tips," said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA).

The APA is the leading trade association of the fireworks industry. The organization supports and promotes safety standards for all aspects of fireworks.

Heckman also stated it's important to read and follow the directions when celebrating with fireworks. There should always be an adult supervising children around fireworks and there should not be more than one lit at a time. She went on to say people should not add alcohol into the mix and should be careful to stay out of the line of fire.

"Have plenty of water nearby — keep a bucket to soak finished sparklers and other hot devices," said Heckman. "Also keep a garden hose in the area for emergencies."

Officials Caution Sailors About Heat Levels as Temperatures Rise

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Ardelle Purcell, National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- National Naval Medical Center's (NNMC) Preventive Medicine department is advising Bethesda staff, contractors and patients to keep it cool as weather forecasters predict an extremely hot summer season.

"The heat index is what it actually feels like outside," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Beau Tice, a Preventive Medicine technician. "It's basically a number complied from the temperature outside with the humidity in the air. The hotter it is outside, the more likely you are to succumb to a heat injury such as heat cramps, heat stress, heat stroke or heat exhaustion."

The human body normally cools itself by sweating, which evaporates and releases heat from the body. However, when the humidity is high, the evaporation rate is slow, and heat doesn't leave the body as quickly as it normally would. This can cause heat-related injuries.

"Increased humidity reduces your ability to cool on your own," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Lawrence Coomer, leading petty officer of the preventive medicine department. "If you're already kind of wet from the environment, you're not going to sweat as much so your body is not going to cool naturally. The more humid it is, the worse off you are."

To help avoid heat-related injuries, the Preventive Medicine department uses the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) to calculate the heat index or what it actually feels like outside. Once that temperature is determined, the heat condition flag warning system (color-coded flags) is used as a guide for physical training and for those working outside onboard the Bethesda campus.

"Black flag, you really shouldn't be [exercising] outside," said Tice. "Red flag [means] you should be well hydrated because it's hot. Green and yellow flags are saying it's starting to get hotter out, you need to be aware of this."

For avid runners, sports extremists, construction workers or those with medical conditions requiring medication, Tice recommends becoming familiar with the flag system.

"If you are [exercising] outside in the summertime, you should be well hydrated. The muscle is like a sponge, if it's dry it will break. If you try and bend a sponge when it's dry, it'll break. But if you keep it hydrated and wet, it will be flexible and pliable. For those that work outside, you have to know the work-rest cycle."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the warning signs for heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting. The skin may be cool and moist. The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion goes untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.

"When you get to the heat stroke stage, your skin is dry and clammy because your body no longer has the ability to cool you," said Tice. "It's now keeping the water inside to make use of what little it has left."

The Preventive Medicine department recommends drinking plenty of cool nonalcoholic beverages, getting proper rest, keeping cool in an air-conditioned environment, wearing lightweight clothing and sunscreen to avoid heat-related injuries.

PHNSY To Support Fleet in Cruiser Modernization

From Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY) will directly support the Navy's Cruiser Modernization Program (CMP) beginning with the $50 million upgrade of USS Chosin (CG 65) in January 2011.

The goal of CMP is to ensure achievement of the 35-year expected service life for each of the Navy's 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

"Pearl Harbor homeports 25 percent of the nation's ballistic missile defense (BMD) ships," said Rear Adm. (Select) Greg Thomas, commander, PHNYS and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF). "These ships are due for upgrades, both for BMD purposes and to ensure they have other necessary state-of-the-art capabilities throughout their planned service lives. The cruiser upgrades are vitally important to our Navy and our nation."

Work on cruiser modernizations will result in a significant jump in the port's surface ship workload from 68,000 man-days in fiscal 2010 to 140,000 man-days in fiscal 2013. Major Navy surface ship work, such as the Chosin availability, is executed by the prime contractor, BAE Systems Hawaii Ship Repair, augmented by other private ship repair companies on Oahu. PHNSY and IMF, in its role as Navy Hawaii Regional Maintenance Center, will provide contractual oversight of the industry partners' executed work.

Executing the Chosin portion of the CMP in Hawaii requires an additional 500 to 600 personnel a day, which means bringing help from off-island, according to Thomas.

Participation in the CMP will make the shipyard even more valuable to the Navy by revitalizing essential fleet assets, said Michael Carnes, business and financial manager for the Shipyard Industry Management Department.

"Starting with the USS Chosin, the Cruiser Modernization Program will demonstrate the port's capacity and capability in terms of work on surface ships," said Carnes.

According to Project Manager Ivy Caires, the three main jobs on Chosin will be conversion from steam-driven auxiliary equipments and systems to electric-driven, installation of an integrated ship's control system, and fuel oil tank top stiffening modifications. The conversion to electric auxiliary equipment eliminates waste heat boilers and improves quality of life for the crew with the introduction of electric laundry washers and dryers, galley kettles, dishwashers, heaters and water distilling plants.

PHNSY is a full-service naval shipyard and regional maintenance center for the U.S. Navy's surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii with a combined civilian and military workforce of about 4,800. It has an operating budget of $563 million and infuses $700 million a year into the local economy. Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the shipyard is about a week of steam time closer to potential major regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.

Soldier Donates Marrow to Help Stranger

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

July 1, 2010 - Two years ago, Army Pfc. Ted Bonham suppressed his self-described "horrible phobia of needles" and participated in a routine blood drive with his reserve unit in Knoxville, Tenn. He couldn't have guessed then how big that gesture of generosity would become. When the technician asked if Bonham and his buddies from the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion would have their cheeks swabbed to possibly become bone marrow donors -- with the comment that they probably would never be called -- Bonham was the only one to come forward.

Today the 20-year-old is undergoing a procedure at a National Marrow Donor Program clinic here to donate his bone marrow – more specifically, his mature stem cells – to try to save the life of a man he's never met.

"The way my luck goes, I just knew I'd be picked," Bonham joked about the slim chance – about 1 in 100,000 – that he would become a donor match. More seriously, he said his decision to donate blood, then his bone marrow, was in line with the values his father, a regular blood donor and Army veteran, raised him with.

"It was my chance to help someone and, the way I was raised, is that you do what you can to help people," he said.

Bonham took the test in September 2008. In March of this year, he was informed that he was a match with a man who needs a bone marrow transplant to survive cancer. By regulation of the federal donor program, Bonham can't know anything about the recipient other than that he is 66 and lives outside the United States.

One year after the procedure, the recipient is permitted to contact the donor, and Bonham said he hopes he does. "I'd love to get a letter to see how he's doing," he said.

And if the stem cells don't cure the recipient's cancer? "I would still have no regrets for doing this," he said. "The fact that I could give him a fighting chance is worth it to me."

Program officials flew Bonham from his home in Clarksville, Tenn., to the Washington area on June 26. Beginning June 27, he received daily hormone shots in the back of each arm that he said "feels like fire" for about 15 minutes, and also causes pain in bones that previously have been injured -- in Bonham's case, cracked ribs and a broken wrist.

Bonham made the trip to Washington with his roommate, Jamin Etling, a nurse who works in critical care, who will be with him during today's procedure and when he returns to a hotel tonight.

The procedure is expected to last four to eight hours, and involves hooking Bonham up to two IVs, which will drain his blood so that clinicians can remove the needed stem cells before returning it to his body, Bonham said. The stem cells then will be delivered quickly to the patient, he said.

While Bonham undergoes his procedure, he said, he'll be very much aware that the recipient is waiting anxiously to know if the stem cells will come through, and if they will save him. It's in the hope of curing him, Bonham said, that he would repeat the sacrifices of donating.

"Yeah, this sucks, but nothing would stop me from doing it, and I would do it all over again," he said.

Final Romeo Maintenance Trainer Ready for Students

By Clark Pierce, Editor, Jax Air News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Personnel from Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Jacksonville (CNATTU Jax) and Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic cut the ribbon on the avionics maintenance trainer for the MH-60R (Romeo variant) Seahawk at NAS Jacksonville June 26.

"This MH-60R avionics maintenance simulator marks the end of a four-year process to develop the aviation technical training necessary to positively impact to the fleet through the professional development of MH-60R maintainers," said CNATTU Jax Commanding Officer Cmdr. James Beaudry. "We appreciate all the hard work by civilians, Sailors and contractors to get all four Romeo simulators up and teaching."

HSL-44 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Sean Haley represented Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic at the ceremony. He said his squadron is scheduled to receive its first pair of Romeos in January.

"We're starting maintenance training now, so our mechanics and technicians are ready to support our transition from Bravo to Romeo next year. In the meantime, the 'Swamp Foxes' are still fully operational with four Bravo detachments currently deployed. Next year, we'll operate as a dual-platform squadron for about four months until the sundown of the Bravo," said Haley.

Simulator Technical Director Mike Muehlbauer, of Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic, said the avionics maintenance simulator is the final trainer added to the wing's schoolhouse.

"The reason we had enough space to add the four new Romeo simulators is that when the Paul Nelson building was constructed in 1991, it was designed to support the Navy's transition from the SH-3 to the SH-60 platforms. Now, almost 20 years later, we're transitioning from the SH-60s to the MH-60s. Until the SH-60 sundown is complete, we will operate three avionics maintenance trainers — an SH-60B, an SH-60F and our new MH-60R," said Muehlbauer.

Larry Williams, the MH-60R avionics instructor, said the new simulator not only provides more realistic training but also saves money.

"Compared to the Bravo and Foxtrot simulators, this Romeo is our most complex and realistic hands-on trainer in the schoolhouse. It simulates more than 200 gripes or malfunctions that you may find in the fleet. One of its unique features is the virtual test set. This touch-screen computer system brings up appropriate test sets used to diagnose gripes according to the manual. This eliminates our school having a million dollars' worth of test gear that could be better deployed with the fleet."

Tim Frantzen, MH-60 training systems program manager for NAVAIR, said the AMT (avionics maintenance trainer) represents the latest, most sophisticated teaching platform in the Navy.

"When more Romeos start rolling in on the NAS Jacksonville flight line, and the ATs are called out to troubleshoot a discrepancy, there's a high likelihood that they've already dealt with the discrepancy in this schoolhouse."

"With all four Romeo trainers up and teaching, CNATTU Jax now leads the fleet with the latest and greatest technology," Frantzen added.

In addition to the avionics maintenance trainer, the other three maintenance simulators are: the composite maintenance trainer (CMT); the automatic flight control system trainer; and the weapons load trainer. There is also a full-flight Romeo simulator for pilots and aviation warfare systems operators.

Muehlbauer said the CMT offers Navy instructors automated tools and training scenarios for much more effective, hands-on student training and evaluation.

"The MH-60R CMT trains technicians to maintain the helicopter's airframe, power plant, power train, hydraulics, auxiliary power unit, flight controls, blade de-ice, vertical indicator display, automatic flight control computer, stabilator, blade fold, pylon fold, rotor brake, chip detector, landing gear, and fire extinguishing systems and control/instrument panels, among other focal areas," he said.

The Romeo simulators are part of the Navy helicopter Concept of Operations (CONOPS) approved by the chief of naval operations in 2002. Under CONOPS, the SH-60B and SH-60F Seahawk variants are being replaced by the more robust MH-60R. When the HSL/HSM transition is complete around 2015, Romeo squadrons will be homeported at both NAS Jacksonville and NS Mayport. 


"With all the new squadrons arriving at NAS Jacksonville, the helicopter simulator operators have become very busy," said Muehlbauer. "We must be extremely flexible in order to meet to the continuously changing training needs of the wing."

US Ambassador to Canada Receives Warm Welcome Aboard Wasp

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Christopher Koons, USS Wasp Public Affairs

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (NNS) -- The U.S. ambassador to Canada arrived aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1), June 30, for a reception to coincide with Independence Day celebrations.

"Today, we honor those who helped shape the path of our nation's history," said David Jacobson to the crowd gathered in Wasp's hangar bay. "This past week's Fleet Review was a reminder of the fact that the values embodied in the Declaration of Independence would not have survived without the courage and sacrifice of people like the Sailors on Wasp."

With Wasp docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia as the lead U.S. Navy ship in the Canadian Centennial and International Fleet Review Week (CNC/IFR) events, Jacobson also talked about the friendship between the U.S. and Canada.

"Every day, Canadian military forces stand shoulder-to- shoulder with us in Afghanistan and other places around the world," he said. "We are forever grateful for their efforts."

Vice Adm. Melvin Williams, Jr., commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, also talked to the crowd about the importance of cooperation between the U.S., Canada, and all allied nations.

"The importance of the sea to the security of the U.S., to the security of Canada, and to the security of all nations who move commerce in our inter-connected world is truly significant," said Williams. "I believe that we must maintain strong navies to guarantee security of the maritime environment. The oceans are the lifeblood of national and global economies, of our prosperity, and of our security."

For Vice Adm. Dean McFadden, Canada's chief of maritime staff, coming aboard Wasp for the reception was an awe-inspiring occasion.

"You can't help but be humbled when you stand on the deck of a ship this huge," said McFadden. "Wasp is an example of true naval power."

With more than 30 ships from Canada, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States participating in the CNC/IFR, McFadden said the alliance of all of these nations presents a truly formidable team.

"All navies understand that in times of peace, we build bonds of friendship between nations, so that in times of war we can put the type power we've seen on display here to good use," he said.

Capt. Lowell D. Crow, Wasp's commanding officer, summed up the purpose of the reception when he talked about the history of the ship.

"Tonight, we are here to celebrate not only friendship between our two great nations but also to take this opportunity to celebrate our independence," he said. "It is fitting that we do this celebration aboard Wasp, as that name has been on U.S. Navy ships from the American Revolution to the current incarnation, which turns 21 years old next month. I welcome you all aboard our great ship."

Wasp is participating in the CNC/IFR that began on June 25 and concludes July 2. Wasp Sailors and Marines, including embarked Carrier Strike Group 2, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, and 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines are participating in various cultural and sporting events during the visit aimed at strengthening relationships and the strong bilateral and multilateral ties shared between the Canadian navy and its allies.

Wisconsin Air Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing supports presidential visit

Date: July 1, 2010
By Staff Sgt. Nathan T. Wallin
128th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing played a supporting role in President Barack Obama's visit to the dairy state Wednesday (June 30).

Air Force One touched down at General Mitchell International Airport around noon, where the 128th's security force, in coordination with the Secret Service and other government officials, had been preparing the base for his arrival. This is the first time the 128th has supported a presidential visit, a Mitchell Field responsibility previously handled by the Air Force Reserve's 440th Airlift Wing.

After briskly departing the aircraft, the president greeted Gov. Jim Doyle, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and 128th Air Refueling Wing Commander, Col. Ted Metzgar.

Also standing ready to welcome and greet the president were more than 100 Airmen, including Senior Airman Justin Gruber, a crew chief in the 128th's Maintenance Squadron.

"It was pretty cool," Gruber said. "He came over to us really quick and I froze for a second."

"He looked at me, and I said 'Welcome, Mr. President,' and he replied, 'Thank you for your service,'" Gruber added.

Tech. Sgt. Kristen Henrichs, a military pay technician in the 128th's Finance Office, also met the president.

"He's very personable and friendly - he looked me right in the eye and said, 'It's nice to meet you,'" Henrichs said following the visit. "It was an awesome day - it's not every day you get to meet the president."

Soon after he greeted the assembled Airmen, the president was gone, his motorcade on its way to the town hall meeting at Racine's Memorial Hall, where he had the opportunity to meet another Wisconsin National Guard member. Army Staff Sgt. Emily Russell sang the National Anthem to begin the town hall meeting.

The president's appearance at the 128th Air Refueling Wing, though brief, was the second supported by the Wisconsin Air National Guard in the past eight months. The first occurred last November at Madison's 115th Fighter Wing.

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 1, 2010

NAVY

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $65,264,580 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024 09 C-5305) for low-rate initial production of the fiscal 2010 Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Block I all-up-rounds, instrumentation kits, design agent services, spares and containers. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (50 percent); Camden, Ark. (23 percent); Boston, Mass. (5 percent); Dallas, Texas (4 percent); Hanahan, S.C. (3 percent); Anniston, Ala. (2 percent); San Jose, Calif. (2 percent); and other locations (11 percent). Work is expected to be completed by December 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $51,753,660 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to the previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-2101) for the planning efforts of the submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) post-shakedown availability (PSA). Work to be performed will include performing planning efforts, including long-lead time material procurement, in preparation to accomplish the maintenance, repair, alterations, testing and other work on the submarine during its scheduled PSA. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn. (99 percent), and Quonset Point, R.I. (1 percent); and is expected to be completed by July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Groton, Conn., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $51,295,003 firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable requirements contract to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics life cycle support for 54 Navy and 11 Marine Corps C-12 aircraft. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station (NAS), Corpus Christi, Texas (38 percent); NAS Patuxent River, Md. (8 percent); NAS North Island, Calif. (6 percent); Naval Support Activity, Bahrain (5 percent); NAS Norfolk, Va. (5 percent); Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan (5 percent); NAF Andrews, Md. (3 percent); NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (3 percent); NAF Kadena, Japan (3 percent); Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, N.C. (3 percent); MCAS Yuma, Ariz. (3 percent); NAS New Orleans, La. (3 percent); MCAS Iwakuni, Japan (3 percent); MCAS Futenma, Japan (1.5 percent); NAS Willow Grove, Pa. (1.5 percent); NAS Dallas, Texas (1.5 percent); NAS Miramar, Calif. (1.5 percent); NAF Misawa, Japan (1.5 percent); MCAS Beaufort, S.C. (1.5 percent); NAS Jacksonville, Fla. (1.5 percent); and Manassas, Va. (1.5 percent). Work is expected to be completed in August 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-D-0038).

The Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., is being awarded a $27,308,090 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the acquisition of scientific, engineering and technical services for design, development, fabrication, test, repair, and fleet implementation of the AN/BQH-9(V) signal data recording set; the AN/UNQ-9 tactical data recorder; AN-BQH-5(V)4 data gathering set; and the tape processing system. Work will be performed in Seattle, Wash., and is expected to be completed by September 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $4,091,053 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, West Bethesda, Md., is the contracting activity (N00167-10-D-0002).

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., is being awarded a $9,234,410 modification P00212 under a previously awarded contract (M67854-02-C-2052) to purchase 35 ground-based operational surveillance system remote ground station kits; 35 duct plenum adapter kits; and 35 generator, ECU and tent trailers. Work will be performed in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

LOGANEnergy, Corp.*, Sandy Springs, Ga., is being awarded a $5,738,792 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of two molten carbonate fuel cell systems, which will include installation, service and maintenance. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., and is expected to be completed in October 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $2,869,396 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals, with one offer received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-C-0104).

AIR FORCE

Northrop Grumman Information Systems, San Diego, Calif., was awarded a contract modification not-to-exceed $45,192,154 which will provide maintenance and support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node payload installed in Global Hawk Block 20 unmanned aerial vehicle in support of overseas contingency operations from June 2010 through June 2011. At this time, $44,080,803 has been obligated. 653d ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity. (FA8726-09-C-0010 Modification P00012)

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $28,502,578 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for coats and trousers. Other locations of performance are Mississippi, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is March 30, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1c1-10-D-1066).

Lockheed Martin, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $23,984,352 firm-fixed-price, undefinitized, sole-source contract for procurement of automated radar periscope detection discriminator system components. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is March 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZCBA), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-09-G-002Y-0003).

Fox Apparel, Inc.*, Asheboro, N.C., is being awarded a maximum $22,111,008 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for trousers. Other locations of performance are Mississippi and North Carolina. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is June 30, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-1071).