Military News

Friday, July 09, 2010

Air Guard Instructor Uses Marine Experience

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
National Guard Bureau

July 9, 2010 - Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Butler is a former Marine who's now serving here as an instructor with the Texas Air National Guard. "I absolutely love my job down here and the guys I work with," Butler said about serving with the 204th Security Forces Squadron, which operates the Desert Defender Air Force Regional Training Center.

Butler is putting the combat knowledge he gained through his Marine Corps service to use by preparing active duty, Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command security forces airmen for area security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their training includes mounted operations on armored vehicles, dismounted patrols, counterinsurgency operations, and sniper and countersniper operations.

Butler provides his students with some Marine Corps-style confidence-building during their nearly 50 days of intense training.

"I tell them up front, 'I'm going to push you to your limits, as far as I can possibly push you,' and that's what we do," he said. "Coming out of here, they learn a valuable lesson, whether it's how much they can stand, or who can stand the heat and who needs to be trained a little bit more."

The Guard is well known for its soldiers and airmen who bring civilian expertise as well as prior service knowledge to a mission. Butler said the real-life experiences of all the Guard instructors help in developing scenarios that show students what they will encounter when they're deployed.

Butler joined the Air Guard after serving 12 years in the Marine Corps and two years with Air Force Reserve Command, which brought him to the Texas Guard on a temporary duty assignment.

"I had no intentions when I came to this unit of joining the Guard until I came down here," he said.

Since he joined, the schoolhouse has grown to become an Air Force-certified, regional facility with new buildings, classrooms and the latest military equipment.

"We put our heads together and based off of that and what the [Air Force] Security Forces Center requires us to teach, [we] roll that all into one training package," he said.

Butler works with 39 other instructors, including other Marine Corps and Army combat veterans, former police officers and other experienced Guardsmen.

"The drive, the desire to do good and teach these deploying defenders is in every single one of the cadre," said Air Force Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, the squadron and training center commander. "We all give a 110 percent every day to these students."

Alverez said experience "outside the wire" in the combat theater is an important element the instructors bring to the table.

"The cadre has fired their weapons in theater," he said. "They have seen it, they have done it, and that is what we are best suited to [teach]."

'Salty Dawgs' Donate to NMC's Fisher House

By Deborah Kallgren, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- The Salty Dawgs motorcycle riding club rumbled into the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), Va., gate July 9 to donate more than $6,000 to the Portsmouth Fisher House.

The Dawgs are active duty and retired service members as well as veterans who have left the Navy under honorable conditions.

This is the fourth year the group has donated to the Portsmouth Fisher House.

Rear Adm. Alton Stocks, the NMCP commander and a motorcycle enthusiast, and Loretta Loveless, Fisher House manager, accepted the check.

The Fisher House in Portsmouth opened in June 1995 and was the first in Virginia. It has provided temporary lodging to approximately 2,450 families and guests while their loved ones were hospitalized.

The Fisher House is a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at the hospital. There are 45 Fisher Houses worldwide, all located within walking distance of a major military or Veterans Affairs medical center. The Fisher House at NMCP can accommodate seven families who are visiting their loved ones at the hospital. Guests stay for free at the Fisher House.

Mullen Presses for More Family Support

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2010 - Heather Forsgren Weaver, a colleague of mine at American Forces Press Service, is a regular contributor to Family Matters. Heather's been heavily involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts content on a daily basis.

In this blog, Heather writes about a recent podcast by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Deborah where they talked about increasing support for Guard and Reserve families.

With all of the stresses of military life, families need support systems and the nation's top military leader is working to make sure programs are available to eliminate the isolation that some National Guard and Reserve members and their families feel.

In a recent podcast, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Deborah, expressed support for Guard and Reserve families.

Throughout his career, Mullen and his family have not felt the isolation felt by many Guard and Reserve families because they had a support network.

"In that family support network, there is a common understanding about what it means to be deployed. What it means to make the kind of transitions that we are asking so many of these families to make," Mullen said. "When you get to the Guard and Reserve, they are isolated and they don't have that support network."

Installation-based programs are often not available to these families because they live too far away, Mrs. Mullen said, so it is important that Guard and Reserve families take advantage of web-based programs and resources. One program that Mrs. Mullen pitched was the Army Reserve's Fort Family.

Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz sets out Fort Family's vision on the website. "I want every military family living in small town America to have the same support as if they were living on the installation."

Sources like Fort Family are the "life ring" that military spouses and children can "grab onto" when the challenges of military life arise, Mullen said in his podcast.

A big issue for Guard and Reserve members and their families is reintegration when the servicemember returns from a deployment, both Mullens said.

"There is no opportunity for the families to readjust and for that servicemember to readjust," Mrs. Mullen said.

"Often there is a pressure to return to your previous life. Given the combat situations we face, the losses, the wounds, the stress, all of those things. I think we need to be measured about that reintegration. More deliberate," Mullen added.

Survey Will Permit Informed Decisions, Official Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2010 - Attitudes of the force to be gleaned from a survey on the possible repeal of the law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military will allow leaders to make informed decisions, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Morrell said many stories that have resulted from advocacy groups leaking a 103-question survey e-mailed this week to 400,000 servicemembers "have been inflammatory in the worst case, and misleading in the best case."

Defense Department officials wanted the survey to remain confidential, Morrell said, but the distribution of the survey to 200,000 active duty servicemembers and 200,000 reserve-component personnel worked against that aim.

The survey was designed to be a confidential conversation between the a Defense Department working group studying the matter, in particular, and a large representative sample of the force, Morrell said.

"We thought it would be breaking faith with them for us to be proactively sharing the survey," he said, "because what we are trying to do is preserve the credibility and integrity of the answers that it elicits from the force."

Advocacy groups on both sides of the question released the survey, and Morrell said the outside influence is not helpful to the process.

The survey is designed to get the attitudes of the force on how to proceed if Congress repeals the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, and is not a referendum on whether or not the law should be repealed, Morrell said. The answers, he added, will inform the working group's deliberations.

Pentagon officials worked with a professional and reputable polling firm to produce the survey, Morrell noted. Roughly the first third of the 103 questions seeks demographic information. The second third asks about professional and military experience. The final third asks how the law's repeal might affect the individual being surveyed, he explained.

The working group led by Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department's general counsel, already has spoken with 14,000 servicemembers, Morrell said. Another 33,000 servicemembers have interacted with the department electronically, he added.

Of the responses to date, Morrell said, many included concerns about privacy issues. "Clearly," he said, "a component of this scientific survey had to deal with privacy questions." Ten survey questions address privacy issues surrounding bathing facilities, living facilities and social settings.

"We think it would be irresponsible to conduct a survey that didn't address these questions," Morrell said, "because when 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force, or perhaps even facility adjustments that need to be made to deal with those scenarios.

"But we won't know any of that until we get a sense from the force of their attitudes," he continued. "It could turn out, based on this survey, that there are far fewer concerns than we are led to believe. There could more or different concerns than we had anticipated."

But Defense Department officials need the information generated from this survey to make smart decisions, Morrell said.

"We need people to participate in this survey to get a scientific understanding of the attitudes of the force, or the concerns, or issues or opportunities that may result from a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell," he said.

New ejection seat added to T-38

by Robert Goetz
502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

7/9/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The T-38 Talon is receiving an upgrade that officials said will improve aircrews' safety and comfort.

Representatives from Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Inc. are in the early stages of installing their new escape systems in all T-38Cs at Randolph AFB after completing the same project at Laughlin AFB, Texas, the first of five Air Education and Training Command installations scheduled for the upgrade.

One of the greatest advantages of the new seat, called the Mk US16T, is that it functions well in the situation that accounts for most ejections, said Rick French, an AETC T-38 program manager.

"The old ejection seat has the least capability in the flight regime where the most ejections occurred, the low-altitude, low-airspeed range, because it takes a few seconds for the parachute to open when you leave the aircraft," Mr. French said.

"The best part of the new seat is that it's a zero-zero seat," said Rey Gutierrez, a 12th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment instructor. "It will eject at zero altitude and zero airspeed, so the aircrew can bail out on the ground."

The new seat provides rapid deployment of the parachute following ejection, Mr. French said.

"When the seat clears the aircraft, explosives deploy the parachute," he said. "It's almost instantaneous."

A bonus for aircrew members is that they no longer have to carry their 45-pound parachutes to the aircraft, because each one is part of the ejection seat, enclosed in a container called the head box. Their only requirement is to wear a 5-pound harness that attaches to the ejection seat. The parachute itself, an aeroconical design, incorporates multiple safety features.

Another feature, the inter-seat sequencing system, which has a selector box with three options, decreases the possibility of aircrew collision during ejection and potential aircrew burn, because the rear seat will always eject first, no matter which crew member pulls the seat firing handle located on the front of the seat.

Another advantage of sequencing "is that the rear seat ejects up and to the right, and the front seat ejects up and to the left, so a collision is unlikely," Mr. Gutierrez said.

In addition, the seat decreases the potential of injury to aircrew members, especially at high airspeed, because its thigh and ankle restraints keep them more secure. It also expands the population who can fly the T-38 to anyone from 103 to 245 pounds, because the seat has two positions, including one that moves it one inch forward.

"Now the seat can better accommodate smaller pilots," Mr. French said. "The old seat accommodates 58 percent of female pilots; the new seat brings that percentage up to 87 percent."

The seat's other features include a survival kit with a radio, flares, a mirror, a first aid kit, water, a flashlight and other items as well as fittings that allow for a faster release of the parachute canopy, Mr. Gutierrez said.

The T-38 has been a part of the Air Force's fleet for nearly 50 years.

Airman rescues baby from fire

by Pascual Flores
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

7/9/2010 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- While off-duty and visiting a friend at a nearby fire department July 2, an Airman from here responded to a call of a dwelling fire with people trapped inside.

With the dwelling fire located around the corner from the fire station, Senior Airman John Muirhead, of the 87th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, stopped his vehicle when he noticed a woman hanging out of a third-floor window holding onto an infant.

"I saw them hanging out the window and knew I had to do something," Airman Muirhead said.

With heavy fire located in the front of the house, Airman Muirhead ran to the house and climbed to the second-story roof and directed the woman to drop the infant to him, from a height of approximately 20 feet.

Airman Muirhead caught the baby, and after checking the infant for signs of life and tapping the infant on the back to ensure the baby was breathing, passed the infant to a police officer.

The trapped woman then attempted to jump out of the third-floor window. Airman Muirhead tried to catch her, but lost his grip due to the force impact and almost fell from the roof himself. The woman landed on the ground below and attained a serious head wound.

After climbing down from the roof, Airman Muirhead rendered emergency first aid to the woman by removing his shirt to use as a pressure bandage until emergency medical professionals arrived.

The woman later died from the injury.

Local firefighters rescued an additional two children and one adult during the fire.

"I am very proud of (Airman Muirhead's) quick actions. He has developed into a true leader in the department," said Tom Nicometi, the deputy fire chief of the 87th CES fire department.

Flag Officer Assignment

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignments:

Capt. David J. Gale, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half), will be assigned as commander, Regional Maintenance Center, Norfolk, Va. Gale is currently serving as deputy, SEA-21 for readiness, Surface Warfare (SEA 21A), Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C.

Air Force wounded warrior rides from coast to coast

By Maj. Belinda Petersen
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

July 9, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – A combat controller who last year was laying in a hospital fighting for his life is now riding his bicycle across America as part of his rehabilitation and to inspire other wounded warriors.

Along with 19 of his teammates, Staff Sgt. Marc Esposito from the 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C, is participating in the Sea to Shining Sea ride hosted by World T.E.A.M. Sports and sponsored by State Farm. It is their longest bike trek across America that started at the Golden Gate Bridge and will end at Virginia Beach, Va., July 24.

“The goal of the ride is to honor the courage of [servicemembers], recognize the strength of the American spirit and challenge perceptions of how we view athletes,” said Melissa McKinley, State Farm’s public relations specialist for the team.

But before Sergeant Esposito could even get back on his bike, he spent almost a year in hospitals where he underwent several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation.

“In May 2009, I was operating in Afghanistan as a combat controller in support of an Army special operations team,” Sergeant Esposito said. “We were going after the bad guys when we hit an IED – everyone in the vehicle was thrown out. I was in the rear of the vehicle, where the concentrated blast came from. I was instantly left unconscious and catapulted from the vehicle.

“When the special operations medical technician found me, he said I was on fire, had no heart beat and wasn’t breathing,” he said. “My legs and back were broken, and a lot of my teeth were smashed. I also suffered a traumatic brain injury.”

And now thanks to the tremendous care and support he received from the medical community and his squadron, Sergeant Esposito is riding his bicycle 4,000 miles through deserts, mountain passes, big cities and small towns.

“It is so inspirational to see Marc and his teammates helping each other all along the way,” Ms. McKinley said. “After conquering a hill, Marc will ride back down so he can ride along with someone who needs the encouragement to make it up the hill. That’s how Marc is; he always wants to help others.”

“I want to help others understand that there is life after an injury or illness,” Sergeant Esposito said. “When something traumatic happens, you feel like your life has been turned upside down. Everything is at a standstill. But you have to get back into life by doing what you love and loving what you do.”

That’s the message he and his teammates are inspiring in others as they ride across America, meeting people at water stops, restaurants, historical landmarks and military bases.

“They are changing people’s lives as they go through small towns,” Ms. McKinley said.

When the team reaches Washington, Sergeant Esposito wants to visit servicemembers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the same place where he spent several months enduring painful surgeries and not knowing what his future held.

Sergeant Esposito remembers how wonderful it was to have visitors when he was a patient at WRAMC.

“I want to give back by talking to the young troops and letting them know to never give up,” Sergeant Esposito said. “I want to inspire in them that they can do it as long as they put their minds to it.”

“And an inspiration he is,” said Senior Airman Brian Petras from Little Rock AFB, Ark., and who is also participating in the Sea to Shining Sea ride. “We met at the Center for the Intrepid while we were both going through rehabilitation, and we have inspired each other.”

“By doing the Sea to Shining Sea ride, we want to prove that we are still an asset to our great country, that we are still very capable and can continue to serve,” Airman Petras said.

Along with Sergeant Esposito and Airman Petras, other Air Force riders include Christopher Frost, Kevin Sullivan and Scott Bilyeu.

The team rides anywhere from 30 miles to 120 miles in one day, averaging 77 miles in a day. In two months, team members will only rest 11 days. They will enter Sergeant Esposito’s home state today.

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 9, 2010

ARMY

L-3 Communications Westwood Corp., Tulsa, Okla., was awarded on July 7 a $175,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This three-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract is for the ordering of 30 and 60 kilowatt tactical quiet generator (TQG) sets to ensure the government obtains a seamless supply of TQG sets to provide the necessary and critical power for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment and combat support systems. This modification is issued to increase the contract ceiling amount by $175,000,000 from $201,000,000 to $376,000,000. Work is to be performed in Tulsa, Okla., with an estimated completion date of March 1, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Contracting Center-Washington, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-08-D-A002).

General Dynamics OTS Garland, LP, Garland, Texas, was awarded on July 2 a $58,346,730 firm-fixed-price contract for MK80 series bomb bodies. Work is to be performed in Garland, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. HQ, Army Contracting Command, CCRC-AR, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-05-D-0006).

Inglett & Stubbs International, Ltd., Smyrna, Ga., was awarded on July 7 a $53,942,310 firm-fixed-price contract. The contractor will provide electrical crews and material required for limited electrical inspection and repair of U.S. occupied camps, not supported by the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, in diverse areas in Afghanistan. Contractor personnel will be expected to respond to emerging conditions throughout Afghanistan and correct immediate life, health and safety issues. Contractor will field 60 licensed electricians to perform tasks identified in the statement of work. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-10-C-0027).

Textron, Inc., New Orleans, La., was awarded on July 2 a $49,808,772 firm-fixed-price contract. This award exercises options for 52 armored security vehicles; 21 M1200 armored Knights; and 12 special tool sets with Textron Marine & Land Systems. Work is to be performed in New Orleans, La., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM, Warren, CCTA-ATB-D, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0532).

Propper International, Inc., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, was awarded on July 6 a $48,999,993 firm-fixed-price contract for Marine Corps three-season sleep system. Work is to be performed in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, with an estimated completion date of April 1, 2015. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with four bids received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command, Natick Contracting Center, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (W911QY-10-D-0014).

James Construction Group, LLC, Baton Rouge, La., was awarded on July 6 a $38,478,691 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the construction of "Westbank and Vicinity, New Orleans, Louisiana Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System WBV-73 Western Tie-In Highway Crossing, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana." This work consists of, but is not limited to, the construction of: T-walls; a four-lane highway bridge; temporary detour road, excavation and backfill, drainage culverts, catch basins, and headwalls; temporary retaining structures, utility relocations, clearing and grubbing, seeding and mulching; fertilizing, and other incidental work. Work is to be performed in Saint Charles Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of July 10, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with nine bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P9-10-C-0069).

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on July 7 a $30,050,498 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract action directs production cut-in of the revised Stryker performance specifications, which incorporates a modified hull design into 281 vehicles. The double-V hull is an integrated solution that provides improved protection levels to support operations in the Operation Enduring Freedom area of responsibility. Work is to be performed in London, Canada (70 percent), and Sterling Heights, Mich. (30 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 23, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM, CCRA-AIP, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on July 2 a $23,634,480 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the procurement of 792 months equal to 66 field service representatives for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, CCTA-ADC-A, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Marinex Construction, Inc., Charleston, S.C., was awarded on July 6 a $10,546,000 firm-fixed-price contract for "Maintenance Dredging, Morehead City Harbor, Ocean Bar, Carteret County, NC." Work is to be performed in Carteret County, N.C., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2011. Twenty-five bids were solicited with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Wilmington, N.C., is the contracting activity (W912HN-10-C-0037).

Alliant Ammunition and Powder Company, LLC, Radford, Va., was awarded on July 2 a $9,393,428 firm-fixed-price contract for ammunition: 194,155 M1/MP, National Stock Number (NSN) 000090042; and 1,376 M1/SP, NSN 000090041. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, CCRC-AR, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-G-0002).

MPRI, a division of L-3 Services, Inc., Alexandria, Va., was awarded on July 6 a $7,300,000 time-and-material contract. This contract is an extension of support services for professional mentoring and training support services with reforming the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense and their subordinate organization, policies and procedures. Work is to be performed in Alexandria, Va. (99.9 percent), and Afghanistan (0.1 percent), with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Research, Development & Engineering Command Contracting Center, Aberdeen Contracting Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-05-D-0014).

Rolls Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded on July 7 a $7,195,380 firm-fixed-price contract. This requirement is for 15 gas turbine engines, Model 250/C30R/3, to support the OH-58D Kiowa safety enhancement program. Work is to be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone, Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-D-0190).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on July 6 a $6,666,930 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is definitization of not-to-exceed price for the conversion of 9 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters into unique aircraft configuration for the Bahrain Defense Force, Foreign Military Sales Case BA-B-UIR. Contractor will also provide technical publication; integrated logistics support; field service representative; warranty; and ferry flight technical shipping support. Work is to be performed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command, AMSAM-AC-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded on July 2 a $5,800,997 firm-fixed-price contract for 4,700 Special Forces load carriage systems in both areas of responsibility (AOR): AOR 1, desert/arid terrain regions; and AOR 2, temperature/tropical forested terrain regions. This delivery order is also for 900 special warfare combat craft load carriage systems in AORs 1 and 2. Work is to be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., with an estimated completion date of May 9, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Research, Development & Engineering Command Contracting Center, Natick Contracting Division, CCRD-NA-SY, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (W911QY-10-D-0011).

AIR FORCE

Gulf Coast Architectural Group, Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $47,500,000 contract which will provide architectural and engineering services in support of the Air Force Reserve Command mission. A t this time, $50,000 has been obligated. AFRC/A7KA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA6643-10-D-0003).

GE Aviation Systems, Vandalia, Ohio, was awarded a $7,238,924 contract which will design the development, fabrication and testing of a solid state electrical distribution link. At this time, $575,000 has been obligated. AFRL/PKPA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-10-2-2011).

NAVY

Reyes Construction, Inc., Pomona, Calif., is being awarded a $13,968,450 firm-fixed price task order #0004 under a previously awarded multiple-award construction contract (N62473-09-D-1606) for the repair of main runway 8/26 at Naval Air Facility El Centro. The work to be performed provides for procurement design and construction for airfield pavement repairs. Work includes demolition, removal and disposal of concrete and asphalt pavements; preparation of existing base material and placement treated base material; placement of concrete and asphalt pavements; preparation and repair of concrete panels, spalls, joints, and sealant; and all incidental related work. Work will be performed in El Centro, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd., Gyeongnam, Korea, is being awarded a $9,577,300 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N62470-10-C-8009) to exercise Option 1 which provides for the procurement of second ship-to-shore container cranes for Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point wharf. The work to be performed provides for fabrication of ship-to-shore container cranes used in container handling operations to load and off load ships and other vessels. The cranes are manufactured in different sizes and varying capabilities. The total contract amount after exercising this option will be $27,500,000. Crane manufacturing work will be performed in Changwon, Korea, and crane installation and utilization will be performed in Southport, N.C. Work is expected to be completed by May 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Navy Crane Center, Portsmouth, Va., is the contracting activity.

Ross Fresno, LLC, dba Corporate Aircraft, Inc., Fresno, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $9,010,080 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Fresno, Calif. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2014. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0047).

GKN Aerospace New England, Inc., Manchester, Conn. is being awarded a maximum $7,916,832 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract blade turbine rotor for the F101 turbofan engine. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. The proposal was originally solicited via the Defense Logistics Agency Internet Bid Board System Web site with two responses. The contract consists of a one-year base with four one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is July 8, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va., is the contracting activity (SPM4A7-10-D-0270).

BAE Systems, Information & Electronics Systems Integration, Nashua, N.H. is being awarded a maximum $7,049,968 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, undefinitized contract for electronic frequency convertor units. 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 Sept. 1, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZC), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N00383-05-G-009G-THAM).

Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group Conducts COMPTUEX

From Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is taking part in a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX) July 7-30 off the East Coast of the United States.

Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F) scheduled the exercise, and it will be conducted by a training team led by Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL).

"COMPTUEX is an invaluable training opportunity that allows us to flex our ability to operate at the warfare commander level in a tactically realistic environment," said Capt. Peter Pagano, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 deputy commander. "It allows us to bring the different parts of the amphibious ready group together along with our allies and put them in a threat environment similar to what we could face in the real world."

COMPTUEX is designed to provide realistic training environments for U.S. naval forces that closely replicate the operational challenges routinely encountered during military operations around the world. Training such as this will ensure that the ARG is prepared to support any mission.

"It stresses all of those mission areas, the full spectrum, and it really gives us an opportunity to not only practice what we might be called upon to do, but we have evaluators on board who will assess us and provide mentorship to make us a better prepared group," said Capt. Baxter Goodly, Kearsarge's commanding officer.

The ARG is comprised of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 4, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Kearsarge, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and the amphibious platform docking ship USS Ponce (LPD 15).

Three British vessels will also play a major role in the COMPTUEX. The Royal Navy fleet flagship HMS Ark Royal (R07), destroyer HMS Liverpool (D92) and landing platform docks HMS Albion (L14).

The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72), the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and the frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39) are also be participating in this exercise.

Navy Embraces Diversity Through Employee Resource Groups

By Lt. Erik Wells, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The chief of naval personnel (CNP) has a goal to reach that is both lofty and obtainable - to demonstrate the U.S. Navy is an organization ranked among the top 50 best employers.

Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson believes one way to improve the Navy's competitive advantage is by integrating a part of corporate America into the Navy mindset through the creation of employee resource groups (ERGs).

"Employee resource groups are widely used by top performing organizations in order to gain broader perspective on policies and practices desired by or affecting employees," said Ferguson. "The groups also serve as a means for employees to connect with peers and consider issues to stimulate positive change at the individual and management level."

The ERGs have support not just with military leaders, but with senior civilian leaders in the Navy as well. Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserves Affairs Juan Garcia recently addressed a joint gathering of the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO) Washington, D.C., chapter and the Hispanic ERG of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations N1 (Manpower and Personnel).

"By 2030, we set a goal of having a flag pool, that is, post-major command O-6s (captains), that looks like America," said Garcia. "ERGs are the engines that are helping us get there."

In the fall of 2008, Ferguson asked the Navy Diversity Directorate to create employee resource groups. The first ERG was soon established with a focus on women. In December 2008, the Hispanic ERG and Asian Pacific Islander ERG were formed. In 2009, an employee resource group for African Americans was established.

"We want to emulate the successful organizations to serve our Sailors more effectively and give our leadership a better understanding of the concerns of the entire Navy team - military, civilian and contractor," said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Files, special assistant to the assistant deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training and education, and action officer for CNP's African-American ERG.

While the ERGs focus on encouraging employees who are diverse to participate, all employees are encouraged to attend. The inclusiveness of the ERGs is stressed because the issues they address affect every member of the Navy. Their primary goal to date has been to focus on professional development and mentoring.

Files said it's beneficial to have employees of like minds coming together and addressing issues that impact them.

"In a large setting that is more diverse, some employees may be reluctant to speak up, but if allowed to form ERGs, there is more support among peers to address issues that impact an employee's professional environment and development," said Files.

In the two years since the ERGs were formed, there have been successes and areas that need more focus, but the overall goals of improving diversity and giving employees a greater voice are showing progress.

"The face of the Navy needs to reflect our society," said Chief Religious Program Specialist Rafael Barney, president of the ANSO Washington, D.C., chapter and action officer for the Hispanic ERG.

"ERGs are keeping the goal of greater diversity within the ranks of the Navy front and center," said Barney. "We have senior leaders from the flag community and executive service at most meetings because they are plotting the course for our future Navy and they want to mentor junior Sailors so they understand the course ahead."

Chief of Naval Reserve Visits Stuttgart

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Patrick Grieco, Commander, Navy Reserve Force Public Affairs

STUTTGART, Germany (NNS) -- The chief of the Navy Reserve visited reserve Sailors from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) July 8 during an all hands call at the Patch Barracks Fintess Center in Stuttgart, Germany.

"The main point is how much we appreciate their service," said Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink. "Stuttgart is an important mission and these Sailors have an important mission."

Debbink said he is consistently impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the Navy Reserves.

"I can't go anywhere without someone telling me how incredible our Sailors are," said Debbink. "Giving thanks here is a big part of it, but it's also so I can sense a feel of what's going on and take these issues back to D.C."

Debbink said he believes it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a Reservist and an active duty Sailor now.

"These days a Sailor is a Sailor," said Debbink. "Whenever we have a requirement for the Navy to fill we look across the entire fleet, active and Reserve. We pick the Sailor who is best suited to fill this requirement."

One Reservist admitted during the all hands call that he was honored to be chosen to fill a billet at one of the Navy's newest commands.

"It was incredible to be handpicked to fill this duty," said Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class James S. Browning, a target imagery analyst with ARICOM.

"Ready now, anytime, anywhere," said Debbink. "We're proud as Reservists and ready to fill whatever requirements are needed. I want Sailors to come back (to their families and friends) feeling like their time was well spent, and they accomplished the mission."

Debbink answered questions ranging from pay issues to dwell time. He said he feels he has a great honor to work with the Reserves.

"It's a privilege to be here serving our Navy in this capacity," said Debbink. "I get up everyday and go to work for 65,000 of our nation's finest. It's the great work these Sailors are doing that makes us happy every day."

EUCOM is led by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Adm. James Stavridis and conducts military operations and builds partner capacity to enhance security and defend the homeland forward.

AFRICOM, led by Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward, in concert with other U.S. government agencies and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.

The mission of the Navy Reserve is to provide strategic depth and deliver operational capabilities to the Navy and Marine Corps team, and Joint forces, from peace to war.

Chief of Naval Reserve Visits Stuttgart

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Patrick Grieco, Commander, Navy Reserve Force Public Affairs

STUTTGART, Germany (NNS) -- The chief of the Navy Reserve visited reserve Sailors from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) July 8 during an all hands call at the Patch Barracks Fintess Center in Stuttgart, Germany.

"The main point is how much we appreciate their service," said Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink. "Stuttgart is an important mission and these Sailors have an important mission."

Debbink said he is consistently impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the Navy Reserves.

"I can't go anywhere without someone telling me how incredible our Sailors are," said Debbink. "Giving thanks here is a big part of it, but it's also so I can sense a feel of what's going on and take these issues back to D.C."

Debbink said he believes it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a Reservist and an active duty Sailor now.

"These days a Sailor is a Sailor," said Debbink. "Whenever we have a requirement for the Navy to fill we look across the entire fleet, active and Reserve. We pick the Sailor who is best suited to fill this requirement."

One Reservist admitted during the all hands call that he was honored to be chosen to fill a billet at one of the Navy's newest commands.

"It was incredible to be handpicked to fill this duty," said Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class James S. Browning, a target imagery analyst with ARICOM.

"Ready now, anytime, anywhere," said Debbink. "We're proud as Reservists and ready to fill whatever requirements are needed. I want Sailors to come back (to their families and friends) feeling like their time was well spent, and they accomplished the mission."

Debbink answered questions ranging from pay issues to dwell time. He said he feels he has a great honor to work with the Reserves.

"It's a privilege to be here serving our Navy in this capacity," said Debbink. "I get up everyday and go to work for 65,000 of our nation's finest. It's the great work these Sailors are doing that makes us happy every day."

EUCOM is led by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Adm. James Stavridis and conducts military operations and builds partner capacity to enhance security and defend the homeland forward.

AFRICOM, led by Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward, in concert with other U.S. government agencies and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.

The mission of the Navy Reserve is to provide strategic depth and deliver operational capabilities to the Navy and Marine Corps team, and Joint forces, from peace to war.

Synthetic Training Sharpens Lincoln's Warfighting Skills

From USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Public Affairs

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- Abraham Lincoln Strike Group participated in a three-day fleet synthetic training exercise July 7-9 in Everett, Wash., designed to challenge and refine the warfighting skills of its warfare commanders in a virtual environment.

Members from the San Diego-based Tactical Training Group, Pacific (TACTRAGRU) were on board USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) to mentor and place stimulus, or injects, into command display modules, which tested the warfare commanders and tactical watchstanders on their decision making abilities and their ability to communicate throughout the strike group.

TACTRAGRU's mission is to provide advanced training to warriors in order to improve their proficiency in warfighting and joint operations by presenting a challenging and timely curriculum designed to stimulate tactical thought and innovation.

"We are exercising the tactical decision makers in a realistic and stressful tactical training environment," said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Weber, a TACTRAGRU member on board Lincoln for the exercise. "We are pushing the tacticians to make correct decisions within the rules of engagement."

Another aspect of the training exercise was to ensure all strike group communications systems are fine-tuned and ready for extended operations at sea.

"The greatest value in this type of training is that we can do things through simulation that cannot be done through a real-world exercise," said Weber. "An added benefit is that by stressing real-world shipboard display and communications systems, we are able to identify and fix unforeseen problems while the ships are still in their work-up cycle."

The training encompassed all aspects of naval warfighting in a full-spectrum, tactical environment, from air and sea-space management to over-the-horizon warfare, in preparations for the strike group's upcoming, scheduled deployment.

Country, Rock Music Artists Visit USS Scout

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brianna K. Dandridge, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Scout (MCM 8) took a much needed break from daily maintenance operations as country artist, Natalie Stovall and members of the rock band SafetySuit paid a visit to the ship July 8.

According Stovall, the visit was important and allowed her to do something special for the military community.

The musicians were thrilled by the opportunity to play for the troops and visit a U.S. Navy ship, said Stovall.

"This trip has been a great experience, and it has been an honor to be able to play for the troops," said Stovall.

Stovall is relatively new to the country music scene, beginning her career as a child performer in Opryland Kid's Club.

The performers also held a free concert at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain July 7, sponsored by Navy Entertainment and the base's Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

During a tour of Scout, the artists were shown the ship's bridge, mess decks and command information center. Following their tour, Stovall and the members of SafetySuit met with Sailors for autographs and pictures.

Many of Scout's Sailors were able to attend the concert at NSA Bahrain and were excited by the opportunity to meet the performers in person.

"The concert was really good," said Mineman 2nd Class Christopher Southland. "It was cool to meet them."

Stovall and SafetySuit are currently travelling throughout the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) performing at military installations. Next they will travel to Djibouti and USS Nassau (LHA 4) to perform.

"Serving the troops was an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up," said Zack Morse, SafetySuit band member. "It has been a pleasure to perform for them."

Scout operates in support of ongoing 5th Fleet AOR maritime security operations (MSO), with the ability to protect ships and their crews from seemingly invisible threats in the water. Additionally, seaborne mine countermeasure ships contribute to MSO by conducting waterborne security missions and protecting oil platforms. The ships also perform escort duties, direct liaison and joint operations with coalition patrol forces and combatants.

NSWC Indian Head Celebrates Two Million Safe Work Hours

From Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division Public Affairs

INDIAN HEAD, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head Division in Indian Head, Md., achieved a safety milestone the week of July 5.

NSWC Indian Head recorded two million safe work hours to meet the milestone.

Capt. Andy Buduo, NSWC Indian Head commander, credits NSWC Indian Head's crew for its commitment to upholding a safety climate at work.

"It's not enough to be an energetics leader for Department of Defense (DoD), we also have to be committed to being safe energetics leaders," said Buduo.

Jim Brice, NAVSEA assistant deputy commander for maintenance, modernization, environment and safety, visited NSWC Indian Head days before the record was reached. Brice and Buduo discussed the important milestone and ways to keep the safety momentum going.

"We're pleased to have reached the two million hour point, but that was never the goal," said Ray Geckle, NSWC Indian Head safety director. "We don't focus on a specific number of safe hours, instead we want every hour spent working with energetics to be done safely."

In April 2010, NSWC Indian Head's Earle Detachment was honored by the state of New Jersey for its safety record of more than 5.9 years without a lost-time injury. On average, the Navy records 1.5 lost-time work related injuries each year for every 100 full-time employees.

NSWC Indian Head employs more than 1,300 men and women at its main location in Indian Head, Md., and has detachments located in Yorktown, Va., McAlester, Okla., as well as the location in Earle, N.J.

NSWC Indian Head is recognized as the nation's premier resource for energetics technology, development and innovation. Seventy-five percent of all explosives deployed in U.S. weapons since 1985 have been developed by NSWC Indian Head.

New site eyed for National Guard facility in Wausau

July 9, 2010 - The Wisconsin Army National Guard is moving ahead with modified plans to build a new $14.9 million facility in the city of Wausau.

Originally, the Wisconsin Army National Guard intended to purchase 40 acres adjacent to the Fountain Hills subdivision. Tuesday (July 6), the Wausau Common Council was informed of the Wisconsin National Guard's plans to seek an alternate site in Wausau for a field maintenance shop and eventually a new armory.

"In our continued efforts to partner with the city and work in concert with the community and neighbors, we are currently reviewing alternate options that are better suited to meet our needs," said Lt. Col. William Kehoe, a design and project manager for the Wisconsin National Guard.

The new facility will replace the outdated maintenance shop located on 17th Avenue and Sherman Street, which is too small to accommodate the Army's newer, larger vehicles. The present facility also lacks adequate restroom and locker space for its male and female employees. The building no longer meets Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

The new 26,700-square-foot facility will consist of four work bays, as well as administrative offices and personnel areas. The new facility will also include military fuel pumps, a vehicle storage facility and other services to keep military vehicles in working order.

"We are looking forward to finalizing the selection process and purchasing a suitable piece of property, in order to continue forward with the design of this new facility," Kehoe said.

"We realize that the National Guard is beneficial to our community," said Brad Lenz, Wausau city planner. "We want to help them any way possible."

The National Guard has hired HSR Associates, Inc. of La Crosse to construct the new facility. Construction could begin as early as 2011.

Face of Defense: General's Son Pursues Same Path

By Army Spc. Brandon Babbitt
3rd Army

July 8, 2010 - The O'Connor family from northwestern Ohio prides itself on spirituality and hard work, while giving back to their community. Army Brig. Gen. John "Jack" O'Connor, commanding general of Army Materiel Command Southwest Asia and director of logistics for 3rd Army, grew up in a tight-knit family as the youngest of six children.

In 1977, O'Connor accompanied his parents as they retired to Florida and finished high school there. After graduating, he enrolled in the University of Miami, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1984 and completed the ROTC program, earning his Army commission as a second lieutenant transportation officer.

"It was hard to leave my home and that support system I had around me in Toledo," O'Connor said. "Even though I was not a seasoned military brat like my kids, with over 10 moves under their belt, the move to Florida as a teenager was an opportunity to spread my wings and gain some early independence while getting a great education."

O'Connor and his wife, Andree, have two children together: a son, Ryan, 18, and a daughter, Meryl, 16.

Ryan recently graduated from high school in the local community outside of Fort Eustis, Va., and now is headed to Ohio to attend the University of Toledo.

"My brother, Bill, a Navy submarine veteran, lives in Toledo, and has always played a big part in Ryan's life as his godfather and a mentor to him," O'Connor said. "As a father, I feel very comfortable with my son going back to my hometown, because I know he will have a lot of people there who care about him and will introduce him to that great Midwest living and culture."

O'Connor's son will be in the ROTC program at the university, and plans to follow in his father's military footsteps as he seeks the same brotherhood and camaraderie the Army has provided the senior O'Connor for more than 26 years.

Toledo seems to have something going for it when it comes to producing general officers. Two friends and colleagues of General O'Connor -- Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert H. McMahon, director of the U.S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Center, and Army Maj. Gen. James Rogers, commanding general of 1st Theater Sustainment Command -- also hail from Toledo.

"What are the odds that three generals, all from Toledo, would be serving forward at Camp Arifjan [in Kuwait] at the same time?" O'Connor asked with a chuckle.

"When I met my wife, while we were both working in Germany in 1987, we married the same year after four months of dating," O'Connor said. "My boss at the time, retired Maj. Gen. Tom Arwood, was my best man. I was a first lieutenant at the time, and yes, the general was from Toledo too. So my general officer connection to the Glass City goes way back."

O'Connor said he believes his strong Midwest values are a direct result of a cultural upbringing in an environment of teamwork and commitment. He also is reminded of the importance of service to nation as he looks across his family and thinks of those who have served or are serving in the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

O'Connor credits his parents -- William II, a World War II Navy veteran and career fireman, and Betty Jane, a career nurse -- for the family's commitment to give back to their communities and work in the public sector.

"I really owe it to my mom and dad for always instilling in us the importance of giving back and to do things for the greater good," the general said. "I am very proud that my son is following in these very footsteps. It makes me feel like the important things my parents taught me are being handed down to the next generation."

PCU Missouri Successfully Completes Alpha Sea Trials

From Naval Sea Systems Command, Team Submarine Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit Missouri (SSN 780), the U.S. Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine, returned to Groton, Conn., July 4, following the successful completion of its initial, Alpha, sea trials.

Missouri departed Groton, Conn., July 2 on its maiden underway period.

During its Alpha sea trials, Missouri's crew evaluated their ship's capabilities through several different testing evolutions including diving to test depth, conducting an emergency surfacing and testing the submarine's propulsion plant.

Missouri is commanded by Cmdr. Timothy A. Rexrode of Spencer, W.Va.

"Missouri and her crew lived up to our highest expectations," said Capt. Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager. "Cmdr. Rexrode and his team performed flawlessly and were constantly ahead of schedule. The material condition of the ship was outstanding, a testament to the quality of its construction, allowing us to perform a rapid turnaround and get the ship back out on Bravo trials the next day."

Missouri's began Bravo sea trials July 5. The Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) trials will commence aboard Missouri later in July 2010. Missouri's commissioning is scheduled for July 31 in Groton.

Missouri, the seventh submarine of the Virginia class, will deliver nine months early to its original contract delivery date. Additionally, all Virginia-class submarines currently under construction are on track to deliver early while also reducing the total construction span for each successive ship.

Missouri's commissioning, along with USS New Mexico's (SSN 779) in March 2010, will mark the second time since 1996 that the Navy has commissioned two submarines of the same class in the same year.

"We will commission two submarines this year because the Navy and its industrial partners are delivering boats ahead of schedule," said Rear Adm. William Hilarides, Program Executive Officer, Submarines, noting that New Mexico delivered seven months early to its contract delivery date, while Missouri is projected to deliver in 65 months, which is nine months early to its contract delivery date.

"The Virginia program is fulfilling its primary requirements of getting this needed capability to the fleet as soon as possible and is on track to meeting our stated goal of reducing its construction span to 60 months by fiscal year 2012," said Hilarides. Missouri, like her six other sister ships already in commission, is a flexible, multimission platform designed to conduct the seven core missions of the U.S. submarine force - anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; special operations forces; strike; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.

Gates Emphasizes Media Engagement Rules

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 8, 2010 - The Defense Department needs to cooperate with the media, but needs to clean up its act in how it goes about it, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

During a Pentagon news conference, Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed the secretary's recent memo to the department's civilian and military leaders on interaction with the media.

"In my approach to media relations, I've attempted to be as straightforward and cooperative as possible and encouraged this department's leaders to do the same," Gates said. "None of that has changed."

His memo was not about how the media does its job, Gates said, but about improving leaders' interactions with reporters. He said his memo is a reaffirmation of an existing policy "that was being followed selectively, at best."

The secretary has been concerned about Defense Department media interaction for some time, he said. "I have grown increasingly concerned that we have become too lax, disorganized, and, in some cases, flat-out sloppy in the way we engage with the press," he explained.

Mullen stressed that the memo is not meant to muzzle military personnel. "It is not in any way, shape or form meant to preclude the proper engagement with the press," the chairman said.

But military and civilian personnel need to follow certain guidelines when they interact with members of the media. Mullen said. "[The memo] is to actually, in great part, emphasize guidance that has been out there for an extensive period of time, but we've just walked away from," he said.

Defense Department civilian and military officials have spoken outside their areas of expertise, the admiral said, and reports and other documents -- including many on sensitive subjects -- are routinely provided to the media before the secretary or the president are informed.

"Even more worrisome," Mullen said, "highly classified and sensitive information has been divulged without authorization or accountability."

Gates said he hopes the new guidance will not choke off media access, but rather that it will "improve the quality of press engagement by ensuring that the people the media talk to can speak with accuracy and authority."

"This should not infringe or impede the flow of accurate and timely information to you or to the public," he told reporters. "That is not my intent, nor will I tolerate it."

But the reminder was needed, the secretary added.

"Over the last two years, I have lost a first-rate Central Command commander and an outstanding commander of [the International Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan due to their own missteps in dealing with the media," he said. "I've had to recall a combatant commander to Washington for a verbal reprimand for speaking out inappropriately on a sensitive foreign-policy issue.

"I've had two very different presidents each, on several occasions, express concern to me about senior defense officials, both civilian and military, speaking out inappropriately on foreign-policy issues," he continued.

Gates said he is frustrated and concerned with the situation and hopes these reminders of the standing rules will help the department communicate with the American people via the media.

"Effectively communicating what we do and how we do it remains a top priority for me," Gates said. "In fact, I consider it my duty. It's a responsibility I have, not only to the commander in chief and to you in the media, but to the American people. I take it very seriously, and I expect everyone else in this department to do the same."

Restoration Complete for Vietnam War Memorial Statue

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

July 8, 2010 - The newly refurbished Three Servicemen Statue at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was unveiled today after six weeks of restoration.

"This is a very noteworthy event," said Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "It's very noteworthy for the history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, [and] it's really a notable event for our nation's Mall and the maintenance and preservation of our nation's Mall."

The statue was created by sculptor Frederick Hart. Nearly 26 years after its original unveiling in 1984, weather damage and age had taken a toll on the statue. Parts of the uniforms, weapons, hands and noses of the statue sustained some corrosion and deterioration.

The restoration was done in place, and it repaired oxidation damage and added a new patina coating and wax. During restoration, the statue was protected by a wooden enclosure with three seven-foot-tall windows that allowed tourists to view progress.

"Almost 26 years later, we're here to rededicate the statue and pledge our continued care," said Scruggs, a Vietnam War veteran.

The statue sits on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site here, about 200 feet away from and facing the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. The statue depicts three servicemembers – one Hispanic, one black and one white - and represents the more than 58,000 fallen servicemembers memorialized on the wall, Scruggs said.

"There's a sense of artistic and dynamic tension as the servicemen gaze at the sea of names on the wall," Scruggs said. "Over the years, people have noted that it seems almost as if the servicemen are looking to see if their own names or the names of their friends are on the wall."

Hart's widow, Lindy, was recognized at the ceremony for her husband's work. Hart was the only person "who had the extraordinary talent we were looking for and who would design the statue in such a way as to complement the memorial," Scruggs said.

Hart often is referred to in the artistic community as America's Michelangelo, Scruggs said, noting his other famous work, the Creation sculptures on the west fa├žade of the Washington National Cathedral.

"It is really not an exaggeration to refer to him in that manner," Scruggs said. "He was really that good, ... as good as any of the masters in sculpture throughout the history of the world."

One of Hart's models for the Three Servicemen Statue, William Smith, 50, of Virginia, was present and recognized at the ceremony.

Smith's likeness was captured in the Cuban-American servicemember on the right side of the statue, carrying a .60-caliber machine gun over his shoulder. Smith was the only model who didn't serve in the military. The other two were members of the Marine Corps Honor Guard and, at the time, were stationed at Henderson Hall Marine Barracks in Arlington, Va.

Although Smith never served, he said, he's honored that his likeness helps to represent "some of the greatest Americans to ever serve."

"It's amazing to just be a part of this," Smith said. "Being a part of this just fills my soul. It makes me a much better American and gives my pride in my country."

Retired Army Brig. Gen. George Price, an advocate for the statue's creation in the early 1980s, and John Piltzecker, National Mall and Memorial Parks superintendent, also attended the ceremony.

"The National Park Service is certainly pleased that the Three Servicemen Statue has been restored to reflect the artist's intent," Piltzecker said. "We will continue to work with our partner, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, to maintain the statue for all to enjoy."

The restoration project cost about $25,000. The funds were raised by a National Park Service share grant and an in-home fundraiser by Lindy Hart. Individual contributions also were made. New Arts Foundry of Baltimore did the restoration work.

The project is part of a maintenance and restoration program by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to assist the National Park Service in site upkeep.

Gates, Mullen Urge Participation in Survey

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 8, 2010 - Noting the importance of getting the opinions of those who would be most affected by a possible repeal of the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today urged servicemembers to provide their input.

About 400,000 servicemembers are receiving an e-mail survey seeking their opinions, and the department has an online inbox at https://dadt.csd.disa.mil/ for additional feedback from common access card holders.

"I think it is very important for us to understand from our men and women in uniform the challenges that they see," Gates said during a Pentagon news conference today, noting that the department needs their views on the subject and the challenges they see to implementing a possible change to the law.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the department needs objective information that the survey can deliver, and emphasized that no one is drawing conclusions about the survey until it is finished.

"To reach out at this point and try to predict either what they might say or what the results might say, I just think it's too early with respect to that," the chairman said.

Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's top lawyer, are leading a review panel that's assessing the current law.

"I would say that this survey is a very important element of this effort, in part because while General Ham and General Counsel Jeh Johnson have talked to thousands of troops in dozens of military facilities, we have gotten several tens of thousands of comments and views by e-mail in response to the request for people's thoughts on this," Gates said. "This size sampling is obviously the most significant element of getting the views of the troops."

The survey – released yesterday – will go to 200,000 active duty servicemembers and 200,000 reserve-component personnel. Officials estimate it will take 30 minutes to complete the survey, and the deadline for returning them is Aug. 15. Another survey will go to 150,000 family members in August.

Gates insisted on doubling the sample size to its current level.

"The original proposal was to sample 100,000 active-duty and 100,000 in the reserve component," he said. "I strongly suggested that they double the size of the sample - that I wanted a significant percentage of the force to have an opportunity to offer their views on this."

The survey is confidential, the secretary pointed out.

"I strongly encourage gays and lesbians who are in the military to fill out these forms," Gates said. "We've organized this in a way to protect their privacy and the confidentiality of their responses through a third party, and it's important that we hear from them as well as everybody else. But I think we're satisfied that this is an important element of this effort, and that it's being done in a very professional way."

Warrior Monks, Rock Stars and House Guests

By Professor Gene Kamena

General Stanley McChrystal’s reputation as a successful warfighter, creative tactician and superb leader is unsurpassed in today’s military, or at least it was. He lived hard, worked hard and did what it took to succeed. Growing up in the Army’s special operations community, McChrystal learned early in his career what it took to win, how to lead other hard men, and the meaning of sacrifice. He also grew up working in small groups, often leading small teams in combat – in the special operations world a person’s value is not measured by rank, but on performance and loyalty to the group. Often the relationship within these small groups is informal.

Read On
http://www.au.af.mil/au/aunews/archive/2010/0514/0514Articles/Kamena0514.pdf