Military News

Monday, August 02, 2010

Navy Recruiting District Los Angeles Participates in X-Games

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Anthony Briggs Jr., Navy Recruiting District Los Angeles Public Affairs

LOS ANGELES (NNS) -- Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Los Angeles recruiters took part in the 16th ESPN Summer X-Games July 28 through Aug. 1 in Los Angeles.

More than 300,000 spectators descended upon Staples Center, Nokia Theater, L.A. LIVE and the Los Angeles Coliseum for the best in skateboard, BMX freestyle, Moto X and rally car events.

NRD Los Angeles recruiters, along with members from the special warfare community, promoted Navy opportunities at X Fest, a two-block area featuring interactive sponsor booths, musical performances, athlete appearances and family fun.

The SEAL Accelerator Challenge tested participant's fitness levels through push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and a cargo net climb. Prizes were awarded to each day's top male and female scores.

"I didn't think it would be that hard," said Ivan Rius, a 21-year-old from Hemet, Calif. "The cargo net wasn't as easy as it looked, but it was a lot of fun."

During the four-day event, the recruiters were visited by Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and actors D.B. Sweeney, Michael Broderick and Gary Graham.

Graham, who starred as detective Matt Sikes in the television series "Alien Nation," toured the Navy's area and thanked the recruiters for their service.

"You guys do an outstanding job for our country, and I'm proud of each of you," said Graham. "I'm happy to support our military and all the things you do."

Members from the Navy's special warfare community brought out bomb suits, remote controlled robots and dive gear to answer questions of those interested in opportunities to serve in special warfare fields.

The 12-seat Navy simulator was also on hand to give guests an opportunity to be immersed in a full mission profile featuring Navy SEALs.

"The weekend was perfect," said Chief Navy Counselor Michael Drake. "Great weather, plus great people, made it a great time."

Closing the Gap on Post Deployment Health Re-assessments

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

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy is stepping up its efforts to require all returning deployed Sailors to complete a mandatory post deployment health re-assessment (PDHRA).

The PDHRA is completed online and assesses the state of a Sailor's health and provides critical information to military health care providers to identify present and future medical care a member may need.

The assessment is due six months after the Sailor returns home from an individual augmentee manpower management assignment, Global War on Terrorism support assignment or overseas contingency operation support assignment.

"We don't want to ever forget that a Sailor might be dealing with a struggle in life," said Master Chief Scott Benning, fleet master chief of Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education. "Leadership is very much concerned about their health and well-being."

As of May 2010, the completion rate for the PDHRA was more than 90 percent, but the goal is 100 percent.

To reach that goal, the chief of naval personnel released NAVADMIN 246/10 in June 2010 which ties the completion of PDHRA with the periodic health assessment (PHA).

Sailors who are overdue on the PDHRA will be prohibited from taking the PHA and risk failure of the physical readiness test as a result.

"It is imperative that commands understand the importance of making sure their Sailors follow through on the PDHRA," said Benning. "But it's also the personal responsibility of the Sailor to complete it and seek help, if needed."

Benning said a Sailor's life changes when they are sent into theater. Upon their return, they need to be reintegrated back with their families, their shipmates and society. While the process is smooth for most, there are those who may need help but unless they come forward, the help could be elusive which is why identifying needs through the PDHRA is so important.

"Creating a culture where people need to come and ask for help when they need it is what we are trying to do," said Benning. "Operational stress control does that and so does the PDHRA. Ultimately, we all need to be responsible for our professional and personal well being."

Our Forgotten Warriors to Launch Community Reintegration Facility

Our Forgotten Warriors to Launch Community Reintegration Facility in Lacey Washington to Aid Wounded Service Men and Women Become More Independent

August 2, 2010, Carol Blake CEO of Our Forgotten Warriors (OFW) announced that caring for our wounded warriors the right way and helping them get back into their community after injury is long overdue. Ms. Blake stated the founder of Our Forgotten Warriors, Brandon Gauvreau, suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at McChord Air Force Base on July 19, 2007. After spending almost three years at several inpatient rehabilitation facilities Mr. Gauvreau began to come to the realization that there were no resources available to teach him the independent skills he lost as a result of his brain injury, so upon that premise Our Forgotten Warriors was founded.

Our Forgotten Warriors program offerings encompass a list of non-traditional types of therapy. For example, we will have an automotive shop and a music room so our program participant will have the opportunity to engage in a new hobby. Additionally, our program will only be available to active duty military and veterans of the recent wars in an effort to encourage peer to peer support as part of the healing process.

Our Forgotten Warriors hope to work with DoD and VA on this much needed program that will fill the huge gap that exists in care for our wounded service members. Currently, after hospitalization and rehabilitation, our veterans are being released to their homes with the expectation that their caregivers will teach them the skills they need to become independent. But often the caregiver is not aware of the amount time or patience involved in taking on such a task which leaves the wounded service member without the support they need and or require.

Our plan is to launch the first facility in Washington State by the summer of 2011, dependent upon funding from grants and donations. Thereafter, our plan is to open a facility in every state and the often neglected islands of Guam and American Samoa so that our wounded service members will learn the skills they need to reintegrate into their communities while having the support of their family members.

About Our Forgotten Warriors

Our Forgotten Warriors was founded by Brandon Gauvreau who suffered an acquired brain injury at McChord AFB on July 19, 2007. Our Forgotten Warriors mission is to focus on treatment for acquired brain injury (ABI) traumatic brain injury (TBI )and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD )by providing integrated quality programs and services for individuals with physical and cognitive impairment to help them develop to their fullest physical, psychological, social and economic potential consistent with their cultural traditions and their environmental limitations.

For more information please visit http://www.ourforgottenwarriors.org/
For more information contact Carol Blake at 360-280-9055 or Christian Boad at 360-427-2815

Maintainers resurrect F-16s that will become targets

By Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity - San Antonio

7/31/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- Maintainers are towing F-16 Fighting Falcons out of retirement from the "boneyard" here July 29 and preparing them to become the Air Force's newest platform for target training.

Specialists with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group are regenerating F-16s so they can be flown to a Boeing facility in Florida where they will be converted to QF-16 full-scale aerial targets.

Boeing officials received a $69.7 million contract from Air Force officials in March to convert up to 126 retired F-16s into QF-16 drones that can fly either manned or unmanned, according to a Boeing press release.

As part of the QF-16 program developmental phase, Boeing officials tasked 309th AMARG maintainers to regenerate six F-16s. The maintainers spent more than a year and a half, an average of about 80 days per aircraft, preparing the first six aircraft to fly to the Boeing facility. The first F-16 arrived in at the Boeing facility in April. The fourth is scheduled to fly out next week, while two are still in the maintenance phase.

"Once we pull the aircraft from storage, we remove all the panels to conduct our preliminary inspections," said Rob McNichol, an F-16 aircraft supervisor with the 309th AMARG. "We remove components so that we can get specialists such as nondestructive inspection members to find out if the aircraft is going to be airworthy. If it isn't, then there's no sense doing anything else to it, and we'll take it back to the desert."

Once an aircraft passes the initial inspections, it is further disassembled to refurbish, upgrade or replace components. A number operational checks and test flights are performed to ensure the aircraft is safe and ready for flight.

"We are regenerating these aircraft from purely storage to a fully-flyable, mission-capable aircraft," Mr. McNichol said.

Maintainers are converting F-16C models as well as older F-16A aircraft. Once converted, the QF-16s will replace the few QF-4s left in the inventory.

"We're running out of airworthy airframes, there's not that many more left," Mr. McNichol said. "The F-16 is a much lower radar picture which is much needed in modern warfare. Everyone is getting into smaller profiles, a smaller radar footprint, which is what the F-16 can give you; plus, it's a lot faster."

After modification to the QF-16 configuration, the six aircraft will serve as prototypes for engineering tests and evaluation prior to production, according to a Boeing press release. Deliveries of QF-16 drones are scheduled to begin in 2014.

"With the advent of the QF-16 program, we're giving the warfare a better active weapon system," Mr. McNichols said. "Even though these will be flyable by a pilot, once they go to the drone packaging they can do everything unmanned that they can do manned. They'll be used to test new weapons coming on board, looking at a very small radar signature. It's just the modernization of it, which we need to keep building and to become more technically advanced."

455th AEW Airmen deliver first relief supplies in response to Pakistan flooding

by Tech. Sgt. Drew Nystrom
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

8/2/2010 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- A C-130H Hercules crew delivered relief supplies to Islamabad, Pakistan, July 31 in response to catastrophic monsoon flooding.

The first flight, flown by the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, delivered nearly 8,000 Halal meals. Halal meals are similar to the military's packaged ready-to-eat meals, and they're prepared according to Islamic laws.

A follow-on C-17 Globemaster III flight, flown by Airmen from the 385th Air Expeditionary Group, delivered more than 44,000 of the Halal meals Aug.1.

Hassan Zulfiqar, the director of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority met the aircraft as they delivered the much needed supplies.

"Monsoon rains have caused a lot of flooding," Mr. Zulfiqar said. "Almost 1 million people have been affected and thousands of people are marooned in flooded areas. They need immediate assistance, especially food and medicines."

Pakistani relief efforts have been on-going since the floods hit, but the 455th AEW's C-130H flight was the first international assistance to make it on the ground.

"As far as foreign assistance is concerned, this is the first flight," Mr. Zulfiqar said. "The Pakistani government has already started relief efforts and have begun to distribute relief items from our warehouses to the affected people.

"The U.S. relief supplies are going to help a great deal," he said. "We hope this assistance provided by the U.S. will be a sustained effort in the days to come and hopefully it will not be the last relief consignments. I think it's going to be a great help."

The mission was a complete success, said Capt. Robert Dodson, the C-130H aircraft commander.

"We had a quick response from the time we were notified to the time the pallets were on the airplane," the captain said. "The whole reason why we're here is to help others when we can and the whole crew is happy to do it."

According to a press release issued Saturday by The U.S. government will continue to send assistance for flood relief efforts in the country, said Anne W. Patterson, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

"The United States supports Pakistan's emergency relief efforts on behalf of people affected by recent monsoon floods," Ambassador Patterson said.

In addition to the more than 50,000 Halal meals, U.S. officials are also responding to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority's specific request for:

-- Four Zodiac inflatable rescue boats, designed and built for lightness and speed on rapidly flowing waters;

-- Two water filtration units, which provide pumping, purification, storage and distribution. Each unit can fulfill the daily water requirements of up to 10,000 people

-- Twelve pre-fabricated steel bridges that can temporarily replace highway bridges damaged by flooding in Peshawar and Kurram Agency. The provincial government officials and Pakistan's military officials are coordinating their efforts to ensure the use of these bridges.

CSAF: Legacy of Tuskegee Airmen lives on in today's Airmen

by Randy Roughton
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

8/2/2010 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- The red jackets of the Tuskegee Airmen remain as distinctive today as the red tail markings on the aircraft they flew during World War II. And their legacy -- the influence they've had on Air Force operations, past and present -- leaves an even more indelible mark.

This was the message from the Air Force's top uniformed officer when he addressed the 39th annual Tuskegee Airmen Convention here July 31.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz spoke at the convention's National Presidential Awards and Grand Gala event and noted that the legacy of the famed African-American flying unit in the U.S. Army Air Corps lives on in the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

This is a unit, he said, that is "very proud to be a descendant of the 332nd Fighter Group led by Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr."

"Like the Tuskegee Airmen they honor, the men and women of the 332nd today serve with distinction in hostile skies, operating a variety of weapons systems," General Schwartz said. "They have been the mainstay of fulfilling full-spectrum airpower in Operation Iraqi Freedom from day one. By all measures, they represent the legacy you lived."

General Schwartz also assisted in presenting awards for service to the organization, including two awards to original Tuskegee Airmen James Pryde for his military service that began during World War II, and the late Chauncey Spencer. Mr. Spencer's son, Chauncey Spencer II, accepted the award for his father, an aviation pioneer whose work helped lead to the establishment of the Tuskegee aviation program.

The general acknowledged the Tuskegee Airmen in the audience, who were also easily identifiable by their red and blue coats, as among "the most storied on the roster of revered and unforgettable Americans, achieving remarkable feats despite challenging and unfavorable circumstances."

These Americans were the nation's first African-American military Airmen. These pioneers, which included ground crews as well as traditional aircrews, helped lay the foundation for equality and integration in Armed Forces.

"The Airmen whose courage and sacrifice helped preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today and the youth who will soon inherit the mantle of leadership for our nation embody the theme of this year's convention, 'A Cut Above,'" General Schwartz said. "Without a doubt, the awe-inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen proves for all time their standing as a cut above."

The general also praised the national organization that sponsors the annual convention for its efforts to preserve the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen while also motivating young Americans to pursue excellence and service to their nation.

General Schwartz said this outreach to the next generation of servicemembers is another way in which the Tuskegee Airmen's legacy continues to influence the success of Airmen.

And, in keeping with the professional Air Force which the Tuskegee Airmen have helped forge, the general pledged the Air Force would "continue to seek those who are a cut above and to demand from them impeccable character, unwavering excellence, selfless service and unmistakable, unshakable optimism."

"Your Air Force will continue to be a place where talent, dedication and a bit of fortune can take one a long way, irrespective of one's original station," he said.

Other award recipients included Marv Adams, of the San Antonio chapter, who received the Brig. Gen. Noel F. Parrish Award, the organization's most prestigious award. General Parrish was commander of Tuskegee Army Air Field from 1942 to 1946. His widow, Florence T. Parrish-St. John, personally presents the award each year. This year, she herself was one of four recipients of the Gen. Daniel James Jr. Distinguished Service/Achievement/Leadership Award. Other recipients were Dr. Alan Gropman for his role as historian and advocate of the Tuskegee Experience.

Regional awards were also presented to James Coleman (western region), Maurice Ripley and Vince Saunders (central region) and John Earls (eastern region).

Mullen Seeks End to 'Yes-No' Box on Predeployment Checklists

By Elaine Wilson American Forces Press Service

Aug. 2, 2010 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff vowed today to eliminate the "yes-no" box that appears on some predeployment checklists that determines whether a servicemembers' units can contact their families during deployments.

"There are just too many spouses whose spouse deploys where that box is checked no," Navy Adm. Mullen said while addressing the National Guard Family Program Volunteer Workshop in New Orleans. "In my time as chairman, I'm going to make that box go away." On some predeployment family readiness checklists, servicemembers can opt out of keeping their family members informed about family readiness information, benefits and entitlements.

The eradication of the "yes-no" box will require a joint effort, the chairman said. "This has to be actively pursued from within," he said, "from the grassroots level up to the commanders so that we can make it go away."

This effort will be a step toward keeping families better informed, and also will help to close a gap, particularly for Guard and Reserve families who often are far from the support of a military installation, Mullen said, noting that when his wife, Deborah, was visiting a base, a National Guard spouse drove six hours to see her.

The military needs to find ways to deal with that type of isolation, the chairman said.

The military has a plethora of programs aimed at supporting military families, but the number of programs isn't as important as the quality, Mullen noted. "I don't need any more programs," he said. "I need the ones we have to really be working really well."

Mullen also spoke of the need to provide better support to military children, particularly in the nation's schools. Training is needed to equip teachers to deal with the emotional impacts of deployments, war, and in some cases, loss, he said. In many cases, teachers are unaware of a student's military ties until someone actively interacts with them to try and close the gap, he added.

The need for outreach is widespread, Mullen said, citing an example of chaplains reaching out to community churches.

"I would hope that our programs from a military standpoint run in parallel and support community-based programs," he said.

America will be better able to overcome challenges within the military, particularly on the veteran side, if "we join hands" between the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and communities, Mullen said.

Military leaders also can play a role by reaching out to community members who want to help but don't always know how to connect with the military, the chairman added.

"There are many, many more things to do," he said. "While we've done a great deal, we cannot rest on our laurels. [We must] stay focused in listening to our families."

MILITARY CONTRACTS August 2, 2010

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

ExxonMobil Corp., Fairfax, Va. is being awarded a maximum $99,520,398 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, sole-source contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Italy. Using service is Navy. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2012. The Defense Energy Support Center, Richmond, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0487).

Northrop Grumman Corp., Integrated Systems, Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $51,364,935 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for radio parts. 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 June 30, 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZC), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N00383-06-G-068B-THAN).

IGI Resources, Inc., Boise, Idaho, is being awarded a maximum $22,995,025 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas. Other locations of performance are Washington and Oregon. Using services are Navy and Air Force. The original proposal was Web-solicited with 29 responses. The date of performance completion is Sept. 30, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-7518).

ARMY

Clark/Hunt, JV, Tampa, Fla., was awarded on July 27 an $85,146,641 firm-fixed-price contract. This work includes construction of a new multi-level consolidated parking garage for 5,000 vehicles; renovation of the existing Brooke Army Medical Center; a new multi-level consolidated tower addition to include the new Institute for Surgical Research Burn Unit; a new central energy plant; construction haul road, erosion control, and environmental protection plan; and site development/remodeling and ancillary construction. Work is to be performed in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, with an estimated completion date of July 15, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-08-C-0036).

ITT Services Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded on July 27 a $75,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for operations and maintenance services, Afghanistan National Security Forces, various locations throughout Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of July 27, 2015. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, CETAM-CT-S, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-10-D-0002).

PCL Construction Services, Inc., Denver, Colo., was awarded on July 27 a $28,516,319 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for "Army Aviation Support Facility, New Mexico Army National Guard, Santa Fe Municipal Airport, Santa Fe County, New Mexico." This project consists of the construction of a new air aviation support facility and aircraft rescue and firefighting facility of permanent-type construction to serve the peace time mission of the assigned united. The space will permit personnel to perform the necessary tasks that will improve the unit's readiness posture. Unit mission is to provide aeromedical evacuation and support within the theater of operations. Work is to be performed in Santa Fe County, N.M., with an estimated completion date of March 29, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 18 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District-CESPA-CT, Albuquerque, N.M., is the contracting activity (W912PP-10-C-0022).

T.J. Fig Inc., Stockton, Calif., was awarded on July 28 a $21,458,488 time-and-material contract. This procurement is for mobile training teams to perform operator new equipment and field maintenance new equipment training courses on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles at locations in and outside the contiguous U.S. Army are awarding 280,338 hours on a five-month extension to the contract. Work is to be performed in Kuwait and Iraq, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0486).

L-3 Communications System West, Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded on July 27 a $17,807,505 firm-fixed-price contract for 345 Type II interim encryption system kits in various configurations. Work is to be performed in Salt Lake City, Utah, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-07-C-0209).

General Dynamics, Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Marion, Ill., was awarded on July 27 a $12,257,189 firm-fixed-price contract for 757,084 "Cartridge 30mm Target Practice, PGU-15A/B, NSN: 1305-01-462-8733." Work is to be performed in Marion, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-07-C-0036).

Alliant Techsystems, Inc., Mesa, Ariz., was awarded in July 27 an $11,636,381 firm-fixed-price contract for 757,084 " Cartridge 30mm target practice, PGU-15A/B, NSN: 1305-01-462-8733." Work is to be performed in Radford, Va., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-07-C-0035).

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded on July 26 a $11,500,000 five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-reimbursable contract. This contract is for the Scientific Services Program, designed to provide scientific and technical services for problems related to research and development projects within the government. The modification increases the ceiling of the contract. Work is to be performed in Columbus, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bid received. U.S. Army Research Development Engineering Command Contracting Center, Research Triangle Park, N.C., is the contracting activity (W911NF-07-D-0001).

General Dynamics ATP, Burlington, Vt., was awarded on July 27 a $10,089,292 firm-fixed-price contract to "Load, Assemble and Pack 115 MM M231 and M232A1 Modular Artillery Charge propelling charge." Work is to be performed in Hampton, Ark., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, CCJM-CA, Combat Ammo Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QN-09-C-0046).

Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on July 26 a $9,356,234 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for the definitization of an undefinitized contract action issued on contract W58RZ-06-C-0169, modification P00107. The total not-to-exceed for modification P00107 was $19,867,129. This definitization action further adds option requirements in the total of $22,778,597, which brings the total value of this procurement to $41,869,815. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-AP-B, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-06-C-0169)

Bleigh Construction Co., Hannibal, Mo., was awarded on July 26 a $8,579,382 firm-fixed-price for construction to "elevate land wall control stands and flood proof copper clad steel cable penetrations, Locks 16-18 & 20-22, Mississippi River, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri." Work is to be performed in Canton, Mo. (18 percent); Quincy, Ill. (15 percent); Saverton, Mo. (16 percent); Muscatine, Iowa (17 percent); New Boston, Ill. (17 percent); and Gladstone, Ill. (17 percent), with an estimated completion date of July 10, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W912EK-10-C-0107).

Korte Construction Co., dba The Korte Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded on July 26 a $8,198,880 firm-fixed-price contract. Fort Sill, Okla., has a requirement to construct a dental clinic to support an increased active duty population. The new clinic will accommodate 22 chairs and approximately 16,000 square feet. Work is to be performed in Fort Sill, Okla., with an estimated completion state of Jan. 20, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, Tulsa, Okla., is the contracting activity (W912BV-10-C-2002).

SpecPro Environmental Services, LLC, Oak Ridge, Tenn., was awarded on July 27 a $7,330,546 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for initial work that will include site assessment and analysis, and design of an updated HVAC system. This modification definitized the cost of the construction, which includes the repair, fabrication and installation of a new exhaust system for the medical biohazard and isolation room, general and toilet exhaust air systems, and correction of the overall air distribution system. Work is to be performed at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bid received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, Little Rock, Ark., is the contracting activity (W9127S-10-C-6001).

Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Ga., was awarded on July 27 a $7,153,694 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for 87 standard automotive tools sets base in Mobile, Ala., and 18 standard automotive tools sets Module 2 in Mobile, Ala. This is a current contract. We are just placing a delivery order for additional units. Work is to be performed in Gainesville, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0085).

Cutter Enterprises, LLC,Tolland, Conn., was awarded on July 23 a $6,290,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of a new East Greenwich readiness center, at Camp Fogarty, East Greenwich, R.I. Work is to be performed in North Kingstown, R.I., with an estimated completion date of July 22, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. National Guard Bureau US Property & Fiscal Officer for Rhode Island, Providence, R.I., is the contracting activity (W912LD-10-C-0002).

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Reconnaissance Systems Group, LEO Division, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on July 28 a $5,453,564 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the High Efficiency Solid-State Electric Laser Program to advance the state-of-the-art for high-power, high-efficiency, compact, lightweight, electrically-driven laser technologies suitable for future military applications. Work is to be performed in San Diego, Calif. (76 percent); Tucson, Ariz. (18 percent); and Charlotte, N.C. (6 percent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 22, 2016. U.S. Army Space & Missile Defense Command/ARSTRAT, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91133-10-C-0023).

AIR FORCE

Computer Sciences Raytheon, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., was awarded a $81,136,645 contract modification which will provide Eastern Range technical services to provide operations, maintenance, and sustainment of critical range and launch processing systems that support the launch processing mission of the 45 Space Wing and its launch customers at Cape Canaveral Air Station. At this time, no money has been obligated. 45 CONS/LGCZR, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (AAR Manufacturing, Inc., Cadillac, Mich. was awarded a $72,097,800 contract for the depot-level repair of 463L pallets under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum quantity of 60,000. At this time, no money has been obligated. WR-ALC/GRVKBA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8519-08-D-0008; P00003).

Telos Corp., Ashburn, Va., was awarded a $21,021,471 contract modification which will provide information technology (IT) service management support to manage, operate, sustain and provide logistical and general support for the IT services for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command. At this time, $1,687,131 has been obligated. 21 CONS/LGCC, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity (FA8771-04-D-009-SX02).

NAVY

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Pascagoula, Miss., is being awarded a $17,224,434 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2304) to exercise an option for fiscal 2010 class services in support of class product fabrication, delivery, engineering and engineering support of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, Miss. (95 percent), and Gulfport, Miss. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

CORRECTION: Insitu, Inc., Bingen, Wash., a $43,697,168 contract under number N68335-10-C-0054 was announced on July 29, 2010 incorrectly. The correct Navy contract number is N00019-10-C-0054.

Supporting those who support military families

By Alex Baird
Chief, NGB Family Program

This is my second National Volunteer Workshop in this capacity, and I’m excited about this year’s agenda and guest speakers. How often do you get Adm. Mike G. Mullen and Gen. George W. Casey Jr. to both speak at your conference? This shows me that our senior leaders are dedicated to supporting our families and the volunteers who help them.

The National Volunteer Workshop is an annual event that gives us an opportunity to recognize the contribution of our volunteers and provide them with training to more effectively support our Guardmembers and their families. There are more than 40,000 volunteers, including family members, veterans and Guardmembers, that comprise our National Guard Family Programs network. The workshop also provides a forum to train our National Guard personnel on how to better utilize the service of volunteers. I especially appreciate the opportunity the workshop provides to receive feedback from the 50 states, 3 territories, and DC on how we can better serve them.

The purpose of my blog today is to provide an opportunity for you to give me feedback on how we are doing and to also tell me what your needs are and how we can better serve you. As families experience multiple deployments, their needs change and new challenges emerge. Only by knowing what those challenges are can we work together to address them.

To learn more, listen live to the scheduled DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Alex Baird at 2 p.m., on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.

Troops move out for less with Exchange Home Services

DALLAS – On average, military families move once every two years. As a result, they regularly face the confusing array of choices when it comes to TV, internet and phone services available at their new duty station.

Fortunately, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is taking the guesswork out of setting up communication offerings with its Exchange Home Services program.

This new initiative allows military families in the continental United States go online to compare local offerings for TV, internet and telephone, individually or bundled, to ensure they are receiving the best deals in their area.

By logging onto www.aafes.com/HomeServices or by calling 1-877-836-5205 and simply providing a street address and ZIP code, on- or off-base, shoppers can easily make side-by-side comparisons of features and prices from top providers.

A search specific to Fort Bragg yields TV options ranging from $19.99-$84.99, telephone service at Randolph AFB starting at $17.99, and Internet connections at Ft. Lewis from $19.99-$189.99. (Please note these prices are subject to change).

“Exchange Home Services will not only make life easier for those that are PCSing, but also for those who just want to shop smarter by comparing their current service to other options available to them,” said Mark Morell, Vice President. “They simply make their selection and then schedule start-up, all online or through a call center.”

National Guard Ramps Up Southwest Border Support

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

Aug. 2, 2010 - National Guard troops in four states are in training today as they prepare to join colleagues already supporting Border Patrol agents on the nation's Southwest border. The National Guard has been providing Southwest border support for a number of years through its counterdrug program, said Army Maj. Gen. Peter Aylward, who is coordinating the latest operation at the National Guard Bureau. "Today we have more than 360 folks providing that kind of support," he added. "For this new mission, we have 117 folks, and we'll ramp up as part of a phased, deliberate operation to as many as 1,200."

These Guardsmen will support Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Guard deployments over the last 20 years have increased capabilities in such a fashion that it puts more Border Patrol agents' boots on the ground, David Aguilar, deputy customs and border protection commissioner, said in June after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the latest deployment.

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

Support from the National Guard has worked out very well, Aguilar said, noting that the Guardsmen don't arrest or engaging in enforcement activities directly attributed to illegal crossings of aliens or narcotics. "The National Guard ... will bring us a tremendous amount of capability in securing our borders," he added.

"We're designed to be in a support role for [Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement]," Aylward said. "Whenever there is an opportunity for law enforcement functions, it is up to those law enforcement officials to take whatever action they can under the authorities that they already have."

The majority of the Guard members will support the Border Patrol with entry identification teams and support Immigration and Customs Enforcement with criminal investigative analysts for one year.

The teams monitor the border from strategic observation points with state-of-the-art surveillance and detection tactics and technology in support of local law enforcement.

"It equates to what we normally do in military ops as observation posts/listening posts," Aylward said, "but there is some unique gear, and there are some unique protocols that they use from an operational security point of view that the teams really need to understand how to use them because they'll be out in very remote locations in some instances."

The criminal investigative analysts will assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in reducing the flow of illegal bulk currency and weapons from the United States to Mexico.

"Their work has to use special systems, and because the people may be doing this for the first time, we want to make sure they're thoroughly vetted and thoroughly understand what kind of activity they will be performing while they're on that mission," Aylward said. "These are things that will fill key, niche areas for our colleagues so that they can recruit, train and employ more than 1,000 folks over that one-year period of time."

The largest number of troops – 524 – is slated to deploy in Arizona, according to a Homeland Security Department news release. An estimated 250 will deploy in Texas, 224 in California and 72 in New Mexico. Additional troops from these states also will serve in command and control or support positions.

"Both the Air Guard and the Army Guard will be members of the team," Aylward said. "It's a great team effort to help provide that bridge to our colleagues."

Last week, for example, about 20 members of the California Air Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing based at March Air Reserve Base, and the 147th Combat Communication Squadron out of San Diego were deployed to the border as part of the state's support of Homeland Security.

The National Guard successfully supported the border security mission during Operation Jump Start from 2006 to 2008.

"The National Guard historically has always performed well," Aylward said. "This is a very important mission for this nation that's an intensification of earlier efforts that began in 1993. This is just another chapter of a great initiative."

Obama Reaffirms Commitment to Veteran Care


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

Aug. 2, 2010 - Caring for veterans is a moral obligation, President Barack Obama said today in a speech at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Atlanta.

"Every American who has ever worn the uniform must know this: your country is going to take care of you when you come home," Obama said. "Our nation's commitment to our veterans – to you and your families – is a sacred trust."

The president lauded Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki for "building a 21st century VA," calling the administration's commitment to the veteran community "historic."

"We need to keep our military strong, our country safe and our veterans secure," the president said, noting VA's $15 billion budget increase last year, the largest hike in 30 years. The additional budget is improving health care benefits for Vietnam War veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses. Gulf War veterans also now receive care for chemical exposure during Desert Storm.

Obama also noted the elimination of co-payments for "catastrophically" disabled veterans as well as proposed legislation that would allow severely disabled retirees to draw military retirement and VA disability benefits.

"It's the right thing to do," the president said. "We've drastically improved health care across the board."

Other VA initiatives include efforts to create a single lifetime electronic medical record that veterans will be able to download from the VA website. This makes it easier for veterans to share their records outside the VA health system.

VA is also tackling records and claim application backlogs by hiring thousands of claim processors. VA officials are working to remove paper from the claims process, which they believe will end the backlog once and for all, Obama said.

Obama also recognized VA efforts to end homelessness among veterans and improve veteran employment opportunities. "We're not going to be satisfied until every veteran who has fought for American has a home in America," he said.

Shinseki has spoken candidly many times during his tenure as VA secretary about his desire to end veteran homelessness. VA has initiatives with the Housing and Urban Development Department as well as new programs to treat drug addiction and psychological issues before homelessness can become an issue.

Initiatives such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill and job-placement programs also may help in keeping veterans off the streets, Obama said, noting directives he's given for the federal government to make hiring veterans a priority.

"Every business in America needs to know our vets have the training, they've got the skills, and they're ready to work," Obama said. "Our country is stronger when we tap the incredible talents of our veterans."

Obama also spoke about improved care for wounded warriors and disabled veterans.

"We're continuing to direct unprecedented support to our wounded warriors in uniform -- more treatment centers, more case managers and delivering the absolute best care available," he said. "For those who can, we want to help them get back to where they want to be -- with their units. And that includes servicemembers with a disability, who still have so much to offer our military."

Still, the president acknowledged, much work remains for VA and his administration to further improve veteran care. Servicemembers and veterans, Obama said, have taught Americans to remain vigilant and resilient in the face of challenges.

"You are the very essence of America -- the values that sustain us as people and the virtues our nation needs most right now," he said.

Momsen Reaches Target During Combat Mission Training

By Ens. Zachary Thiesse, USS Momsen Public Affairs

USS MOMSEN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Momsen (DDG 92) fired 60 shells downrange under the pressure of a simulated combat scenario July 28 as part of a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX).

Firing at the Shore Bombardment Area of San Clemente Island, the drill gave Momsen's fire controlmen real world experience with live-fire shore bombardment using their Mark 51 five-inch gun.

Under simulated combat conditions, Momsen's crew executed a naval surface fire support mission in response to a call-for-fire request from a ground unit. Momsen fired 30 High Explosive, Controlled Variable Time (HE-CVT) rounds and 30 full service charge rounds during the evolution.

"This is some of the most realistic training I've experienced in my career," said Cmdr. Jay D. Wylie, Momsen's commanding officer. "These standards are much higher, and the room for error much smaller. The added rigor we've seen in this training cycle is making our crew ready to face any adversary or potential contingency."

COMPTUEX builds upon Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group's combat readiness by simulating challenges the strike group may encounter on deployment. The advanced training scenarios of COMPTUEX represent the first time a carrier strike group is evaluated as an overall unit. Passing the tests of COMPTUEX certifies Lincoln and its air wing for open-ocean operations, making the force available to deploy wherever and whenever the order is given.

The strike group consists of flagship USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 and the guided-missile cruiser Cape St. George CG 71.

Ships assigned to DESRON 9 include the guided-missile destroyers Momsen, USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

Squadrons of CVW 2 include the "Bounty Hunters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, the "Blue Blasters" of VFA-34, the "Kestrels" of VFA-37, the "Vigilantes" of VFA-151, the "Lancers" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131, the "Sun Kings" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116, the "Saberhawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 and the "Golden Falcons" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12.

Hawaii Governor Visits Namesake Submarine

By Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

USS HAWAII, At Sea (NNS) -- The Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) hosted Linda Lingle, the governor of Hawaii and the submarine's sponsor, July 29, for a day of operational demonstrations and interaction with the crew.

The governor's visit provided an opportunity for the submarine to increase understanding and strengthen ties between the submarine and her homeport host.

"All the features of this submarine that respectfully pay homage to Hawaii, to our history, and to the Ali'i of Hawaii and our customs are deeply appreciated," Lingle remarked to the crew. "You make us proud!"

Following her participation in a ceremony in which the governor presented Machinist's Mate 3rd Class (SS) Cody Wyrick of Houston, with his submarine warfare qualification pin, Lingle thanked the crew and presented Sailors with coins for their, "service to America and for you being on our namesake ship, USS Hawaii."

Measuring 377 feet long, weighing 7,800 tons when submerged and with a complement of more than 130 crew members, Hawaii is one of the Navy's newest and most technologically sophisticated submarines.

The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.

USS Missouri Joins Commissioned Fleet

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class T.H. Merritt, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- With the traditional first order "man our ship and bring her to life," Sailors assigned to USS Missouri (SSN 780) boarded the Virginia-class attack submarine during a commissioning ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London July 31.

About 3,000 people from across the nation attended the ceremony at the submarine base, while others viewed it live on the internet. The submarine gleamed under the New England sun as family, crew members and veterans past and present lined the pier.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus reminded the crew of the versatility of their future missions.

"It may take you underneath the Arctic ice or the warm waters of the Indian Ocean," said Mabus.

Secretary Mabus also stressed the importance of the savings of the construction program, citing the submarine's early completion and delivery ahead of schedule.

"For every dollar we don't spend correctly, that's one less we have to defend the country," said Mabus.

Other speakers included Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who noted Missouri "will deliver an outstanding return on the nation's investment."

Missouri will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was the keynote speaker.

"There is none better," said Skelton, referring to the submarine. "This amazing submarine and the other submarines of this class are vital to our national security. The simple reason is contained in one word: stealth."

Missouri is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions in both the world's shallow littoral regions and deep waters.

At 377-feet long, Missouri is slightly longer than a football field. She has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.

"Although her main goal is to prevent war, this vessel can in fact win a high intensity conflict once started," said Skelton.

Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode is the commanding officer of Missouri, the seventh ship of the Virginia-class.

The night before the commissioning, the USS Missouri (SSN 780) Commissioning Committee, in partnership with Grantham University, presented a full scholarship to a plank owner assigned to Virginia-class submarine Missouri.

Electrician's Mate 1st Class Joseph Amick was presented the four-year scholarship by retired Rear Adm. Karen Harmeyer, a member of the university's Board of Directors, during the commanding officer's reception hosted by the committee at the Mystic Marriott.

"This is a perpetual scholarship," said Harmeyer. "There will always be one scholarship available to a member of USS Missouri's crew. What better way to grow our leaders of tomorrow."

The scholarship can be used to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree at Grantham and includes tuition costs, required textbooks and software, and a laptop computer.

Amick said he plans to get started right away.

"I'm a little overwhelmed right now," he said. "I never thought I would be selected for this amazing opportunity."

Amick acknowledged he felt eager and motivated.

"I feel like I need to complete this early," he said. "There are so many other deserving crew members that could also use this."

In addition, Harmeyer said the university is donating five additional laptops loaded with selected courses from Grantham for general crew use. Any crew member who completes the courses could opt to enroll at Grantham to receive credit.

Missouri, which completed sea trials in early July, arrived at Naval Submarine Base New London July 22 in preparation for commissioning following a material readiness inspection by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) team. INSURV is a survey team established by Congress to assess Navy surface ships, aircraft carriers and submarines and ensure they are properly equipped for prompt, reliable and sustained mission readiness at sea.

Construction on Missouri began in December 2004; the submarine's keel was authenticated during a ceremony on Sept. 27, 2008 at the Electric Boat facility in North Kingstown, R.I.; and, she was christened during a late morning ceremony at Electric Boat on Dec. 5, 2009.

Another milestone occurred on April 16 during "In Service Day," when crew members moved aboard the submarine, bringing her systems to life, beginning general day-to-day operations and preparing for sea-trials, work-ups and commissioning.

Rexrode leads a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. A native of Spencer, W.Va., Rexrode graduated with honors in 1990 from West Virginia University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. In addition, Rexrode is a distinguished graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, holding as Master's in Military Studies. He also received a Master's of Arts degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.

Becky Gates, wife of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, serves as the submarine's sponsor. She broke the traditional champagne bottle against the boat's sail during the christening ceremony last December. Her initials were welded into a plaque inside the boat during last year's keel laying ceremony.

Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State." The last USS Missouri, the legendary battleship, was the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and many other U.S. and Allied officers accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II on Sept. 2, 1945.

Missouri is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Adept at operating in both the world's shallow littoral regions and deep waters, Missouri will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

The 7,800-ton submarine Missouri is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. At 377-feet long, Missouri is slightly longer than a football field. She has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Missouri is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing underway time.

The USS Missouri Commissioning Committee, an IRS-designated 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, was created to increase awareness of the submarine's commissioning. The Commissioning Committee offers information about the development of the submarine, as well as history on former Navy ships named for the "Show Me State."

Grantham University was founded in 1951 by Mr. Donald Grantham, a veteran of World War II, to help prepare veterans for new jobs in the electronics' industry and a better future upon their return to civilian life. Today, the University supports thousands of online students in 36 different associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs.

USS Blue Ridge, 7th Fleet Conclude Pacific Partnership 2010 Palau

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

USS BLUE RIDGE, At Sea (NNS) (NNS) -- Pacific Partnership 2010 (PP-10) departed Palau July 30 marking the conclusion of a four-day endeavor to provide humanitarian and civic assistance ashore.

"It is hard for me to believe that just four days ago Pacific Partnership 2010 opened in Palau," said Commander, Joint Region Marianas, Rear Adm. Paul Bushong during the PP-10 closing ceremony. "Since then, many people; doctors, dentists, engineers, volunteers, patients, visitors a tremendous amount of medical supplies and medicines have crossed the pier or passed through the sky on our helicopters and taken their spot in the history of Pacific Partnership."

Sailors and Marines from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet and its flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) donated more than 1,000 man hours to 14 community service projects since arriving July 26, including two beach cleanups, renewing basketball and volleyball courts at five Palau schools, and restoration on the stairs and benches of the 66-year old Bloody Nose Ridge WWII memorial in Peleliu.

"It was really good. It boosted the morale of the Palauans and showed them that we care about their country," said Operations Specialist Seaman Chazz Brown. "Even small things like painting lines on a basketball court made a huge difference in the community."

Along with the community outreach, the combined medical and dental teams treated more than 1,900 patients across the three Palauan states of Koror, Peleliu and Angaur, and provided expert advice to local health care professionals on topics ranging from pre-natal care to health clinic management.

"It was an amazing opportunity to help people out with much needed medical and dental assistance," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jevon Jones. "I felt honored to be a part of the whole experience."

In Peleliu, engineering teams provided diagnostic water testing at source water sites and at distribution plants. Subject matter experts worked closely with local officials, instructing them on proper treatment procedures, and in his closing ceremony remarks, Bushong indicated that their results could lead to a potential engineering civic action program for next year.

In addition to providing humanitarian and civic assistance, Pacific Partnership 2010 also provided valuable opportunities for the Sailors to learn from their civilian counterparts. This experience helped ensure the U.S. military and partner nations were better prepared to respond to emergencies in the future.

"The whole experience helped the staff of the Blue Ridge have a better understanding of humanitarian assistance, and how to operate and manage emergency response. I feel that we now have a better understanding of how to deal with mass casualty situations," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Shannon Jackson.

Sailors also had a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich culture, music, cuisine, sports activities and diversity that Palau and its residents had to offer.

"I particularly enjoyed conversation with a local Palauan whose father was a retired Palauan Marine Corps Veteran from the Vietnam era," said Senior Chief Religious Program Specialist Q. M. Scipio.

The fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors, Pacific Partnership 2010 was aimed at strengthening regional relationships with host nation and partner nations. While this was Palau's first visit by Pacific Partnership, Capt. Rudy Lupton, Blue Ridge commanding officer and PP-10 Palau mission commander, said that much more will be gained through the visit than just providing assistance to those in need.

"Together, we represent an incredibly talented and diversified partnership, with the sole purpose of humanitarian and civic assistance," Lupton said. The U.S. Navy wants to create an opportunity to return to the Asian-Pacific region each year to continue to foster relationships, strengthen ties, and build lasting relationships."

Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

USS Cape St. George Tests Air Defense System

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arif Patani, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

ABOARD USS CAPE ST. GEORGE , At Sea (NNS) -- Pacific Ocean -- USS Cape St. George (CG 71) tested its Aegis weapons system July 29 as part of the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group's Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). The main objective of the Aegis evolution was to exercise the strike groups command and control, provide a common tactical picture, execute pre-planned responses, and identify potentially hostile aircraft in a timely and accurate manner.

"During the Aegis exercise we had live aircraft coming in simulating a variety of platforms, each representing a different type of missile threat," said Lt. j.g. Joshua T. McNett, Cape St. George's fire control officer, "We assess what the threat is, know what it's capable of, and we counter it before it gets within close of range."

As a guided-missile cruiser, Cape St. George's main mission while deployed with the strike group is to protect its carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The Aegis System is the primary way in which they do this.

"We are the air defense commander," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Chad W. Conrad, the Lead SPY Radar Aegis Weapons System (AWS) Technician on board Cape St. George, "Our job is to defend the carrier from any air strikes, and the Aegis weapons system is what does it."

The Aegis combat system is capable of simultaneous operations against a multimission threat: anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. The Aegis System is designed as a total weapon system, from detection to kill.

"Aegis was primarily made for open-ocean conflicts," said McNett, "Out in the open ocean, it's the best thing out there. We can track contacts hundreds of miles away. So, there is a huge cone of coverage around the strike group and the carrier as a whole."

The heart of the system is the AN/SPY-1, an advanced, automatic detect and track, multifunction phased-array radar. The radar is able to perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously with a track capacity of over one hundred targets. Cape St. George is currently off the coast of Southern California with the rest of the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group taking part in COMPTUEX.

COMPTUEX is designed to train the USS Abraham Lincoln, the embarked air wing and the other units that make up the carrier strike group to function as one highly effective fighting force. The exercises will build upon the strike group's combat readiness by simulating the type of scenarios the strike group may face while deployed. The outcome will certify the strike group for open-ocean operations and moves it within the Fleet Response Plan, allowing the Navy to deploy flexible naval force capable of surging quickly.