Military News

Friday, August 13, 2010

Air Force Announces F-16 Training Mission

WASHINGTON (AFNS) - The secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force announced today the transition of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to the F-16 training mission.

The Air Force determined that Holloman has the capacity to accept two F-16 training squadrons and offers ability to synergize training activities with MQ-1/9 training occurring on the same base.

Transitioning Holloman to F-16 training stabilizes an enduring training mission and capitalizes on the existing airspace and range complex.

Implementation of this action is subject to completion of appropriate environmental analysis.

For more information contact the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office at 703-695-0640.

Enterprise Prepares its Sailors for E-leave

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob D. Galito, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is preparing to implement the electronic leave program (E-leave) that will go into effect at afloat commands in October.

E-leave is designed to help Sailors route leave requests in a more efficient manner by eliminating paperwork.

Soon, Sailors aboard Enterprise will request leave by logging into a computer with the local area network and accessing their Electronic Service Record (ESR).

Previously, Sailors were required to complete handwritten forms, in triplicate, to request leave.

The new process will help to ensure that pay entitlements are properly credited, eliminate delays in processing time and automate the command leave logs. The self-service computer program enables Sailors to route their leave information through the chain of command more efficiently.

"The program will help transfer the workload from the Personnel office to the Sailors' respective department," said Personnel Specialist Seaman Ernest L. Pryor, Enterprise's leave control log administrator. "This will allow a department to be responsible for their Sailors' leave [requests], streamlining the process."

According to NAVADMIN 252/10, afloat commands possessing Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System Servers are scheduled to begin rolling the new process out beginning in October – though it will likely take more than two years to implement fleetwide.

"One leave paper alone can take between seven and 10 days to route for approval," said Chief Personnel Specialist (SW/AW) Sidney A. Hunt Jr., Personnel division leading chief petty officer. "With E-leave, the request could be approved within minutes."

For Sailors getting ready to depart from the command for shore duty, it's important to become familiar with the ESR application.

"It's a good thing because it puts more power in the hands of the Sailor," said Hunt.

The idea of empowering Sailors is not the only benefit of the program.

"We process hundreds of leave papers a month," said Hunt. "Once we streamline the process it will free up a lot of time within the department."

Currently 21.6 percent of all pay transactions submitted each year are due to processing leave requests.

Shore-based Sailors can establish their ESR account by logging into https://nsips.nmci.navy.mil More information will be released as the process is implemented at afloat commands. Sailors may obtain an E-leave user guide, training presentations and additional resources on the Navy Knowledge Online website.

Enterprise is at sea conducting work-ups in preparation for its 21st deployment.

Gates Urges 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Survey Response

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

Aug. 12, 2010 - Servicemember feedback will make Congress and the Defense Department better informed as officials evaluate repeal of the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a letter to troops today.

Department officials e-mailed surveys last month to 400,000 active duty and reserve-component troops. The surveys are part of a special review to prepare the military for a potential change in the law, which bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

"If you have not yet responded, please participate," Gates said in the letter. "Your response will help us assess the impact of a change in the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law and associated policy on military readiness, effectiveness and unit cohesion, should such a change occur."

Participation is confidential, Gates said, noting that a certificate of confidentiality has been obtained to protect the private contracting company that issued the survey. The company cannot be forced by subpoena, court order or other legal proceedings to disclose information that may identify participants.

"Your answers will not be linked to your personal identity," he said. "No one associated with the Defense Department will have access to identifiable data."

The surveys were e-mailed July 7. The deadline to respond is Aug. 15.

Surface Line Week 2010 Kicks off in San Diego

By Lt.j.g. Allison Derr, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- San Diego's 29th annual Surface Line Week began Aug. 12 with the commencement of the sailing competition in Fiddlers Cove.

Surface Line Week (SLW), a 10-day contest sponsored by Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP), will run through Aug 20. This marquee event features a series of activities dedicated to friendly competition in a variety of seamanship and sporting events.

"Surface Line Week is a great way to promote waterfront camaraderie, pride, and professionalism between Surface Warriors serving in both sea and shore commands," said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "This is also a great chance to take a break from your everyday hard work and have some fun."

This year, more than 3,000 participants from 35 commands will compete in 38 events, including perennial favorites such as basketball, softball and golf, along with damage control, ship handling and marksmanship. New competitions include swimming; visual communications; visit, board, search, and seizure; call of duty; horseshoes; and a photo competition. Last year CNSP took home the overall "small command" title, while Afloat Training Group San Diego claimed the combined medium/large command category.

"I am excited to participate in the sailing competition for the second year in a row," said Cmdr. Yvette Davids, who competed in the kick-off competition for CNSP. "I am a big believer in excellence through competition and am proud to represent SURFPAC. Sailing is the perfect professional competition to showcase command pride, teamwork in action, while relying on our mariner skills and tactics. This is a great way to kick off Surface Line Week."

All across the waterfront, commands are gearing up for the events to come.

"The weeklong tournament is not just about supporting your own shipmates, but supporting shipmates across the waterfront," said Ensign Jennifer Malherek, Surface Line Week coordinator for USS Howard (DDG 83). "We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in the events and look forward to engaging in some friendly competition with neighboring commands."

MILTIARY CONTRACTS August 12, 2010

ARMY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded on Aug. 10 a $309,014,798 firm-fixed-price contract for the award of Army, Marine Corps, and foreign military sales requirement for fiscal 2009 Javelin hardware production requirement. Work is to be performed in Tucson, Ariz. ( 50 percent), and Orlando, Fla. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, AMSAM-AC-TM-H, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-0-C-0376).

ITT Corp., Roanoke, Va., was awarded on Aug. 10 a $260,471,785 firm-fixed-price contract for 220 enhanced night vision goggles test articles and associated contracts date requirement lists. Work is to be performed in Roanoke, Va., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 9, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-10-C-0177).

L-3 Insight Technology, Inc., Londonderry, N.H., was awarded on Aug. 10 a $255,338,695 firm-fixed-price contract for 220 enhanced night vision goggles test articles and associated contracts date requirement lists. Work is to be performed in Londonderry, N.H., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 10, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-10-C-0179).

DRS Systems, Inc., Parsippany, N.J., was awarded on Aug. 10 a $255,338,695 firm-fixed-price contract for 220 enhanced night vision goggles test articles and associated contracts date requirement lists. Work is to be performed in Parsippany, N.J., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 9, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-10-C-0178).

AAI Corp., Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Aug. 9 a $24,908,055 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the purchase of 11 mobile maintenance facilities for the Shadow unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for the Marine Corps and the Army. The Shadow UAS provides flexible and responsive near real-time battle damage assessment, battle management support, and reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition to Army ground maneuver commanders. Work is to be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0023).

NAVY

Reid Middleton, Inc., Everett, Wash., is being awarded a maximum $30,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect/engineering contract for civil/structural projects in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Northwest area of responsibility (AOR). The work to be performed provides for new designs; evaluations; studies for maintenance; construction; equipment installation; repair and replacement of a wide range of facilities and structures, with an emphasis on aircraft runways and facilities; air traffic control towers; aircraft runway projects including combat loading area; direct refueling facilities; runway lighting; and structural designs for new and existing facilities. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities, and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Northwest AOR, including, but not limited to: Washington (87 percent); Oregon (2 percent); Idaho (2 percent); Alaska (2 percent); Montana (1 percent); Colorado (1 percent); Nevada (1 percent); Wyoming (1 percent); North Dakota (1 percent); South Dakota (1 percent); and Utah (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed by August 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the NAVFAC E-solicitation website, with nine proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest, Silverdale, Wash., is the contracting activity (N44255-10-D-5000).

FLIR Systems, Inc., North Billerica, Mass., is being awarded an $8,624,000 firm-fixed-price contract for non-warranty repairs and spares for the maritime forward looking infrared radar (MARFLIR); high-power microscopic field (HPMF); and MicroStar systems. The MARFLIR, HPMF, and MicroStar systems are to provide maritime crafts, ground vehicles, and unmanned aircraft with all-weather, day/night, high-resolution, stabilized, forward-looking infrared thermal imaging capability to augment existing optical and radar sensors by imaging enemy forces on land, at-sea and in the air, particularly during periods of darkness and poor visibility. These systems enhance the detection, recognition, identification and tracking targets. Work will be performed in North Billerica, Mass., and is expected to be completed by August 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $20,893 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JQ86).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Golden Manufacturing Co., Inc.*, Golden, Miss., is being awarded a maximum $16,750,500 firm-fixed-price contract for coats. Other locations of performance are Marietta, Miss., and Stonewall, Miss. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Aug. 11, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-1072).

Wolverine World Wide, Rockford, Mich., is being awarded a maximum $15,784,068 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for hot weather boots. Other locations of performance are Arkansas and Michigan. Using service is Marine Corps. There were four responses to the original proposed solicitation. The date of performance completion is Aug. 14, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-08-D-1099).

Belleville Shoe Mfg., Co., Belleville, Ill., is being awarded a maximum $11,779,213 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for hot weather boots. Other location of performance is Arkansas. Using service is Marine Corps. There were four responses to the original proposed solicitation. The date of performance completion is Aug. 14, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-08-D-1098).

AIR FORCE

Booz Allen Hamilton, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $9,424,443 contract which will provide survivability/vulnerability technical analysis for U.S. Army North, Joint Force Land Component Command for homeland defense initiatives. At this time, $1,655,754 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380; Delivery Order 365).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $7,935,000 contract which will provide survivable naval air forces requirements and technical analysis of combat operations for Naval Air Systems Command. At this time, $38,958 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380; Delivery Order 364).

Mattis: U.S. Will Stand By Pakistan During Crisis

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 12, 2010 - "As we did during the tragedy of the 2005 earthquake, we continue to stand by the Pakistani people during this crisis," Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, the new U.S. Central Command commander, said today of the humanitarian relief effort under way Pakistan.

"Pakistan is our friend and ally, and in their time of need, we are committed to partnering with their government and military to support their efforts to bring relief to the millions of Pakistanis impacted by these floods," said Mattis, who assumed command of Centcom yesterday.

The first of nine helicopters Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered to Pakistan arrived today to support provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of deadly flooding, U.S. embassy officials in Islamabad reported.

Two Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit launched earlier today from the flight deck of the Navy amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu in international waters in the Arabian Sea.

The remaining aircraft, expected to arrive over the next few days, will include three Navy MH-53E Sea Dragons, four Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallions and 12 Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, embassy officials said.

The U.S. helicopters will operate in partnership with the Pakistan military throughout the country's flood-affected areas.

The 19 aircraft will relieve six U.S. Army helicopters already in Pakistan that will soon return to duty in Afghanistan. Despite bad weather, the six helicopters have rescued more than 3,089 people and transported more than 322,340 pounds of emergency relief supplies since Aug. 5, officials reported.

Yesterday, U.S. military helicopters evacuated 761 people from Bahrain and transported them to Khwalzakhela and delivered 108,000 pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies to Kalam, officials said.

On Aug. 10, 12 U.S. military sorties evacuated 939 people and delivered 91,600 pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies.

Also on Aug. 10, four Navy helicopters assigned to conduct relief missions in Multan flew a combined total of 22.8 hours and delivered 14,500 pounds of rations and supplies.

In addition, seven U.S. helicopters assigned to the Pakistani interior ministry's 50th Squadron rescued 1,005 people, airlifted 71,973 pounds of supplies as of Aug. 11 while conducting other support missions, officials said.

The military response is just one part of a broad U.S. effort to assist Pakistan, including pledges of $71 million in assistance.

Airman receives top honors from American Bar Association

by Capt. Amy Cooper
3rd Air Force-United Kingdom

8/12/2010 - ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England (AFNS) -- The 3rd Air Force-United Kingdom director of legal services here was named the top Air Force judge advocate by officials from the American Bar Association.

Col. James Durant III accepted the 2010 Outstanding Military Service Career Judge Advocate Award from Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding, the Air Force Judge Advocate General, during the ABA's annual meeting Aug. 6, at the Marine Memorial Club in San Francisco.

According to the ABA's website, the award is presented annually by the organization's Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law to a judge advocate from each service who demonstrates "excellence in service to the legal profession in the armed service," and provides service to the community.

"I'm humbled to receive such an honor," Colonel Durant said. "But I know that we are not an accumulation of our achievements, but we're products of our relationships, good and bad."

Before coming to 3rd AF-UK, Colonel Durant was the deputy department head and assistant professor of law at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. There, he led 17 law professors teaching 4,120 lessons to 1,834 cadets.

"I think he's done a fantastic job his entire career," said Col. Paul Pirog, an Academy legal department permanent professor and department head. "He did a super job as the deputy department head."

While he was an Academy professor, Colonel Durant took the time to help cadets outside the classroom by serving as a legal advisor for cadet honor boards and on the military review committee, Colonel Pirog said. But he also helped them on a more personal level.

"He did a lot of mentoring for a number of cadets," Colonel Pirog said. "He was a great role model for many of them as well."

Colonel Durant's 19-year Air Force career has taken him around the world and given him a taste of nearly every aspect of the JAG career field. Besides teaching future Air Force officers, Colonel Durant co-authored a Guantanamo Bay detainee policy letter. Additionally, he wrote an eight-page legal authority used by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to negotiate the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty with Russia.

In 2006, he deployed to NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he led Soldiers on seven urban assault missions in the city, negotiating entry for the teams and ensuring human rights were accorded to the detainees.

The ABA award represents his career coming almost full circle, Colonel Durant said. In 2000, he received the ABA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for the Air Force, an award that recognizes the achievements of junior judge advocates.

Despite all of his professional accomplishments, Colonel Durant said he takes pride in giving back to the legal and local communities.

"What is life worth living if you cannot improve upon it for others to come," he said, quoting Sir Winston Churchill, the World War II-era British prime minister.

One of the ways Colonel Durant gives back to his profession is by serving as the chair of ABA's General Practice, Solo and Small Firm division. He was elected by his peers for the position and is the first active-duty military member to hold it.

"The job is unique," Colonel Durant said. "We represent 60 percent of America's lawyers."

The colonel also hopes that his achievement and those of others like him will inspire the young men and women in San Bernardino, Calif., his hometown.

"My mother raised five kids on a schoolteacher's salary," the colonel said. "I hope that a young man or a young woman from my hometown will look at this achievement and know you don't have to be raised with a golden spoon in your mouth to be successful."

10,000th runner registers for Air Force Marathon

by Daryl Mayer
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/12/2010 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- Air Force Marathon officials registered runner No. 10,000 Aug. 12, surpassing a long-standing goal for the 14-year-old event.

There is still a month before the 5K run Sept. 17, and the full marathon, half marathon and 10K run on Sept. 18. Registration for the half marathon reached its limit of runners Aug. 11 and was closed. There are less than 200 slots remaining for the full marathon, but there are plenty of slots available for the 5K and 10K runs.

"We're thrilled to achieve this important milestone," said Molly Louden, the Air Force Marathon director. "Our goal is to make the Air Force Marathon a world-class event that is fun, rewarding and challenging. The increasing registration each year, in terms of bringing previous runners back and also attracting new ones, tells us we are hitting the mark."

In 2009 the marathon set an all-time record and posted a 35 percent increase over the previous year, but was still 31 runners short of 10,000.

The Air Force Marathon will be held Sept. 18 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Other events include a half marathon and 10K to be held Sept. 18. Wright State University and the Air Force Marathon will co-host a 5K run Sept. 17 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center. The Sports and Fitness Expo will also be held at the Nutter Center from Sept. 16 through 17.

The marathon course is a 26.2-mile run that traverses historical places on Wright-Patterson AFB, including the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, the Wright-Patterson AFB flightline, Huffman Prairie Flying Field and the Wright Brothers Memorial Monument.

All levels of runners participate from around the world in the marathon, wheelchair, half marathon, 10K, and 5K races. Additionally, members' participation can earn points tallied toward the Major Command Challenge. The winning command earns possession of a prestigious traveling trophy. The top male and female Air Force finishers in each age group and both the half- and full-marathon races earn points for their commands.

The MAJCOM Challenge is an Air Force-wide competition open to active-duty and activated Guard and Reserve servicemembers. The challenge pits uniformed members of the service against one another in a friendly competition determined by participation points and race performance.

For more information about the races, or to register for the marathon, go to http://www.usafmarathon.com/

AAFES Working Double Time to Correct Inadvertent Charges

DALLAS – Numerous transactions at Army and Air Force Exchange operations are experiencing a double whammy no one saw coming; a processing error resulting in duplicate charges on credit and debit card transactions.

“Shoppers who swiped their cards anytime between Aug. 7 and Aug. 9 at an AAFES facility are strongly encouraged to review their statements to see if they are impacted by this issue,” said AAFES’ Chief of Staff Col. Virgil Williams. “If a customer finds a billing anomaly, no action will be required on their part as we’re working to correct inaccuracies on their behalf.”

Scores of associates from AAFES’ Information Technology and Finance and Accounting teams are working around the clock to remedy any and all erroneous charges created as a result of the processing error.

“We’re putting all the resources we have towards doing the right thing for customers affected by this unfortunate turn of events” said Williams. “If there is an overdraft fee as result of a duplicate charge, we’re going to fix it. Our priority is to take corrective action as quickly as possible and return customers’ accounts to the exact state they were prior to this glitch.”

The processing error that produced duplicate charges affected AAFES locations worldwide. Depending on the type of card used, corrective action could be visible to the customer anywhere from 24 hours to a couple of weeks.

“The timeline is subject to a number of variables,” said Williams. “Regardless, we want exchange shoppers to know that every possible measure is being taken to eliminate any additional charges and rectify any concerns created as a result of this processing miscue.”

Air Force clarifies status of Lt Col Fehrenbach discharge case

WASHINGTON - Air Force Lt.Col. Victor Fehrenbach announced yesterday that he has filed a request for an injunction to stop his removal from the Air Force under Don't Ask Don't Tell. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach filed a request for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in Idaho, arguing a discharge will cause him irreparable harm.

Several media accounts have inaccurately reported that The Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, is reviewing his case. This is not accurate. The case is still undergoing review at the Air Force Review Boards Agency (SAF/MRB).

After a board makes a recommendation, it is considered by the Director of SAF/MRB. When he is ready to make a decision, SAF/MRB forwards notice through the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs to the Secretary of the Air Force. The Secretary may either decide to bring the case to his level for decision, or leave it with SAF/MRB for decision. Unless advised that the Secretary will take more time to decide, SAF/MRB may take final action once 10 days have passed from the Secretary of the Air Force having received personal notice that the matter is ready for decision. There is no time limit on how long the Secretary may consider a case.

Attorneys for the Department of the Air Force and the Department of Justice are reviewing Lt. Col. Fehrenbach's request for an injunction and will file a response in Federal Court.

Alaska Guard completes two missions, awarded 12 saves

by Maj. Guy Hayes
Alaska National Guard

8/12/2010 - CAMP DENALI, Alaska (AFNS) -- Members of the Alaska Air National Guard fought the ever-changing weather conditions in their state to complete two complicated rescue missions this week.

Officials from the Alaska ANG and U.S. Coast Guard rescued four people from a crash of a single-engine float plane that occurred 17-miles north of Dillingham, Alaska, on Aug. 9, and Alaska Guard members rescued another five individuals involved in an aircraft crash on Knik Glacier, Alaska, Aug. 8.

The Dillingham crash involved a de Havilland Otter, which was carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens and eight others, when it crashed into a mountainside while travelling to the Nushagak River for a fishing trip. Senator Stevens and four other passengers were killed in the crash.

The 11th Rescue Coordination Center, manned by Alaska National Guardsmen, was contacted by Dillingham Flight Service after a Good Samaritan spotted the downed aircraft around 7 p.m.

The ANG's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were contacted and deployed to the scene, but were unable to make it to the crash site because of inclement weather, including low cloud cover in the area.

The survivors spent the night Aug. 9 at the wreckage, but fortunately were assisted by four medical officials who were flown to the site by local helicopter pilots before the weather made it impossible for ANG assets to get on scene.

On the morning of Aug. 10, the weather cleared enough for an Alaska ANG HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter carrying pararescuemen Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Davis and Tech. Sgt. Kristofer Abel to get to the crash site to administer medical assistance.

A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules was also in the air providing communication support overhead and was available to take victims in need of further medical treatment to Anchorage, Alaska, once victims were transported to Dillingham.

Poor weather remained a factor, with less than .25-mile visibility at the crash site and less than a 100-foot ceiling in the area, but ANG and Coast Guard officials were able to transport the four survivors: Sean O'Keefe, Kevin O'Keefe, Jim Morhard and William "Willy" Phillips Jr. to Dillingham.

The ANG arrived in Dillingham first, with two critical patients onboard, and was met by medical officials from the Dillingham Hospital. Coast Guard officials in an HH-60 Jay Hawk brought the two other patients to Dillingham, while the fourth survivor was taken to Anchorage on a civilian air ambulance flight.

"I have tremendous respect for our service men and women, the emergency first responders and their ability to perform heroically in the most trying of times," said Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, the Alaska National Guard adjutant general. "The Alaska National Guard (members), in a joint effort with (members of) the U.S. Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Public Safety, were extremely resilient and professional in their efforts to rescue the remaining survivors of the plane crash and getting them to medical attention as quickly as possible."

The Alaska National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard were awarded four saves for this mission.

The Alaska Guardsmen also rescued five individuals involved in an aircraft crash on Knik Glacier Aug. 8.

The rescue coordination center contacted the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons Aug. 8 after a personal locater beacon notified them of a potential mishap at about 1 p.m.

"The pilot had taken his father's plane on a sightseeing trip from Palmer, (Alaska), over the Knik Glacier," said Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Bellamy, an RCC controller with the Alaska ANG. "They were scheduled to return to Palmer, but the ... beacon gave us coordinates that the plane was on Knik Glacier."

ANG weekend alert crews were contacted, and immediately reported to base and launched an HH-60 and HC-130 with pararescuemen onboard to the coordinates, located at about the 8,500 foot level of Knik Glacier.

"Weather at those high altitudes, and the cloud deck prevented us from getting to the aircraft," Sergeant Bellamy said. "With it getting late and the weather not improving, we started to look at alternative means of getting help to the people up there."

To add to the urgency of the situation, the people involved in the aircraft mishap didn't have any survival gear, and according to the family were only wearing light clothing when they departed.

At about 10 p.m., a pararescue team, consisting of combat rescue officer Maj. Jesse Peterson, and pararescuemen Master Sgt. Al Lankford and Tech. Sgts. Chris Uriarte and Angel Santana, were inserted at a lower elevation to hike to the coordinates of the locater beacon.

"The (pararescue) team was inserted about four miles away from the aircraft site with shelter, food and gear," said 1st. Lt John Romspert, a combat rescue officer for the 212th RS.

Unfortunately, weather conditions including blizzard-like conditions, cloud cover from the ground to 13,000 feet, and 70 mile per hour winds, delayed the ground crew from reaching the crash victims, and attempts from the air to get to the distressed crew were blocked due to inclement weather.

Using mountaineering skis and towing sleds full of gear that weighed 100 to 150 pounds each, two of the four members of the pararescue team reached the downed aircraft the night of Aug. 9 and was able to provide much-needed food and resources to the five people on scene.

"We were split up into to two teams of two, and with the white-out conditions on the glacier, we were separated from each other," Sergeant Lankford said. "There were some pretty hairy crevasses to cross, and we ended up travelling about 2,000 feet up the glacier, but we eventually made it to the crash site too."

After weather conditions prevented rescue attempts by state troopers and Army National Guardsmen, RCC officials immediately dispatched an ANG HH-60 and HC-130 to the scene with additional supplies and hopes of rescuing the 12 people stranded on the glacier.

With a break in the weather, guard members were able to rescue three of the original plane crash victims. They dropped another week's worth of supplies, and took three survivors to the Palmer airport to be re-united with family.

Weather conditions closed the window on making a second rescue attempt Aug. 10, and the final two plane crash victims from Aug. 8 were still on the glacier with the seven Alaska National Guardsmen.

Aug. 11, ANG members were finally able to land on the glacier and ferry the remaining people to a lower elevation in the Knik River valley.

"The fact the HH-60 reached us is a true testament to the (helicopter) crew, because it was very challenging weather conditions they were flying in," Sergeant Lankford said. "Everything was white, so we set-up our skis as a lane so they could use them as a reference and even popped smoke to help them with wind on the glacier."

With everyone safely off the glacier, the final two crash victims were taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital, Alaska, where they were reunited with family and friends.

"Alaska (weather conditions provide) exceptional challenges, which allow the great men and women of the Alaska National Guard the opportunity to excel at what they do and to come through every time," General Katkus said. "Each of these events provides unparallel training and prepares them to save lives while deployed around the world or working right here at home."

The Alaska Air National Guard was credited with eight saves for this mission.

Gates Orders Marine Corps Force Structure Review

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 12, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered a thorough force structure review of the Marine Corps to determine what an expeditionary force in readiness should look like in the 21st century.

Gates gave the order today in a speech here at the Marines' Memorial Club & Hotel as part of the George P. Shultz lecture series.

The Marine Corps review is part of a much larger effort throughout the department to understand the world as it is today and what the military needs will be tomorrow.

"All of the military services have been challenged to find the right balance between preserving what is unique and valuable in their traditions, while at the same time making the changes necessary to win the wars we are in and prepare for the likely future threats in the years and decades to come," the secretary said.

There are questions about the mission of the Marine Corps, Gates said. Before World War II, the Marines very successfully conducted "small wars" in the western hemisphere. The service also developed the rationale and logistics needed to conduct amphibious warfare.

During World War II, the Corps was wholly dedicated to landing on the beaches in the South and Central Pacific. America's first offensive of World War II was when Marines landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal and began the campaign against Japan in August 1942. Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa are just a few of the landings Marines made.

Since then, Marines have fought on the beaches, mountains and trenches of Korea, the highlands and rice paddies of Vietnam, and the deserts of Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Although many of these operations saw Marines initially projected from the sea, "they soon turned into long, grinding, ground engagements," Gates said.

The nation does not need a second land army, Gates said, but rather forces that can deploy quickly and sustain themselves for a short period of time.

"Looking ahead, I do think it is proper to ask whether large-scale amphibious landings along the lines of Inchon (Korea in 1950) are feasible," the secretary said. Anti-access technologies, such as more accurate cruise and ballistic missiles, will work to drive the starting point for amphibious operations farther and farther out to sea.

All will gain from a serious and balanced look at military missions, with an emphasis on balance, Gates said. "The United States will continue to face a diverse range of threats that will require a flexible portfolio of military capabilities," he said. The military must be equally adept in counterinsurgency and full-spectrum operations. Any enemy is going to confront perceived American weaknesses, and how the military responds to asymmetric tactics must be considered, he added.

Gates said he is worried that in a time of austerity, that the Defense Department may be seen by some legislators as a cash cow to fix funding issues in other government agencies. "One of my favorite lines that I have invoked time and again is that experience is the ability to recognize a mistake when you make it again," he said.

The United States has unilaterally disarmed four times since World War II, and each time it was a mistake, the secretary said. The United States cut its military significantly after World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War.

"After September 11th, the United States again rearmed and again strengthened our intelligence capabilities," the secretary said. "It will be critically important to sustain those capabilities in the future – it will be important not to make the same mistake a fifth time."

The spigot of defense spending that was turned up after the terrorist attacks is closing, Gates said. President Barack Obama has agreed to about 1 percent real growth in the base budget, but the department needs roughly three percent growth. Gates has said he will find the savings and allow the services to reinvest the money in more critical programs.

Part of this effort was his announcement of a series of efficiencies that will eliminate two department agencies and the U.S. Joint Forces Command. His initiative calls for reducing the number of contractors, eliminating 50 general/flag officers and 150 senior executive positions.

This is the first step in an effort to reshape the "corporate culture" at the Pentagon to make every dollar count, the secretary said. The culture must be agile and efficient and such that all personnel look at decisions with an eye to investing in warfighter needs, he said.

Gates worked with Secretary of State George Shultz during the Reagan administration. "For more than six years, (Shultz) and Ronald Reagan formed one of the most successful partnerships of a president and his chief diplomat in modern times, a true model for how the relationship is supposed to work," he said.

Three States Draw Down Guard's Oil Spill Response

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau

Aug. 11, 2010 - Now that the leak has been plugged and the oil has been stopped, three of the four states on duty are decreasing the number of National Guard members they have responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana still have more than 1,400 Guard members providing security, communications, aviation and administrative support to Operation Deepwater Horizon, but that number will be affected by the success of the recent static kill in the coming weeks, officials said.

In Florida, where Guardsmen are patrolling beaches for tar balls on all-terrain vehicles, about 70 Guard members remain on duty today. The high point was about 100. An additional 30 Guard members from other states are also working in the air coordination center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

"We are maintaining current operations of primarily ground reconnaissance as well as aviation support, while also doing our planning and coordination for the right-sizing of our force," said Air Force Lt. Col. Ron Tittle, the state public affairs officer. If they are needed, "we have forces that have been and will be ready to respond to the needs of our nation," Tittle said.

In Alabama, the claims action team ended its mission on July 30, said Army Lt. Col. Cynthia Bachus, the state public affairs officer. She said the state now has about 200 Guardsmen on duty, which is half the number that was on duty at the height of operations.

About 200 Alabama Guardsmen went door to door in Baldwin and Mobile counties telling people how to file claims with BP. Other missions included erecting barriers on Dauphin Island, transporting state and federal officials with aviation assets, and coordinating air support for surveillance of the slick and skimming operations at the incident command post in Mobile.

In Mississippi, Guard officials announced Aug. 3 that the number of soldiers supporting the oil spill response would be reduced by 75 percent.

"We brought on a responsible amount of National Guardsmen when the task at hand required it," said Army Col. Lee Smithson, commander of Joint Task Force Vigilant Horizon, which oversees the Mississippi National Guard's response to the oil spill. "But this phased reduction matches the response needed."

On Aug. 1, nearly 230 National Guard soldiers were activated, but only about 50 will remain on duty by Aug. 20, Smithson said.

This announcement of troop reductions in Mississippi comes nearly two weeks after the decision to activate 30 additional troops to boost the communications link on cleanup vessels, and it coincides with the successful capping of the well.

"With two weeks of no oil sighting, the time has come to right-size the force," Smithson said. "The light at the end of the tunnel is approaching."

After the leak was plugged Aug. 5, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said the clean-up effort has a long way to go.

"There still is residual oil that is out there," he said. "It's not that visual. It's harder to find at sea, but we still know we have tar balls and mats that are showing up, ... so we have to be in a position to respond to that."

In Louisiana, the number of Guardsmen on duty is holding steady at 1,030, said Army Col. Mike Deville, the state public affairs officer.

"We are continuing the support by maintaining the current barrier projects that we have emplaced, and we continue to work with the parishes and local officials to assist with their needs," he said.

General Officer Assignments

The chief of staff, Army announced today the following assignments:

Maj. Gen. Gina S. Farrisee, director, military personnel management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., to commanding general, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Ky.

Brig. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition/commanding general, Warrior Transition Command, Office of the Director Army Staff, Arlington, Va., to director, military personnel management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue II, deputy commanding general (operations), 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized)/U.S. Division - North, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, to director, concept development and learning, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va.

Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins, director, Joint Forces Special Operations Command - Iraq, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, to deputy director, requirements, J-8, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, deputy commanding general (support), 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized)/U.S. Division - North, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, to commandant, U.S. Army Field Artillery School, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence, Fort Sill, Okla.