Military News

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yokosuka Sailors Connect With Japanese College Students

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Japan

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. Embassy Tokyo and Commander Naval Forces Japan organized and hosted a tour of Fleet Activities Yokosuka for 11 Japanese university students Aug. 12.

The selected students were given tours of the Center for Naval Engineering and Afloat Training Group Western Pacific as part of a community outreach program.

"The goal of the outreach program is to show what kind of work is done on base and what kind of life American service members lead," said Noyuri Mitsuhashi, cultural affairs assistant at U.S. Embassy Tokyo. "Though we only brought 11 students on base today, we hope they will share what they learned to a broader audience and give them a better idea of what Americans are doing in Japan."

The students were given the opportunity to take photos and video footage of the tour, as well as interview Sailors on camera. Upon returning to their respective universities, the students can share their experiences with classmates, leading to a better understanding of the U.S. military way of life.

"Before getting a chance to talk with service members, I thought they stayed on base all the time and did training," said Mami Hioki an international politics major at University of the Sacred Heart. "Coming to Yokosuka changed my opinion about the U.S. military, I see now that they are normal people with families and friends."

While touring the Center for Naval Engineering, the students were given a chance to handle Navy firefighting equipment and see how U.S. Sailors train for emergencies.

"Letting them see how we train and how committed we are to doing our job, shows us in a more positive light," said Master Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) David Singer, who offered his services as tour guide of the facility.

After speaking with several Sailors and asking them questions about where they were from, what they did on duty and during their free time, Hioki was able to relate to them.

"I was surprised to know some of the young Sailors even play the same video games and watch the same anime I do," said Hioki. "I found I could relate to them more than I would have imagined."

Soldier Competes to Honor Late Wife

By John Crosby
Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

Aug. 13, 2010 - The installation support unit safety officer here is competing in this year's Scottish Highland Games 2010 Masters World Championships in Colorado's Rocky Mountains to honor the memory of his wife, who died in October. "It gives me a way to keep my wife's heritage alive," Army Maj. Kenneth Knight said. "It's a way to stay close to her."

While earning his Bachelor of Science degree in history from the College of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, Knight met his wife in the late 1980s. The college sweethearts were married in 1991.

Knight's wife began researching her genealogy and found she had Scottish blood on both sides of her family as well as certain levels of Bruce family royalty. This sparked their interest, the major said, and they began researching Scottish games, rules and guidelines.

The games started sometime around the 15th century, when Scotland was conquered by Great Britain. The Scots weren't allowed to practice with weapons due to fear of revolt, so they used everyday items such as rocks, hammers, stakes and logs in competition to see who was the strongest and fastest and who would take the role of protecting clan chiefs. In modern times, the feats have become sport, with participants across the world competing.

Knight and his wife traveled together, learning and participating in different Scottish sporting events. They developed their own unique family kilt. He even constructed his own homemade equipment using chains, weights and rocks.

Common events in the competitions include the "hammer throw," "weight throw" and the "sheath throw," which essentially is a 20-pound bundle of straw tossed for distance with a pitchfork.

"It's a very inexpensive sport in a sense," Knight said, noting that the traditional sport stays true to its roots, created with whatever the Scottish people had on hand.

Knight said he practiced his throws in his backyard regularly until something happened that put an end to that. "I put a hole in the side of the house," he recalled, laughing. "After that, the wife was like, 'You're done!' Now I go out to a field at my kid's elementary school and throw out there."

Knight shared his commitment to the sport with his wife, who filmed his practices. They would spend hours together studying video of Knight throwing, analyzing his form and contrasting it with video of professionals.

"It was a team partnership, said Knight. "She would always go to all of the competitions with me. It was a family affair. She got a chance to talk to the other wives, make new friends and have a good time learning the Scottish culture. We took the kids, and they loved it also."

He and his wife stayed at it.

"My first year was spent really getting introduced to the sport and learning techniques from other competitors and some of the pros," he said. He's proven to be somewhat of a natural, placing 12th worldwide in his division. He has created a stir in the Scottish games world and was invited to this year's championships.

"My first games were a lot of fun," Knight said. "I had to compete against a couple of world champions at my first one. I beat them at the first event, which caught their eye. They were like, 'Who's this guy?' I ended up in fifth place out of 10 guys in that competition. They started showing me some techniques."

Knight competed in eight more games that season. His wife became ill and died Oct. 11, three days before his birthday. This year, Knight plans on improving his skill and competing in her memory.

Between his Army duties here and raising his four children on his own, Knight studies and travels to compete in his sport several times a year. He even has his children and his brother-in-law involved, practicing with him.

"It's a gentlemen's and a family sport," Knight said, noting that people 16 through 70 are welcome to participate.

Knight said he plans to keep up with the sport until he is an old man and can't throw any more. Meanwhile, he said, he'll compete to keep his wife's memory alive.

"This year is her memorial season," he said. "I'm just going to continue celebrating her."

Mission to Africa – Sierra Leone

by: LT Connie Braesch

This week we arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone, for a port visit after finishing up our work with a Sierra Leone Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and vessels from the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Maritime Wing.

The Sierra Leone LEDET joined forces with us for three weeks as part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP). Mohawk and the LEDET patrolled the Sierra Leone coast and Exclusive Economic Zone assisting local officials in enforcing national laws and regulations as well as obtaining information on vessels and activities in Sierra Leone waters. Several boardings of suspect vessels found no violations, which is indicative that the AMLEP mission is working successfully.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been involved in AMLEP operations off the coast of West Africa since 2008. We are the third Coast Guard cutter to work with U.S. Africa Command in the sovereign waters off the coast of West Africa. The joint operations not only broadened the crew’s skills sets and ability to work together but also provided a law enforcement presence in the region.

“Participating in AMLEP allowed us to look at the role we can play when it comes to international law enforcement,” said Mr. Josephus Choe Mamie, Sierra Leone fisheries officer and member of the LEDET boarding team.

“I believe our operations with the Sierra Leone LEDET were very successful. Not only did we help them conduct boardings on suspect vessels in their waters, but we also helped them gain maritime domain awareness,” said Cmdr. Robert Hendrickson, the commanding officer aboard the Mohawk.

After completing the AMLEP operations, some crewmembers from the Mohawk completed a community relations project at the Freetown Christian Faith Rescue Orphanage.

“The crew had a unique opportunity to foster new friendships with our LEDET colleagues and learn about the people and culture of Sierra Leone and also demonstrate the Coast Guard’s emphasis on humanitarian projects by spending a day making repairs to a local orphanage,” said Hendrickson.

We built a new structure to enclose the orphanage’s cooking fire, made plumbing improvements to the building and put up a tire swing to give the children something to play on. We also gave the children footballs, soccer balls and Frisbees.

“This crew never ceases to amaze me and this community relations project is just one more instance where they have exceeded my wildest expectations. The cooking shelter they erected at the Christian Faith Rescue Orphanage, along with the numerous other projects they completed there, is a great example of the Mohawk crew’s dedication to helping people in need,” said Hendrickson.

We ended our time in Freetown with a reception. The guest list included distinguished visitors from the diplomatic corps as well as the Sierra Leone and foreign military.

Since we have finished up our operations with Sierra Leone we are now back at sea and excited to work with our next African Partner nations.

Soldier Missing from Korean War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Cpl. Roy Stewart, U.S. Army, of Jackson, Miss. His funeral will be held Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Representatives from the Army's mortuary office met with the next-of-kin of Stewart to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

Stewart was assigned to Company A, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, deployed to North Korea near Kujang-dong. In late November 1950, he was captured by enemy forces and reportedly died March 14, 1951, while in captivity near Pyoktong, North Korea.

During Operation Glory in the fall of 1954, North Korea turned over 4,167 caskets including remains they claimed to be those of Stewart. This was part of an agreement in which each side would return remains of enemy soldiers. The United States returned caskets containing the remains of more than 12,000 communist soldiers. At the time the Army was unable to identify Stewart and the remains were buried as "unknown" along with 415 other servicemembers.

In 2008, an analyst from DPMO and an independent researcher concluded they had evidence that supported identification of several unknown soldiers buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The remains were exhumed in September 2008. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command identified Stewart's remains through dental comparisons and circumstantial evidence related to the 1954 turnovers.

More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With the accounting of Stewart, 8,023 servicemembers still remain missing from that conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.

Blue Ridge Arrives in Korea

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Melvin F. Orr III, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

BUSAN, Korea (NNS) -- USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Aug. 13 in support of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet's participation in the combined forces exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian with the ROK Navy.

While in Busan, Blue Ridge and embarked 7th Fleet staff Sailors will be directly engaged in the annual exercise, which strengthens U.S. and ROK forces' interoperability and capability to defend the Republic of Korea through field exercises and cyber scenarios.

"Every opportunity we have to exercise with our ROK counterparts makes us stronger operationally," said Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Rudy Lupton. "During the coming weeks our Sailors will work closely with their ROK military counterparts to build upon relationships vital to achieving our shared goals. This exercise is a tremendous opportunity for our Sailors to observe operations and participate in personnel exchanges with the ROK Navy, building on years of cooperation and shared experiences in a combined-forces environment."

Blue Ridge, 7th Fleet staff Sailors and embarked Marines of Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, 1st Company, will participate in several community service projects during the ship's port call. Volunteers will visit with elderly members of the community at the Blue Bird Senior Citizen's Center, where Sailors and Marines will go on walks and sing songs with the residents.

Sailors and Marines embarked aboard Blue Ridge will also visit Hee Rak-Wan Children's Welfare Facility and Jinhae Hope Children's Home where they will play games with children and help with cleaning and yard work.

While not participating in the exercise, Sailors will have the opportunity to explore Korea on trips sponsored by Morale, Welfare and Recreation, including the shopping district of Osan and the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

"I'm looking forward to the visit. I'm anxious to try out the local food, and I'm especially interested in seeing the differences and similarities between Japanese and Korean cultures," said Machinist's Mate Fireman Aaron Stanger.

The military exercises won't be the only way for Sailors to interact with Korean forces. Several sporting events are scheduled with ROK athletes and Blue Ridge's own basketball, soccer and volleyball teams.

Sailors will also take to the street with their Korean counterparts during a five-kilometer fun run held during the visit.

Newly selected chief petty officers plan to barbecue for the crew during fundraisers as part of their chief petty officer indoctrination.

Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

Abraham Lincoln Wraps Up COMPTUEX, Certified Ready for Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jerine Lee, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group wrapped up Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of Southern California Aug 13.

COMPTUEX is an 18-day exercise used to evaluate the strike group's operational readiness by assessing the integration of all units of the strike group such as air, strike, information, surface and anti-submarine warfare to certify the strike group ready for operations at sea and the upcoming deployment.

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

Air Wing 2 is the strike group's primary offensive striking weapon. During COMPTUEX, the Lincoln and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) air wings conducted numerous large force strike drills deep into simulated enemy territory to destroy critical hostile targets.

Each large force strike involved the EA-6B Prowlers assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131, E-2C Hawkeyes assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116, F/A-18 Hornets assigned to Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 2, 34, 137 and 151 conducting a simulation of targeting and destruction of critical targets while suppressing enemy radars and anti-aircraft fires.

USS Momsen (DDG 92), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sterett (DDG 104) from DESRON 9 completed war at sea and surface action group exercises. These drills included tracking simulated enemy subs, maritime interdiction operations, visit board search and seizure drills and also transiting through narrow straights with potential enemies nearby. Strike group 9 ships also practiced striking land targets with tomahawk missiles.

USS Cape St. George (CG 71) coordinated the air defense for the strike group. While leading a combined effort for air defense of the Lincoln and Nimitz, Cape St. George incorporated all strike group units into a tactical data and communications link, which included P-3 Orion aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, Air Force Airborne Warning and Control Aircraft and U.S. 3rd Fleet's shore-based facilities.

COMPTUEX consists of two final battle problems to verify the strike group's competency for open-ocean operations. Both battle problems were successfully completed and the strike group was praised on numerous levels.

"You are sound and you executed well," said Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. "The world is changing. It's more complicated and more dangerous, but you're ready."

Areas specifically noted for their excellence were maritime security operations, ship and air wing coordination, deckplate leadership, operational risk management, crisis planning, rules of engagement, execution, accuracy in strike warfare, agility in using alternate communication paths, response to network threats and overall performance in professionalism and combat operational effectiveness.

Operation Purple Summer Camp Serves the Military Child

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Dagendesh, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Northwest

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- More than 150 children of military families around the Pacific Northwest attended "Operation Purple Camp," a free summer camp at Island Lake, in Silverdale, Wash. Aug. 9-13.

According to Lt. Jg. Paul Morris of Naval Base Kitsap's Legal Service Office, Operation Purple Camp helps provide military children of deployed service members with tools to deal with their parent's deployment in a unique setting.

"Operation Purple, a one-week program, is funded by the National Military Family Association (NMFA) whose goal is to help military children experience a carefree environment and forge friendships with other military children while learning how to cope with the stress related to having a deployed parent," said Morris.

According to Angela Melton, Operation Purple Camp co-director, the goals of Operation Purple is to give the youth an opportunity to interact with others who are going through the same situation.

"We have youth from all different branches of the military come together so they can see they are not the only one with deployed parent…it's to reach out to the military youth to let them know they are not alone, and so a lot of them come back year after year."

"I think it's really fun and a great program for kids," said Kristen Colon, a camp attendee. "It really helps out a lot to keep us preoccupied from the stress of deployed parents by doing all these fun activities and talking about how each one is feeling. I've met a lot of new friends out here, and we support one another."

The program provides day-to-day team building exercises ranging from paint ball to going on a row boat, swimming and riding small motor bikes.

"I really like the camp," said Erin Nissen, camp attendee. "My most memorable experience here has been meeting other people and having fun with them. I heard about this last year from an ad telling me about this camp, and my mom signed me up. And my friend signed up with me."

"This is my second year," said camp attendee, Jason Lovett. "A couple friends told me about it - that I should check it out, and it has been a lot of fun."

"I think it is important for children to have something like this because it helps get their mind off having a deployed military parent. The younger ones don't understand it as much, but the older ones are able to build that camaraderie," said Lovett.

For more information about Operation Purple Camp, visit the National Military Family Association at www.nmfa.org.

U.S., Pakistani Forces Collaborate to Help Flood Victims

By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

Aug. 13, 2010 - The flood in Pakistan has caused unprecedented damage and left millions of people across the country homeless. The problem is beyond comprehension, and international support groups, including the U.S. military, are doing what they can to help.

Army Brig. Gen. Michael Nagata, deputy commander of the U.S. defense representative's office in Pakistan, joined a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable today to discuss the details and operational aspects of ongoing U.S. military flood relief operations in Pakistan's Swat Valley.

In response to an urgent request from the Pakistani government for helicopter support, six helicopters from the 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade deployed from Afghanistan Aug. 4 to Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan. Since then, they have been shuttling food and other supplies to refugees and rescuing stranded victims. The flood has killed more than 1,600 people and submerged massive portions of the country.

"The magnitude of this disaster is beyond anything anyone was prepared for, in Pakistan or across the world," Nagata said. "No one can remember a flood this bad, which had such far-reaching consequences. We have to rise to the level of damage and harm this disaster is causing."

Reports have come out of Pakistan estimating that the scale of the flood may outpace the disastrous tsunami that destroyed so much in Southeast Asia in 2004. Though the death toll is on par with recent natural disasters, United Nations officials estimate that 13.8 million people will need aid in the aftermath.

Though the Army's four CH-47 Chinook and two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and their aircrews have delivered more than 160 metric tons of supplies and rescued more than 3,000 people, the Ghazi contingent has been hampered by rain in the valley.

"Weather is certainly a factor," Nagata said. "Of the available flying days we've had, we've only been able to effectively fly about half that time."

The Swat Valley hasn't had to face the same issues other parts of the country are dealing with, especially concerns over waterborne disease. While flooding in the lowlands of Pakistan has left massive amounts of standing water – breeding grounds for bacteria as well as infectious-disease-carrying insects – the water in Swat is moving very rapidly. Nagata said the big concern there is getting to people who have been stranded, because bridges and roadways were washed away so quickly.

Should health concerns become a bigger issue, Nagata said, U.S. medical personnel assigned to Ghazi, as well as the entire medical corps of the Pakistani military, will handle it. International organizations also may play a role if disease becomes a critical issue.

Some media have speculated about concerns of Taliban activity in the region, as one of Pakistan's recent major military offensives against the extremist group was focused in Swat. Nagata said he hasn't seen any evidence of extremist activity, but noted he's paying more attention to relief efforts and allowing Pakistan to handle security issues.

"What fills our radar screen is the urgent need to get support to the people," the general said. "We're not here to conduct anything but disaster response and relief."

Today, two Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter from the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Pakistan as part of the continued U.S. humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in support of flood relief efforts.

The three aircraft are part of the contingent of 19 helicopters ordered to Pakistan this week by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The aircraft flew into Pakistan from aboard the USS Peleliu, which is positioned in international waters in the Arabian Sea. They will join two other CH-53E helicopters that arrived at Ghazi yesterday, bringing to five the total number of aircraft in Pakistan from the USS Peleliu.

The remaining aircraft will arrive over the next few days and will include two more Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters and 12 Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters. The U.S. helicopters will operate in partnership with the Pakistan military throughout the country's flood-affected areas.

The 19 aircraft will relieve the six U.S. Army helicopters, which will soon return to duty in Afghanistan.

The total U.S. military presence in Pakistan, Nagata estimated, is a few hundred servicemembers, all of whom are there at the invitation and request of the Pakistani government.

Nagata emphasized the U.S. commitment to helping Pakistan recover from the disaster and praised the courage of Pakistanis during this difficult time.

"We will be here so long as the government of Pakistan requests and requires our assistance," the general said. "This is an enormous disaster. The people of Pakistan are courageously battling against the elements to get to people in need, repair bridges, and help their fellow Pakistanis who are in distress. Whatever we can do to get to those people in distress to support our Pakistani counterparts is well worth doing, and we're proud to be here."

U.S. military support to Pakistan is just one piece of a much broader U.S. government response. The United States has pledged to provide about $76 million in assistance to flood-affected populations in Pakistan, which includes both financial assistance and the immediate provision of urgently needed supplies and services, drawing on unique U.S. capabilities and resources.

Since the floods began on July 29, the United States has contributed:

-- A month's ration of food to about 181,000 people through the partnership with the World Food Program;

-- Humanitarian contributions that include $11.25 million for the U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees and $5 million for International Committee of the Red Cross, bringing the total U.S. commitment to about $76 million to expand existing emergency programs in all flood-affected parts of Pakistan;

-- $3 million to the World Health Organization for the expansion of Pakistan's disease early warning system (and to establish the first 15 treatment centers for water-borne illness in high-risk flood-affected areas;

-- $4.1 million to Save the Children for food vouchers that enable flood victims to purchase food in their local markets;

-- Through yesterday, U.S. helicopters assigned to the Pakistani interior ministry's 50th Squadron rescued 1,019 people, airlifted 78,473 pounds of supplies and engaged in other support missions;

-- More than 1,100 rolls of plastic sheeting and 14,000 blankets, which arrived in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Aug. 10 and will benefit about 11,100 families or 66,000 people once they're transported to Punjab province for distribution;

-- A total of 436,944 meals delivered via U.S. Air Force airlift to civilian and military officials in Pakistan, a contribution of about $3.7 million;

-- Emergency relief items delivered to the National Disaster Management Authority in Peshawar, including 18 rescue boats, six water filtration units, 10 water storage bladders and 30 concrete-cutting saws valued at $746,000; and

-- Twelve prefabricated steel bridges, valued at $3.2 million, made available as temporary replacements for highway bridges damaged by flooding and a 25-kilowatt generator costing about $30,000.

Guardian of the Week – The crew of CG 6565

Friday, August 13, 2010
by: LTJG Stephanie Young

Crewmembers at Coast Guard Air Station Savannah provide search and rescue (SAR) coverage for 450 miles of coastline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year… and they’ve been doing it since 1963. The aircrews hear their SAR alarm go off, on average, 250 times a year, flying missions from the northern border of South Carolina to Melbourne, Florida.

On July 15, 2010, the SAR alarm reverberated through the Air Station.

On duty… the crew of the MH-65C Dolphin helicopter 6565, which included LT Jeff Jacobs, ENS Chris Tamburello, AMT3 Kevin Lee and AST3 Andrew Sinclair.

The case… watchstanders at Sector Charleston received a call from local law enforcement that a woman had placed a 911 call after having witnessed a person struggling in the waters off the coast of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The woman, without giving any further information other than her location, hung up.

With the help of local law enforcement, interviews were conducted on the beaches and in surrounding areas to determine if anyone was missing.

Everyone had been reported accounted for.

The response… with no further information and with what he describes as a gut feeling, LT Jeff Jacobs, the aircraft commander, continued with the SAR mission.

Many SAR responders describe trying to find a person in the water at altitude like trying to find a needle in a haystack. And the conditions that day made the case even tougher – no position certainty and no information on what, or who was in the water if anything or anyone. All the crew knew was they needed to go check it out.

The persistence, dedication and excellent local area knowledge of the aircrew paid off. In only the first pass, flying at 200 feet or about 20 stories up, LT Jacobs inexplicably, spotted a woman in the water.

“She had no PFD, nothing contrasting in color and was wearing only her bathing suit,” said Jacobs.

The crew of the 6565 noticed that the woman was not looking up… Not waving her arms… Not giving any indicators that she was in distress.

The rescue swimmer, AST3 Sinclair, was lowered into the water.

The woman, after being carried out by a rip current and fighting it for hours, was so completely exhausted and in distress that she had not been able to signal for help. The junior crew of the 6565 hoisted the survivor into the helicopter, performed an initial assessment of her medical condition and flew her to safety. All this, with the expertise and finesse of a more experienced crew considering it was the first hoist of a survivor for both Tamburello and Lee.

“This aircrew and Sector Charleston did a great job of following through despite initial indicators suggesting a false alert,” said CDR David Cooper, operations officer at Air Station Savannah.

“It was a strong team effort to assess the situation, including the uncertainty surrounding the case because no one was reported missing and initial surface searches reported negative results, to continue to prosecute the case,” he continued. “Ultimately, the Savannah aircrew and Sector Charleston’s teamwork and devotion to duty resulted in one life saved!”

Civilians given 60-day access to records after separating

By April Rowden
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –Air Force Civilian Service employees are now able to access their electronic Official Personnel Folder, or eOPF, for up to 60 days following their date of separation.

This new capability allows employees to log into the AFPC Secure website from a personal computer using a user ID and password and download a copy of their final separation Standard Form 50, Notification of Personnel Action, or any other eOPF document.

The user ID and password must be created prior to the employee’s separation date. For instructions on how to establish a user ID and password, visit the personnel services website and enter keyword “eOPF.”

Allowing separated employees access to their eOPF for up to 60 days from their date of separation gives them immediate access to their final SF 50. Previously, employees had to wait for a hard copy to arrive in the mail.

This self-service capability for civilians compliments other initiatives that have been implemented as Air Force Personnel Center officials look for ways to return valuable time to employees. Other successes include the self-service education update launched in 2008, the training update released in 2009, and the certifications and licenses update, as well as the non-monetary awards update, both launched earlier this year.

For more information on any of the self-service initiatives, visit the AFPC personnel services website and enter keywords “self service updates,” or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

8,800 Air Force employees transition out of NSPS

by April Rowden
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The first two waves of Air Force employees have successfully converted out of the National Security Personnel System, leaving less than 30,000 to make the transition.

Approximately 8,800 employees were converted out of NSPS during phases I and II on July 4 and July 18. Phases III and IV are scheduled to transition on Aug. 15 and Sept. 12.

NSPS, a human resources pay and performance management system for the civilian work force intended to replace the long-standing General Schedule system, was repealed in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The decision affected more than 220,000 civilian employees across the Defense Department.

To help ensure a smooth transition out of NSPS for nearly 38,000 Air Force civilian employees affected by the repeal, Air Force officials rigorously tested the computer program that would automate the conversion process.

Staff members from the Air Force Personnel Operations Agency tested the automated system for three weeks in April, looking for incompatibilities, debugging the system and checking the program’s overall functionality.

In May, a team of employees in the Air Force Personnel Center’s Directorate of Personnel Data Systems, or DPD, field tested the new program, processing the conversion of 60 NSPS employees assigned to the DoD’s Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

“Using the information provided by Wright-Patterson’s classification office, our team input all the relevant GS conversion data into the employees’ current NSPS positions – the new valid grade, the new position description number, the supervisory status, the new position title, and the target grade,” said Brenda Nicholson from DPD. “When we processed the mass conversion, all 60 records were successfully converted, with all pay retentions activated and all SF 50s generated.”

As the Air Force continues to gear up for the greatest number of conversions yet, approximately 4,100 in August and close to 25,000 in September, training modules are available to NSPS employees and their managers at www.my.af.mil/afknprod/nsps-gs-trng or on the official NSPS website.

These modules provide an overview of the pay structure, discuss benefits and entitlements, explain how jobs are classified, outline the more common awards and incentive programs available to GS employees, and provide detailed information about the conversion process, including information on how an employee’s pay will be determined.

By law, employees will not lose pay upon conversion. These general guidelines will be followed when determining an employee’s pay. If the employee’s current pay:

- Fits within the rate range of the appropriate grade to which the employee is assigned, the employee will be placed at a step that equals or exceeds his existing pay.

- Is below the rate range for the appropriate GS grade to which the employee is assigned, the employee will be placed on the first step of the GS grade upon conversion out.

- Is above the rate range for the appropriate GS grade to which the employee is assigned, the employee will be placed on pay retention to ensure he does not suffer any decrease in or loss of pay upon conversion.

For more information, visit AFPC’s personnel services website. Air Force employees may call the 24-hour Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.

MILITARY CONTRACTS August 14, 2010

ARMY

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on July 30 a firm-fixed-price contract with the estimated face value of $618,974,038. The purpose of the contract is to purchase 2,526 M1152A1B2 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles with area troop enclosures for the Afghanistan police force and Afghanistan National Guard. Work is to be performed in South Bend, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM, Warren, CCTA-ATA-A, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-C-0405).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Aug. 11 a $40,766,120 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for a total of 292 explosively formed penetrator protection kits to support the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicles. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Aug. 11 a $17,992,344 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for a total of 59 field service representatives for 708 months to be located in Afghanistan and locations in the contiguous U.S. to support the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicles. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Hamilton Builders, Inc., Mountain Home, Idaho, was awarded on Aug. 10 a $14,190,178 firm-fixed-price construction contract. This contract is for the construction of the logistical readiness center at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Work is to be performed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, with an estimated completion date of June 20, 1012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with nine bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912DW-10-C-0028).

Medico Industries, Inc., Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was awarded on Aug. 11 a $10,333,511 firm-fixed-price contract. This acquisition of Operations IV quantities is for the 60mm M720A1 and 81mm M821 shell bodies. Work is to be performed in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. Two bids were solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, CCJM-CA, Combat Ammo Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-07-C-0065).

Lifecycle Construction Services, LLC, Washington, D.C., was awarded on Aug. 11 a $7,461,785 firm-fixed-price contract. The contractor shall design and construct the new Air Traffic Tower (ATCT) at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. The ATCT shall consist of 11 stories, plus catwalk level, and shall not exceed 9,040 square feet. The building shall include toilets/showers and lockers areas; administrative areas; break room; ready room; training room; mechanical area; electrical areas; chases for mechanical and electrical; stairwells; and an elevator. The project shall include modifications to an existing parking lot to achieve adequate stand-off distance, connection sidewalks, landscaping and fencing. The contractor shall design and construct the new control tower including all parking, site work, force protection, utilities, storm water management, permitting, and landscaping as described. Supporting utilities shall include gas, sewer, and underground electrical and communication services. The project also includes the demolition of the existing control tower. Work is to be performed at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 8, 2012. Six bids were solicited with five bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-D-0012).

Science Application International Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on June 30 a $6,348,387 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This modification is to provide technical support to the U.S. Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives headquarters office in Edgewood, Md., during the design, construction, systemization, pilot testing, operation and closure of Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant and Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant. Work is to be performed in Abingdon, Md., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Research Development & Engineering, Command Contracting Office, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W911SR-07-D-0006).

NAVY

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $115,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-09-C-2229 for long-lead time material and advanced design efforts for Ship 1 of the Mobile Landing Platform program. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (27.1 percent); Pittsburgh, Pa. (18.2 percent); Beloit, Wis. (11.2 percent); Chesapeake, Va. (9.2 percent); Crozet, Va. (8.6 percent); Busan, South Korea (7.1 percent); Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (4.3 percent); Iron Mountain, Mich. (2.8 percent); Houma, La. (2.5 percent); Hamburg, Germany (2.4 percent), Bremen, Germany (1.8 percent); Allendale, N.J. (0.9 percent); Mobile, Ala. (0.9 percent); Houston, Texas (0.7 percent); North Tonawanda, N.Y. (0.7 percent); Wageningen, The Netherlands (0.4 percent); Knoxville, Tenn. (0.4 percent); Annapolis, Md. (0.3 percent); and various other locations (0.5 percent). Work is expected to be complete by April 2012. 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.

Absher Construction Co., Puyallup, Wash., is being awarded a $38,229,000 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of an officer training command quarters at Naval Station Newport. The work to be performed provides for the construction of a new high-rise multi-story structure that will contain berthing for Officer Training Command (OTC) students, common areas, building utility rooms, and training support/administrative spaces for OTC Command and administrative support. This contract also contains an unexercised option which, if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $46,389,000. Work will be performed in Newport, R.I., and is expected to be completed by February 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 27 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic Northeast Integrated Product Teams, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-C-9405).

Panda Machine Tools, Inc., Chicago, Ill., is being awarded a $10,939,712 firm-fixed-price contract for installation and supply of a propulsion shaft lathe at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work will be performed in Bremerton, Wash., and work is expected to be completed by August 2012. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively awarded, with eight offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Puget Sound, Bremerton, Wash., is the contracting activity (N00406-10-C-1028).

ITT Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems, Clifton, N.J., is being awarded a $9,838,468 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for investigations of anomalies; software engineering; systems engineering; software and firmware maintenance; support tools and facilities maintenance; documentation; and hardware maintenance and upgrade software support for the electronic warfare jammers AN/ALQ-165 and AN/ALQ-214. Work will be performed at Clifton, N.J. (90 percent), Point Mugu, Calif. (5 percent), and China Lake, Calif. (5 percent). Work is expected to be completed in August 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $1,010,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($8,264,313; 84 percent); and for the governments of Australia ($393,539; 4 percent), Switzerland ($393,539; 4 percent), Finland ($393,539; 4 percent), and Taiwan ($393,538; 4 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0057).

Lockheed Martin, MS2 Division, Syracuse, N.Y., is being awarded a $9,555,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5201) to modify the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 systems from four cabinets to six cabinets. The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 is a surface ship combat system with the capabilities to search, detect, classify, localize and track undersea contacts; and to engage and evade submarines, mine-like small objects, and torpedo threats. The work will be performed in Lemont Furnace, Pa. (50 percent), Syracuse, N.Y. (25 percent), and Eagan, Minn. (25 percent). Work is expected to be completed by January 2012. 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.

Harper Construction Co., Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $8,476,768 modification to increase the maximum dollar value of a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N62473-09-C-1208) for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E)/collateral equipment for bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQ) at Marine Corps Base and Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton. The work to be performed provides for furniture, FF&E/collateral equipment for: three 200-room and one 299-room BEQs that includes a multipurpose room, administrative duty room, and centralized laundry facility in each BEQ. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $133,146,955. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Turner-Penick, JV, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $8,345,391 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N62473-09-C-1234) for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E)/collateral equipment for bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQ) at Marine Corps Base and Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton. The work provides for FF&E/collateral equipment in the four BEQs that each includes 200 rooms, a multipurpose room, administrative duty room, and centralized laundry facility. The total contract amount after exercise of this modification will be $117,923,644. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by August 2011. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on Aug. 12 a $7,064,140 fixed-price delivery order #0080 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-06-D-5028). This delivery order is issued against exercised priced options for the purchase of six logistic vehicle system replacement production tractor vehicles; two wreckers; 50 400 amp alternators; 50 suspension kits; and 50 armor kits. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wis. (65 percent), and in Israel (35 percent), and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

General Atomics, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $6,562,856 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-4222) for engineering services that support the development of a proof-of-concept hybrid electric drive (HED) system for a full-scale demonstration. HED is aimed at improving the operating efficiency of the engineering plant on DDG 51 class ships and is intended to demonstrate the capability for significant fuel savings by incorporating advanced electric machine technology. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (50 percent), Milwaukee, Wis. (25 percent), and Hudson, Mass. (25 percent). Work is expected to be completed by June 2014. 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.

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY

Inmarsat Navigation Ventures, Ltd., London, England, is being awarded a $18,038,126 firm-fixed-price contract (HR0011-10-C-0149) to develop and certify a transceiver terminal for the Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service provided by the I-4 constellation that is capable of operation from on-board a low earth orbit satellite; make appropriate modifications to the BGAN network to support space-based terminal equipment; support the integration of the space-based BGAN terminal with a government demonstration satellite; and support the on-orbit connectivity via the BGAN network for the demonstration satellite mission. Work will be performed in London, England (20.60 percent); Golden, Colo. (64.76 percent); Aylesbury, England (11 percent); Nørresundby, Denmark (2.15 percent); and Ottawa, Canada (1.49 percent). Work is expected to be completed in September 2015. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity.

Defense Secretary meets future Navy SEALs

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Gahlau, Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The visit was part of an itinerary that included stops at several military installations in San Diego Aug. 12-13.

Gates met candidates of Basic Underwater Demolition/Sea, Air and Land (BUD/S) class 284 as they were training on the beach during what is known as 'Hell Week.'

"First of all you volunteered for the Navy and then you volunteered for this," said Gates to the class.

After praising the class, Gates officially secured them from their 107-hour ordeal. During Hell Week, candidates endure constant stressful training with little sleep, which is why it is considered one of the most arduous evolutions of the 50-week SEAL candidate training at the Center. Long distance swims, small boat handling and navigation, strength conditioning drills and other teamwork-building exercises are conducted night and day until the candidates are given permission to secure from training, usually by a major official.

"You are the best and we are in a tough fight, and I wish you the very best. " said Gates. "Class 284 you're secured from Hell Week!"

"The Navy has made recruiting high-quality SEAL candidates a top priority," said Naval Special Warfare Center Commanding Officer Capt. Bill Wilson. "The students now arriving are the best prepared physically and mentally we've seen.

"Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson has personally become involved in assuring we are well-resourced and we appreciate his leadership immensely," Wilson said.

Gates was sworn in Dec. 18, 2006, as the 22nd SECDEF. He is the only SECDEF in U.S. history to be asked to remain in office be a newly elected president.

Naval special warfare is the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command and is the Navy's special operations force. The community is composed of more than 7,500 personnel, including 2,300 SEALs and 600 special warfare combatant-craft crewmen (SWCC), along with military support personnel, Reserve components and civilian staff. SEALs and SWCC focus on missions involving irregular warfare, direct action, anti-terrorism, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, information warfare, security assistance, counter-drug operations, personnel recovery and hydrographic reconnaissance.

DOD Announces Amphibious Ready Group Deployment

From the Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Defense announced Aug. 13 the deployment of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSG ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU).

The combined Navy and Marine Corps team will leave later this month to bring significant heavy- and medium-lift aircraft and other assets to support flood relief efforts in Pakistan. The Kearsarge ARG/26th MEU's capabilities will allow sailors and Marines to provide food, water, transportation, and other support, in partnership with the Pakistani military, to those in need.

The group is expected to arrive in the Arabian Sea in late September.

The KSG ARG is comprised of commander, Amphibious Squadron FOUR (CPR-4), the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce.

The 26th MEU, based out of Camp Lejuene, N.C., consists of Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Combat Logistics Battalion 26, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (Reinforced) and a command element.

For information on the supporting units for this deployment, please contact Expeditionary Strike Group 2 public affairs at 757-462-1282 or 26th MEU Public Affairs at 910-546-2540.