Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boeing Wins Aerial Tanker Contract

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2011 – The Boeing Co. has won the contract to produce the Air Force’s KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft, replacing the Eisenhower-era KC-135s and the Reagan-era KC-10s.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said the competition for the contract was fair, open and transparent and he believes it will survive any possible challenge.

“What we can tell you is Boeing was a clear winner,” Lynn said.

Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley made the announcement at the Pentagon this evening. Both offers –- by Boeing and EADS -– met all 372 mandatory requirements under the competition, he said. The contract signed today is for $3.5 billion for engineering and manufacturing. This portion of the contract will yield four aircraft.

Under this award Boeing will build 179 aircraft. Overall the contract is worth $30 billion with a final amount depending on the options exercised, Donley said.

“I am pleased that this process has produced an outcome after an exhaustive effort by hundreds of the department’s very best people, that we will get about delivering a capability that’s long overdue and we can stop talking about it,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said.

The first 18 aircraft will be delivered by 2017.

Lynn said warfighters defined the requirements for the aircraft, and this is a fixed-price contract. “This competition favored no one, but the taxpayer and the warfighter,” he said.

Donley called the tanker buy the service’s No.1 need. He said he and Schwartz “are confident that when our young pilots, boom operators and maintainers receive this aircraft, they will have the tools they need to be successful at what we ask them to do.”

Boeing will use a version of the 767 aircraft for the new tanker. EADS based its submission on the Airbus A330.

Donley said Boeing’s submitted cost for the contract will provide “substantial savings to the taxpayer.”

This was the third time this contract has been awarded. In 2003, the Air Force agreed to lease aerial tankers from Boeing, but the deal fell through due to illegal acts that had involved some Boeing and Pentagon officials.

In February 2008, EADS won the reconfigured contract, but that was voided after the Government Accountability Office ruled that Boeing was treated unfairly.

USS Reuben James Engage Indonesian Navy in Friendly Competition

By Ensign Ben Dalton, USS Reuben James Public Affairs

JAKARTA, Indonesia (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) competed against Tentara National Indonesia (TNI) navy personnel in a game of soccer and a volleyball match, Feb. 22.

Lt. Anthony Pangjogie, USS Reuben James operations officer and soccer coach, said athletic competitions are a great way to develop international relations and strengthen the bonds that exist between partner countries.

"Getting to play a soccer game against the TNI navy is great," Pangjogie said. "It's a wonderful way for us to build positive relations, and the friendly competition is enjoyed by everyone involved."

The athletic teams from Reuben James play in matches and tournaments against other countries from time-to-time during a port visit.

During the past year, the Reuben James soccer team has played against teams from East Timor, Australia, France, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

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Today in the Department of Defense, Saturday, February 26, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

Marines Conduct Martial Arts Training with Guatemalan Military

By Cpl. Brittany Kohler, Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011 Public Affairs

PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala (NNS) -- U.S. Marines conducted subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) with Guatemalan service members aboard Kaibil Base, Guatemala, Feb. 17.

The exchanges included Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) and non-lethal weapons and tactics, taught by Marines from Security Cooperation Task Force (SCTF), Ground Combat Element (GCE) and Logistics Combat Element (LCE).

"This is our first learning evolution here in Guatemala, and it is great so far," said Staff Sgt. Zachary R. Strelke, GCE Scout Platoon commander. "This is a new experience for many of the Guatemalan service members, but they are very combat-focused, so this training is right up their alley."

SCTF consists of Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, 2nd Tank Battalion and 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion and is currently deployed in support of Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011 (A-SPS11).

A-SPS11's mission is to strengthen cooperative partnerships in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility and to conduct SMEEs to enhance capabilities of both U.S. and foreign militaries.

In 2010, a group of U.S. Marines visited the Guatemalan special forces "Kaibil" base and taught Guatemalan service members tan belt, the entry level, techniques. This year, the Guatemalan forces requested the SCTF to advance the MCMAP exchange to cover grey and green belt techniques.

"Being a Kaibil, this type of training is very important to us," said Kaibil Infantry Lt. Elvis Roman Flores Ramirez, First Company Rifleman. "I wish there was more time to train and learn more skills to become proficient in the advanced levels of martial arts."

Though Kaibil soldiers and Guatemalan Army soldiers are separate, both participated in the exchange. The Kaibil are the special forces of the army, so many Guatemalan soldiers work toward becoming a Kaibil.

"They were all very eager to learn and seemed excited to learn new moves," said Cpl. Chase H. Dale, GCE Scout Platoon. "It was fun watching them perform the techniques on each other. I learned very quickly that they have a high tolerance for pain and do not like to tap out."

The MCMAP techniques covered in the exchange consisted of basic moves and techniques from each belt level. The curriculum was chosen based on what the Guatemalan military may need to use in their combat, including grappling techniques, throws and body weight leverage control.

"This training will help me in the future, not only in the military but on civilian ground too," said Ramirez.

The hand-to-hand combat exchange is done in conjunction with the non-lethal weapons and tactics course conducted in the same area on base. The course covered several non-lethal formations for defeating riot situations, and unarmed hand-to-hand combat techniques, for preserving life and regaining order. The course is designed to teach soldiers what to do in situations such as civil disturbances or peacekeeping operations, and to provide augmentation to the police force, if needed.

"I learned a lot of techniques that will definitely be useful in the future," said Kaibil Infantry Lt. Jose Luis Lantan Tuch, 2nd Company, special forces. "I learned how to extract friendly personnel from a riot or mob, safely block a street, provide a quick deployment of forces and successfully gain the overall control of an area."

The Kaibil soldiers said they plan on taking everything they learn from the exchanges to continue their own training, pass on the knowledge to others, and update their manuals to continue to advance their training of infantry soldiers.

"Today is just the first day of exchanges, and we have already covered a lot of good information, and I think we made a good first impression," said Strelke. "I am looking forward to learning from them."

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Guatemalan Sailors, Marines Host Water Survival Skills Exchange

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian S. Finney, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command-U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala (NNS) -- USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) Sailors and Security Cooperation Task Force (SCTF) Marines wrapped up water survival and search and rescue (SAR) information exchanges with Guatemalan service members at Santo Tomas Naval Base, Feb. 18.

The SMEE exercises lasted four days and included U.S. Marines, Guatemalan marines and special forces soldiers, also known as Kaibil.

"We're all participating in the same events at the same time, which creates the atmosphere for us to bond with one another," said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Wesley A. Eastman, SCTF, Logistics Combat Element (LCE) company commander.

The two forces shared survival techniques such as treading water, breathing control and inflating uniform items as emergency floatation devices. All these techniques, if executed properly, can prevent loss of life.

"It's very rewarding to have the opportunity to conduct combat water survival exchanges with the Kaibil and Guatemalan marines," said Sgt. Maj. Brett C. Sheuer, SCTF sergeant major and Marine combat instructor trainer of water survival (MCITWS). "This is one of those special SMEEs that can actually save lives when dealing with our combat operations and amphibious roots in any aquatic environment."

The exchange was very interactive for both sides involved, and included a wide range of knowledge, from those with years of water survival expertise, to those with as little as 45 days of military experience.

"I thought it was really useful to learn these techniques," said Soldier 2nd Class Cesar Chun Pop, a Guatemalan marine SMEE participant. "I can use these skills not only in the military, but outside the military. If my boat flips over in the ocean I can use these techniques to help me."

The U.S. Navy, alongside host country sailors, each displayed search and rescue (SAR) techniques for more than 15 SAR qualified service members. According to Gunston Hall SAR swimmer, Quartermaster 2nd Class Stephen D. Macdonald, he saw the exercise as being quite beneficial.

"It helps strengthen our bond as far as working in cohesion," said Macdonald. "They can see how we do our business, and we can learn some things from them as well."

The swimmers demonstrated various strokes and basic techniques that are used when rescuing someone in the water. By the end of the SMEE, both sides had clearly progressed and enhanced the foundation for future training within their own services.

"It went really well," said Macdonald. "It was great having one-on-one interaction and helping to enhance what they already knew, and us learning things that we see them do."

Rescue swimmers must have the skills to provide basic pre-hospital life support for rescued individuals. The SMEE concluded with a lesson on CPR, and a relay race that incorporated all the techniques that were taught.

"We all learned a great deal from one another and not only the knowledge that we shared, but the lifelong friendships that were made," added Scheuer. "We definitely strengthened our ties with the Kaibil and Guatemalan Marines for many years to come.

Gunston Hall is currently deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility supporting Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011 (A-SPS11), and Guatemala is one of four scheduled stops for Gunston Hall during A-SPS11, including visits to Belize, Colombia and Jamaica.

A-SPS 11 will focus on sharing mission-focused knowledge and expertise so each participating country will be able to improve capabilities in what it considers key mission areas, and result in enhanced regional maritime capabilities and security.

Subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) within the mission are meant to strengthen our existing regional partnerships through the exchange of maritime mission-focused knowledge and improve capabilities in what A-SPS considers key maritime security mission areas.

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Green Bay Packers show appreciation to Wisconsin National Guard

Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

Many members of the Wisconsin National Guard are fervent fans of the Green Bay Packers. As it turns out, the Packers are pretty big fans of the Wisconsin National Guard as well.

That explains the unique gesture of appreciation Thursday (Feb. 24) at the 115th Fighter Wing and Joint Force Headquarters, both in Madison - a visit from the Super Bowl XLV Lombardi Trophy.

Tom Bakken, an assistant equipment manager with the Green Bay Packers, brought the trophy to Madison. He explained that he had gotten to know the Guard as a result of coordination for military flyovers at Lambeau Field, and wanted to give Guard members the opportunity to see the trophy up close and personal.

"We play a game for a living, for goodness sake," Bakken said. "We appreciate all that the Guard does, and this is the least we can do."

Some Guard members and Department of Military Affairs employees had an opportunity to have their picture taken with the trophy.

"You don't get an opportunity like this too often," said Sgt. 1st Class Christina Pagenkopf, who normally works at the U.S. Property and Finance Office at Camp Williams, and was at Joint Force Headquarters for a meeting Thursday. "It's a once in a lifetime experience."

"It's pretty awesome," agreed Tech. Sgt. Jamie Mills, an administrative assistant for Brig. Gen. John McCoy, commander of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

"It's a great thing to share with these folks," Bakken said.

This is not the first such gesture by the Packers toward the Wisconsin National Guard. In recent years Wisconsin Guard members have been honored on-field at Packers games, and the official Green Bay Packers game day program featured Wisconsin National Guard members and units during the 2010 season.

WWE helps Wisconsin National Guard muscle into fan base

By 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard

Inside the darkened arenas at Milwaukee's Bradley Center and Green Bay's Resch Center, ring warriors better known as WWE Superstars battled each other in displays of strength, agility and bravado.

Before the lights dimmed, enthusiastic WWE fans purchased souvenirs and moved to their seats to watch the performances that would be seen that week on Monday Night RAW, WWE Superstars and Friday Night Smackdown. Many of those fans met with Wisconsin Army National Guard recruiters, positioned in concourses with information and promotional merchandise.

"It was like a bull rush at first," said Spc. Zollie Johnikin, a recruiter for the 132nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, noting that free merchandise with the National Guard and WWE logos was quickly snatched up at the Bradley Center. Additional promotional items with just the National Guard logo also proved popular among WWE fans.

"We're getting our name out there," Johnikin said of his mission that night. "It's definitely a good experience to get out here and meet the people. If we get a couple of leads, that's great, too."

According to Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Martinson, a Wisconsin Army National Guard recruiter based in Green Bay, the National Guard Bureau coveted the WWE's demographics - many fans are in the 18-35 age category - and sought the partnership that began in 2009. The partnership was recently extended for three months.

"[We] are just trying to get the word out about what we are all about," Martinson said. "We can get in front of a few more faces that can spread the word about the National Guard. If we get some enlistments, it will be well worth our time." He added that the recruiting effort at the WWE Smackdown event went well.

Joe DelGrosso, senior vice president of partnership marketing with WWE, said the arrangement is a win-win situation.

"The WWE is proud of our nation's military and the dedicated men and women who serve in uniform, and we believe our fans share this pride," he said. "Partnering with the Army National Guard is another way we can continue supporting the military and also help the Guard get its message out to thousands of people."

In addition to providing promotional opportunities for the National Guard during its live events, WWE promotes fitness as well as Guard youth programs such as Challenge Academy.

Eve Torres, the current WWE Divas Champion, has performed in WWE's annual special "Tribute to the Troops" dedicated to service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling the opportunity to do so "an incredible experience."

"[The troops] are so excited to see us, and we're excited to be there," she said during a brief visit with Wisconsin National Guard members and guests prior to the start of the show in Milwaukee.

"We've built a good relationship with the National Guard," Torres said. "The National Guard is a little closer to our hearts."