Military News

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One Current and Three Former U.S. Army Soldiers Sentenced for Fuel Theft Scheme



One current and three former U.S. Army soldiers were sentenced today in federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, for their involvement in a bribery scheme in Afghanistan that resulted in the theft of fuel valued at more than $10 million.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina, Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Southeast Field Office, Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Division, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (Army CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko made the announcement.

Each defendant previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery.  U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina imposed the following sentences:

    Jeffery B. Edmondson, 38, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was the senior enlisted member of the unit who supervised all of his co-conspirators, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

    Christopher Ciampa, 33, of Lillington, North Carolina, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    Enmanual Lugo, 32, of Ocean Township, New Jersey, was sentenced to four years in prison.

    Geoffrey Montague, 39, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was a senior enlisted member of the unit who reported to Edmondson, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In 2011, Edmondson, Ciampa, Lugo and Montague were U.S. Army soldiers serving with the 3rd Special Forces Group Service Detachment deployed to Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.  During the deployment, the defendants were responsible for managing Transportation Movement Requests (TMRs) for fuel and other items in support of military units in Afghanistan paid for by the U.S. government.

In connection with their guilty pleas, the defendants admitted to submitting fake TMRs for thousands of gallons of fuel that were neither necessary nor used by military units.  The defendants admitted that, in return for cash bribe payments, they awarded all of the TMRs to the same Afghan trucking company, which used the fake TMRs to download fuel from depots on Kandahar Air Field and then sold the fuel on the black market.

The defendants admitted that they sent some of the illicit proceeds to the Unites States via wire transfer or hidden in personal items, and transported cash back to the United States either on their persons or in their luggage.  In addition, Edmondson and Ciampa admitted to using the funds to purchase automobiles.

According to the plea agreements, the scheme caused losses to the United States of over $10 million.

The case was investigated by the DCIS, FBI, Army CID and SIGAR.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Wade Weems of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from SIGAR, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

NAVSUP FLC Bahrain Implements Off-Ship Bill Pay in NAVCENT AOR



By Lt. Matthew Lorge and Carole Stringfield, NAVSUP FLC Bahrain Navy Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Bahrain

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Contracts have been set, tests completed and, as of Oct. 1, Off-Ship Bill Pay (OSBP) has commenced at Navy Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Bahrain.

Starting at the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year, NAVSUP FLC Bahrain and its fleet customer, U.S. Naval Central Forces Command (NAVCENT) implemented new OSBP procedures to enable a more efficient means of ordering and paying for husbanding services for ships operating in the NAVCENT area of responsibility (AOR).

When ships pull into port, they require several different husbanding services from sewage removal to acquiring fresh water. By transferring the responsibility of reviewing, validating and submitting for electronic payment to the shore command, the process provides a means for Navy leadership oversight for the husbanding process and also allows ship personnel more freedom to focus their efforts on other tasks.

"The new process will make things easier for the ships both before and after the port visit," said Rear. Adm. James McNeal, commander, NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS). "Ships' crews will no longer order directly from husbanding service providers or pay for services prior to departure from port. These responsibilities will shift ashore and allow the crew to focus on conducting operations."

NAVSUP FLC Bahrain contracting office originally authored the new procedures in May 2015 and has been reviewing the process, training contracting officer representatives (CORs), and testing out the procedures to ensure a smooth transition over the past several months.

According to Cmdr. Romeo Bautista, husbanding service provider (HSP) COR team lead at NAVCENT, his team is working in tandem with the NAVSUP FLC Bahrain contracting office and Logistics Support Center to provide the "single belly button" to the fleet for port visit contractor management and to ensure the successful implementation of OSBP.

Prior to the new OSBP initiatives, ships had to submit a DD Form 1155 or 'Order for Supply or Services' to the husbanding service provider to order required services. Then, after the port visit, they would have to finalize this document and make payment to the vendor using a U.S. Treasury check. Under the new process, these steps are no longer the responsibility of the Supply department on the ship.

Now, through OSBP, the ship and vendor are able to submit final invoices into an electronic program referred to as "iRAPT" short for 'Inventory, Receipt, Acceptance and Property Transfer.' In this system, invoices are reviewed and validated by CORs and submitted for electronic payment.

"Off Ship Bill Pay is a tremendous leap forward in how the Navy executes port visits. Ships' force personnel can focus on receipt inspection and documentation--arguably one of the most critical aspects of the entire process," said Sean M. Egge, commanding officer, NAVSUP FLC Bahrain. "And the contracting officer representatives' three-way match ensures rock solid accountability by validating order, receipt and bill against each other."

"The ships operating in the NAVCENT AOR face numerous challenges due to the high operational tempo," Bautista said. "Off-Ship Bill Pay will alleviate some of the burden from ships' crew. The HSP COR and NAVSUP FLC Bahrain will ensure that the ships can take advantage of the new process through aggressive pier side support and targeted training."

OSBP also streamlines cooperative efforts between NAVCENT and NAVSUP FLC Bahrain in providing the support in husbanding services to the ships. The COR from NAVCENT work with the contracting office at NAVSUP FLC Bahrain to ensure the prompt, efficient review and execution of the contracts and services.

"This is a complex program to implement and the collaboration between NAVSUP FLC Bahrain and NAVCENT/5th Fleet has been superb," said Egge.

NAVSUP FLC Bahrain has more than 160 military and civilian personnel providing logistics support in the NAVCENT AOR. The command is one of eight fleet logistics centers worldwide in the NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS) enterprise. NAVSUP GLS provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of more than 6,500 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.

Naval Hospital Jacksonville Personnel Return From Humanitarian Mission



By Yan Kennon, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Twenty-nine Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville staff members, including doctors, nurses, hospital corpsmen and administrators, returned Sept. 25 from a six-month deployment aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) in support of Continuing Promise 2015 (CP15).

NH Jacksonville personnel provided multiple services ashore and aboard the ship, including surgical procedures, intensive care, cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacy, radiology, laboratory, biomedical engineering, material management, food services and medical logistics. Most of the staff operated from the ship's Military Treatment Facility--a shipboard hospital configured with specialized medical equipment and staffed by a multi-specialty medical team of uniformed and civilian health care providers.

CP-15 was comprised of a crew of 1,000 military and civilian personnel, including U.S. service members, partner nations and more than 400 non-governmental organization (NGO) volunteers. About 100 personnel were from the Jacksonville area.

During CP-15's six-month mission, the USNS Comfort visited Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama. Her personnel treated more than 122,000 patients, conducted more than 1,200 surgeries and over 1,200 subject matter expert exchanges--covering medical, veterinary, engineering and environmental health topics--completed more than 90 engineering and building site projects, cared for and treated over 7,000 animals and conducted 44 community relations projects.

NH Jacksonville's priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation's heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. There are more than 71,000 active and retired Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Guardsmen and their families enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities