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Following are links to various U.S. government press releases.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

DOD Contracts for August 31, 2012

Contracts for August 31, 2012

Executive Order -- Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families | The White House

Executive Order -- Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families | The White House

Disabilities | USA.gov

Disabilities | USA.gov

USDA URGES LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS TO HAVE GOOD RECORDS FOR DISASTERS

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Livestock Producers Affected by Disasters Urged to Keep Good Records
Potential Assistance Depending on Accurate, Timely Data for Expedited Help


WASHINGTON, August 29, 2012 — USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today urged livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac to keep thorough records of their livestock and feed losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchases because of lost supplies.

"There are extraordinary circumstances caused by a variety of disasters from fires in the west, floods in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf region, storms in the Mid-Atlantic and drought and heat affecting the heartland," Garcia said. "Each of these events is causing economic consequences for ranchers and producers including cattle, sheep and dairy operations, bee keepers and farm-raised fish, and poultry producers."

FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses; Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts; Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures; and Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed.

Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that the department's authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.

Tsunami Watch

Tsunami Watch

INACCESSABLE "E-READER" CASE SETTLED

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Justice Department Settles with Sacramento, Calif., Public Library Authority Over Inaccessible "E-Reader" Devices

The Justice Department announced today that it and the National Federation of the Blind have reached a settlement with the Sacramento Public Library Authority in Sacramento, Calif., to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement resolves allegations that the library violated the ADA by using inaccessible Barnes & Noble NOOK electronic reader devices in a patron lending program.

Under the settlement agreement, the library will not acquire any additional e-readers for patron use that exclude persons who are blind or others with disabilities who need accessible features such as text-to-speech functions or the ability to access menus through audio or tactile options. The library has also agreed to acquire at least 18 e-readers that are accessible to persons with disabilities. The settlement agreement also requires the library to train its staff on the requirements of the ADA.

"Emerging technologies like e-readers are changing the way we interact with the world around us and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the programs where these devices are used," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez.

"We are pleased that the Sacramento Public Library Authority worked so cooperatively to adopt measures that will allow patrons with disabilities to avail themselves equally of the library’s programs and services," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

WOMEN AND NEW FIELDS IN THE MARINE CORPS

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Marines Consider Increased Role for Women in Corps
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2012 - The Marine Corps has opened a number of fields to women, the service's commandant said here today, and the experiences of the first women to go through the Infantry Officer Course next month will help him as he makes recommendations for an increased role for female Marines.

Gen. James F. Amos spoke at the National Press Club, and reporters asked about the future for women in combat.

The commandant said many women have been in combat in the wars fought over the last decade. "Women in combat have not been an issue," he said.

Artillery, tanks, amphibious warfare vehicles, light air defense and some combat engineer specialties now are open to women in the Marine Corps' officers and staff noncommissioned officer ranks, Amos said. "So that's in the process right now," he said, adding that he believes women will be successful in those fields.

"Early indications are that that was precisely the right thing to do," he said.

The question of women serving in infantry positions needs more data to answer, and the Corps is in the process of getting that information, the general said. Marines are receiving a survey on the subject now.

"That has yet to come in, and when it does, it will answer a lot of questions we have about women, specifically in infantry," Amos said.

The general told reporters he wants to "get past hyperbole and past the intuition and instincts."

"I need to get facts," he said.

Next month, two women will attend the Marine Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Va. They will spend 13 weeks going through very difficult training, and must meet the same standard that men do. "That's the standard," the commandant said. "That's what it takes to be an infantry officer in the Marine Corps."

The two women will provide him with the data he needs to make recommendations to Congress, to the defense secretary and to the secretary of the Navy, Amos said.

"We will collect the data, and then we will see where we are," he added. "I'm not the least bit afraid of the data."

The Corps is running a series of studies on aspects of physical strength needed in the Marines for both men and women, the general noted.

"We are going to do this the right way to set the conditions for success," he said.

DOD Contracts for August 30, 2012

Contracts for August 30, 2012

Changes Abound as Schools Open Throughout DOD

Changes Abound as Schools Open Throughout DOD

NORTHCOM COORDINATING DOD SUPPORT IN RESPONSE TO ISAAC

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Northern Command Assists With Hurricane Isaac Efforts
From a U.S. Northern Command News Release

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Aug. 29, 2012 - U.S. Northern Command is coordinating Defense Department support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local response activities in response to Hurricane Isaac.

Northcom has deployed four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, Ky., and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Norfolk Naval Air Station, Va., to assist in search and rescue efforts. A search and rescue planner has also been activated and deployed to the Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center in Louisiana. Four emergency liaison officers deployed to the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., in support of FEMA, and Fort Polk, La., has been designated as a federal team staging area.

The command has activated its Region 6 defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element to Baton Rouge to validate, plan and coordinate potential DOD support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD's support of potential life-saving and response operations.

Northcom also has deployed portions of its Region 1 defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element to Clanton, Ala., and Region t DCO and DCE to Pearl, Miss., to backfill the Region 4 defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element members who are deployed to Florida's emergency operations center in Tallahassee. Additionally, the command has designated Meridian Air Station, Miss., as an incident support base and Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., was designated as a federal support area.

"U.S. Northern Command is immensely proud of our partners who are working closely with state and local authorities on responding to Hurricane Isaac," said Army Lt. Col. Philip J. Smith, Northcom public affairs officer. "The active-duty military stands ready to support and we continue to lean forward and prepare to respond, if required, to this big, unpredictable storm."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO INDEPENDENCE DAY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day
Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 27, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Trinidad and Tobago as you celebrate 50 years of independence this August 31. Our two nations share a long history of friendship and cooperation going back more than 200 years. From the arrival of African-Americans to Trinidad after the War of 1812, to the drilling of Trinidad’s first oil well by an American engineer in 1866, to our military cooperation during World War II, this relationship has contributed to the development of both of our countries and the peace and prosperity of our world. We share a long tradition of democracy, respect for human rights, and diversity.

Today, the bond between our countries is enriched by the thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians in the United States, including scientists, athletes, artists and educators. As you celebrate this special day from Port-of-Spain to San Fernando, know that the United States sends our best wishes for continued peace, prosperity and happiness.

Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day
Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

August 27, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Trinidad and Tobago as you celebrate 50 years of independence this August 31. Our two nations share a long history of friendship and cooperation going back more than 200 years. From the arrival of African-Americans to Trinidad after the War of 1812, to the drilling of Trinidad’s first oil well by an American engineer in 1866, to our military cooperation during World War II, this relationship has contributed to the development of both of our countries and the peace and prosperity of our world. We share a long tradition of democracy, respect for human rights, and diversity.

Today, the bond between our countries is enriched by the thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians in the United States, including scientists, athletes, artists and educators. As you celebrate this special day from Port-of-Spain to San Fernando, know that the United States sends our best wishes for continued peace, prosperity and happiness.

Pequena câmara a bordo do Proba-2 capta tempestade tropical Isaac

Pequena câmara a bordo do Proba-2 capta tempestade tropical Isaac

JAXA SCIENTISTS ESTIMATE SEA ICE GETTING THINNER IN ARTIC OCEAN DUE TO TEMPERATURE INCREASE

FROM: THE JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY

August 25, 2012 (JST)

Arctic Sea Ice Observation Data Analysis Results
- Ice extent became smallest in observation history -

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been observing the Earth by the Global Change Observation Mission 1st - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1) since July 3, 2012 (Japan Standard Time.) As a result of our analysis on sea ice data measured by the onboard microwave scanning radiometer, we found that the sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean has become the smallest in observation history. The extent on August 24 (JST) was 4.21 million square kilometers, and that fell below the smallest record of 4.25 million square kilometers marked in 2007 in satellite observation history.


According to our observations, the sea ice extent shrunk to the second smallest in September 2011, and, after that, satellite observation images confirmed that some parts of multi-year ice (which had survived one or several summer and become thick) had flowed into the Atlantic Ocean during winter to spring. In the spring of 2012, we confirmed through satellite image analysis that about a half of the Arctic Ocean was broadly covered by a thin layer of one-year-old ice (which was formed in or after the last summer) thus we estimate that sea ice is getting thinner due to recent temperature increase in the Arctic Ocean.


Arctic sea ice usually becomes smallest in mid to late September; therefore, melting will continue till then. JAXA keeps monitoring the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean by the SHIZUKU to report the latest status via press releases and on our website.

THREE DISCIPLINED AFTER TALIBAN DESCERATION INVESTIGANTION

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Marines Disciplined for Taliban Desecration
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2012 - Three Marines received nonjudicial punishment today for their roles in the desecration of enemy corpses in Afghanistan, the Marine Corps Combat Development Command announced.

A video posted online in January showed Marines urinating on deceased Taliban on or about July 27, 2011, during a counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province. The video went viral.

The three Marines pleaded guilty in nonjudicial punishment for their parts in the incident as part of an agreement, officials said. Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, determined the punishments.

Because nonjudicial punishment is an administrative matter, the Marines' names are not being released, officials said. All three noncommissioned officers were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines or attached units.

One NCO pleaded guilty to violating a lawful general order "by wrongfully posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties," according to a Marine Corps Combat Development Command statement. The Marine also pleaded guilty to urinating on a deceased Taliban soldier.

Another NCO also pleaded guilty to wrongfully posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties, and "wrongfully video recording" the incident in an action that "was prejudicial to good order and discipline."

A staff NCO pleaded guilty to violating a lawful general order by failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties by other Marines, and making a false statement to investigators.

Officials said more disciplinary actions against other Marines will be announced later.

Nonjudicial punishment may include reduction in rank, restriction to a military base, extra duties, forfeiture of pay, a reprimand, or a combination of these measures. It becomes a permanent part of the Marine's record with the potential to affect re-enlistment eligibility and promotion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VA News Releases Update

VA News Releases Update

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFYzDlKeLL_IMEm7XBQrYQa1f17Zg

U.S. SPACE COMMAND HISTORY: SPACE BASED SPACE SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE LAUNCHED

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
AFSPC Milestone: First Space Based Space Surveillance satellite launched
8/25/2012 - Peterson AFB, Colo. -- As Air Force Space Command approaches its 30th Anniversary on 1 Sep, here is a significant milestone from the command's history...

On 26 September 2010, the first Space Based Space Surveillance satellite was launched into a sun-synchronous orbit from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., onboard a Minotaur IV rocket. It was the first space-based Space Situational Awareness sensor to be added to AFSPC's Space Surveillance Network.

The SBSS is part of the United States Strategic Command's Space Surveillance Network and is operated by the 1st Satellite Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo. The SBSS satellite is the only space-based sensor in the network, operating 24-hours a day, 7-days a week collecting metric and Space Object Identification data for man-made resident space objects without the disruption of weather, time of day and atmosphere that can limit ground-based systems.

SBSS provides observations and data to the Joint Space Operations Center and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS BRIEFING

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFYzDlKeLL_IMEm7XBQrYQa1f17Zg

Putting People First: StopMedicareFraud.gov

Putting People First: StopMedicareFraud.gov

Monday, August 27, 2012

Contracts for August 27, 2012

Contracts for August 27, 2012

7 Prevention Resources for You and Your Family

7 Prevention Resources for You and Your Family

TSA SAYS IMAGING TECHNOLOGY SAFE

FROM: U.S. TRANSPORTAION SECURITY ADMINISTRATIONAny potential threat items that are detected are indicated on a generic outline of a person.
TSA began deploying state-of-the-art advanced imaging technology in 2007. This technology can detect a wide range of threats to transportation security in a matter of seconds to protect passengers and crews. Imaging technology is an integral part of TSA's effort to continually look for new technologies that help ensure travel remains safe and secure by staying ahead of evolving threats.

TSA uses two types of imaging technology, millimeter wave and backscatter. Currently, there are approximately 700 imaging technology units at more than 180 airports.

Advanced imaging technology screening is safe for all passengers and the technology meets national health and safety standards.
TSA implemented strict measures to protect passenger privacy which is ensured through the anonymity of the image. Additionally, advanced imaging technology screening is optional for all passengers.

SHIFT IN U.S. DEFENSE STRATEGY

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Commandant: Shift Toward Asia Pacific Won't Overlook Other Regions

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2012 - Enemies of the United States would be making a mistake if they conclude the U.S. shift in defense strategy toward the Asia Pacific means less focus on other important regions, the commandant of the Marine Corps said today.

Gen. James F. Amos told reporters the strategy shift should not be taken to mean the U.S. military at large won't remain engaged with the rest of the world. "We have the capability to do our nation's bidding (elsewhere) while we're doing (the Pacific strategy)," he said. "This doesn't have to be a singular focus for the Marine Corps."

Marines have a long and distinguished history in Asia and he honored part of that legacy by participating in the 70th anniversary of the Marine landing at Guadalcanal on August 7.
For today's young Marines, Gen. Amos said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the proving ground the same way Khe Sanh or Da Nang in Vietnam were for their fathers. "For all the young kids who joined the Marine Corps in the past 10 years, I go out and visit them in Afghanistan and ask how many of you have been in the western Pacific?" he said. "The only ones who raise their hands are the old master gunnery sergeants, the sergeant major and the battalion commander. All the others have never been there before."

FEEDING 300 AT A COMBAT OUTPOST IN AFGHANISTAN

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Marine Keeps 300 Comrades Fed

By By Marine Corps Cpl. Ed Galo
Regimental Combat Team 6
COMBAT OUTPOST CASTLE, Afghanistan, Aug. 23, 2012 - Whether preparing the ingredients to be used for a meal, preheating ovens or making sure the food doesn't overcook, feeding 300 people can be a difficult task.

Marine Corps Cpl. Nicholas Fredrick, a food service specialist with Charlie Company, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 6, usually starts his day around 4 a.m. to begin cooking breakfast here. He begins to serve at 7 a.m.

Fredrick, of New Castle, Del., said being the only cook at his combat outpost can be difficult.

"The hardest part is just putting all the food out there and keeping up with all the Marines." he said.

Fredrick, 26, says his favorite meal to cook is steak and lobster, which he tries to make every Saturday. "We have a grill in the back, and I'll just get out there and start grilling for the guys," he said.

He also is licensed to operate 7-ton trucks, the vehicles Marines use to move supplies throughout Afghanistan's Helmand province. Once a week, he drives as part of a convoy to pick up the supplies he needs to continue to feed his Marines.

Since Fredrick is the only cook in his company, he gets to decide what is on the menu every day. He said he likes to add something extra instead of just cooking them right out of the packages they come in.

"The guys always tell me they like the meatloaf," he said. "I like to add a little extra cheese to the top of it and bake it in the oven. They always love the steaks, too. I season those myself. I try to make things a little better for everyone out here."

Even though cooking for so many Marines can be a demanding task, he said, seeing happy Marines makes it worth it.


"I like boosting everyone's morale," he said. "That's [my] main purpose out here -- keeping the Marines nice and full and happy. If they're happy, then I'm happy, too."

Fredrick said he takes pride knowing that he is never late to open the doors to the mess tent. He always tries to open up 15 to 20 minutes early, he added, and sometimes closes late to ensure everyone is fed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fixed Regional Tsunami Warning Supplement

Fixed Regional Tsunami Warning Supplement

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

Panetta Praises Neil Armstrong's Legacy

Panetta Praises Neil Armstrong's Legacy

WHITE HOUSE SAYS HIRING GOALS FOR VETS, SPOUSES EXCEEDED

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Joining Forces Exceeds Hiring Goals for Vets, Spouses

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2012 - The White House initiative to hire veterans and military spouses has surpassed its goals, having led to the hiring or training of more than 125,000 veterans and spouses in the past year, First Lady Michelle Obama announced today.

Speaking to sailors and their families at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., the first lady said 2,000 companies have hired 125,000 employees through their pledges to the "Joining Forces" campaign, and, of those, 140 employers have hired 28,000 military spouses.

"That's 125,000 people who are providing for their families, contributing to our economy and serving the country they love," Obama said.

The first lady said she has a clear message to troops, spouses and veterans: "When you finish your service to your nation, you've got 2,000 great companies waiting to bring you on board. These companies are not just making these commitments because it's the right thing to do, which it is, but because it's the right thing for their bottom line."

Obama said she's heard "a thousand times over" from heads of companies who say veterans and military spouses are their best employees.

Unemployment still is too high for veterans and military spouses, but Joining Forces has helped to push the national veteran unemployment rate down nearly 20 percent from a year ago, Obama said. The veteran unemployment rate in July was 6.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent in July 2011, Joining Forces officials said during a call with reporters yesterday.

Though the initiative has exceeded its goals, Obama said, the participating companies have pledged to hire another 250,000 veterans and spouses, with at least 50,000 of that total being spouses. "It would be understandable if these companies just stopped now and patted themselves on the back and called it a day," the first lady said. "But these companies are doing just the opposite."

The first lady and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, started Joining Forces in April 2011 to rally Americans to actively support service members and their families in areas of employment, education and wellness. A year ago, President Barack Obama asked Joining Forces to challenge the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.

"I thought this challenge was pretty ambitious," the first lady, said, noting that the effort was launched with just two partner companies. "Before long, companies all over this country had started stepping up." By April, they had hired 60,000 veterans and spouses, and by May, the number was 80,000. The federal government has made the same commitment, and veterans and spouses made up 28 percent of all federal hiring last year, a White House official told reporters.

Also at the event, Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel, said he supports Joining Forces because it has had "a huge impact" on sailors, their spouses and veterans. "They've shined a spotlight on the unique needs and strengths of military families and veterans," he said.

The Joining Forces initiative to make professional licenses portable from state to state for military spouses is "near and dear to my heart," Van Buskirk said. His wife is a speech pathologist who has had to recertify multiple times, he explained.

"With constant transfers, our spouses face challenges that can be daunting," he added.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

SHOPLIFTING REPORTED LOWER BY ARMY & AIR FORCE EXCHANGE SERVICE

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs
 
DALLAS – According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, losses due to thefts from retail stores alone amount to more than 35 million a day. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which has contributed more than $2.4 billion to morale, welfare and recreation programs in the past 10 years, continues to focus its efforts on reducing theft to maximize the investment authorized shoppers make in their Exchange benefit.

Through an aggressive "Shoplifting Awareness Community Outreach" program targeted at youth, closed circuit televisions with DVR technology and high-tech Electronic Article Surveillance, the Exchange took "a bite out of crime" at its facilities last year as shoplifting cases dropped 12.7 percent, from 5,432 in 2010 to 4,742.

The value of merchandise involved in these incidents also dropped, from $533,760 to $529,440 in 2011.

"Because of the toll shoplifting takes on retail, shoppers typically pay 1.5 cents more per dollar as a result," said the Exchange’s Vice President of Loss Prevention Rick Koloski. "Our proactive, and visible, efforts to prevent shoplifting have resulted in three consecutive years of decreases and, as a result, a stronger benefit for those we serve."

If shoplifting is suspected, the Exchange Loss Prevention office turns the issue over to local law enforcement. In addition to possible disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution, the Federal Claims Collection Act allows the Exchange to enact a flat, administrative cost (Civil Recovery) of $200. There may be further fees, in addition to the Civil Recovery Program, depending on the condition of the stolen merchandise.

-- 30 --

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a joint non-appropriated fund instrumentality of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors which is responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the Service Chiefs of Staff. The Exchange has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with quality merchandise and services at competitively low prices and generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military morale, welfare and recreation programs.

STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS STATEMENTS

STATE DEPARTMENT NEWS

On the Occasion of Ukraine's National Day
UKRAINE NATIONAL DAY, MOLDOVA NATIONAL DAY

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

August 23, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Ukraine as you celebrate the 21st anniversary of your independence this August 24.

Since securing sovereignty, a generation of Ukrainians has grown up enjoying new freedoms and opportunities. As you continue to strengthen these shared values, know that the United States stands with you. We are committed to helping the Ukrainian people build a democracy that is secure and stable, and working with Ukraine internationally to advance peace and security. We look forward to continuing to build on the strong ties between our governments and the bond between our peoples in the years to come.

 
On the Occasion of Moldova's National Day
Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

August 23, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Moldova as you celebrate the 21st anniversary of your independence this August 27.

The United States is a strong supporter of Moldova’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We commend recent efforts by your country’s leaders toward settlement of the Transnistria conflict. We will continue to support you as you pursue economic and political reforms with the goal of becoming a democratic and prosperous member of the European community.

Congratulations again on twenty-one years of independence and best wishes for a joyous celebration.

How You Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity

How You Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity

SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE MICHAEL DONLEY AND THE EAST AFRICAN MISSION

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
SecAF discusses East Africa mission during Djibouti visit


by Staff Sgt. R.J. Biermann
CJTF-Horn of Africa Public Affairs
 
8/22/2012 - CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley made his first trip here as secretary Aug. 22 to visit service members and civilians, and discuss operations in East Africa with Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa leaders.

Donley conducted an all call during his visit here, in which he discussed the Air Force's role in Africa and around the world, and took questions from attendees.

"The United States' engagements in Africa are critical [in the fight] against al-Qaida," said Donley. "Our goal is to ensure al-Qaida never again has the opportunity or capacity to attack the U.S. We take an active approach [to meet that goal] here."

Donley also thanked the camp's Airmen for their service to the nation.

"A safe, secure and stable Africa is certainly in our national interest," Donley said. "[To build] partner nation capacity, it takes every Airman doing his or her job. So, I thank you and your family for making the mission happen."

In discussing the future of the Air Force, Donley said modernization is one of his top priorities for the service.

"Modernization is the most significant concern moving forward," Donley said. "We're shaping the Air Force today to ensure its strength for tomorrow. Modernization is the principal challenge as we look forward."

The secretary also discussed the Air Force's approach to smaller defense budgets, noting that the service has proposed reducing its force by about 9,900 Airmen and 280 aircraft over the next five years.

"We're in challenging times," Donley said. "As our Air Force gets smaller, all components will get smaller; but we will stay ready. We intend to be a superb force at any size."

Although the Air Force will see many changes in the near future, the professional development, readiness and care of Airmen will not be overlooked, according to Donley.

"With these priorities in mind, we can still take care of our Airmen," Donley said. "Our Air Force and country need you to be great. Part of this is making sure we have the resources available to train Airmen and ensure their readiness."

During a question-and-answer period after Donley's formal remarks, one senior noncommissioned officer echoed the secretary's concern for Airmen.

"How do we fight this battle of DUIs and suicides?" asked Master Sgt. Joe Cason, a first sergeant here.

"There is no easy answer," Donley responded, noting the seriousness with which Air Force leadership is taking suicide prevention. "As wingmen, watch out for who's on your wing and know you have tremendous resources to back you up."

Before departing, Donley shared a few words to emphasize the importance of every Airman's role in mission success.

"Leaders across the Department of Defense recognize your efforts [here]," Donley said. "Your Air Force is the envy of every military in the world. We're committed to ensuring our Air Force remains the greatest air, space and cyberspace power in the world."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Contracts for August 24, 2012

Contracts for August 24, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac: Monitor Its Path and Prepare Now. More Details Inside…

Tropical Storm Isaac: Monitor Its Path and Prepare Now. More Details Inside…

USDA Offers Food Safety Preparation Tips as Tropical Storm Isaac Nears Florida | Food Safety and Inspection Service

USDA Offers Food Safety Preparation Tips as Tropical Storm Isaac Nears Florida | Food Safety and Inspection Service

U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA'S REMARKS ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Panetta Visits USS Stennis, Thanks Sailors Deploying Early


Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta speaks with sailors in the mess decks of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in Bremerton, Wash., Aug. 22, 2012. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is scheduled to deplooy at end of the month to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

NAVAL BASE KITSAP, Wash., Aug. 22, 2012 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today told sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Stennis here that they and their ship, and others like it, are the "heart and soul" of the nation's defense strategy.

"All of you deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the great job the Stennis has done in the past and will do in the future," he said.

Last month, the secretary approved a request by Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, to deploy the Stennis and its strike group four months early, and to the Middle East. The Stennis carrier strike group, which returned from its last Middle East deployment in March, previously was set for deployment to the Pacific near the end of the year.

Speaking to some 2,300 sailors assigned to the carrier – about 85 percent of the ship's strength, according to Stennis officers - the secretary said he understands the strain a high operating tempo can cause for service members and families.

"It's tough," he said. "We're asking an awful lot of each of you. And frankly, you are the best I have -- and when the world calls, we have to respond."

The secretary said he also recognizes the strain back-to-back deployments put on military families. "Your families are as important to our ability to maintain a strong defense as anybody else. ... Their support and their love are what make sure that we are a strong fighting force," Panetta said.

As he normally does when he visits troops, Panetta outlined for the sailors the defense strategy announced early this year, describing his four priorities in setting that strategy: maintain the world's best military; cut defense spending judiciously, not across the board; examine all aspects of military spending to determine those cuts; and keep faith with service members now in uniform by preserving their pay and benefits.

The current defense strategy, he told sailors, will meet those priorities and shape a smaller, agile, technologically advanced force that can deploy to meet any threat, while maintaining a global presence and the potency to defeat more than one enemy at a time. He added the Stennis carrier strike group exemplifies just the high-tech, deployable capability the strategy calls for.

As defense secretary, Panetta noted, he can call on the world's most advanced military systems: aircraft carriers, fighters, bombers and weapons systems of every kind.

"But none of it, none of that, is worth a damn without men and women in uniform who serve this country," he added. "You are the heart and soul of our national defense. ... That's why I'm here, to thank you for what you do to help keep America the strongest military power in the world."

After speaking with the sailors, Panetta told reporters the Stennis strike group will guard against a range of threats in Centcom's area of responsibility, which includes the Persian Gulf.

"Obviously, Iran is one of those threats," he said, noting that Iran's nuclear ambitions are one concern, while its threat to oil tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz is another.

"Secondly, it is the turmoil in Syria," he said. "We're obviously following that closely as well. ... There are a number of issues in that region." The nation's focus on Syria is concentrated in three areas, he added:

-- Humanitarian assistance and working with Jordan and Turkey to manage refugee issues;

-- Monitoring Syrian chemical and biological weapon stockpiles; and

-- Offering nonlethal assistance to opposition forces.

The secretary said the current two-carrier U.S. presence in the Gulf region is not set to end at any particular time. "Clearly, two carriers ... [are] important to us in order to have the ability to confront any contingency," he added.

DOL AWARDS OVER $11 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR VETS JOBS TRAINING

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

US Department of Labor awards $11.53 million in grants to provide job training services to 5,500 veterans nationwide

 
WASHINGTON
— The U.S. Department of Labor today awarded grants totaling $11.53 million through the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program to provide an estimated 5,500 veterans with job training and skills development services.

"These grants will increase the skill sets of veterans and result in training and credentialing for jobs in high-demand industries," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Our veterans made sacrifices on behalf of our nation, and I ask all employers to renew their commitment to veterans, because the best way to honor our veterans is to hire them."

Eleven grants were awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations, in 10 states. These agencies are familiar with the areas and populations to be served, and have demonstrated that they can administer effective programs.

The funds will be used to provide training in fields including software and computer services, construction, auto mechanics, security, logistics, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, hospitality and the culinary arts, among others.

Today's grants are part of efforts by the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service to expand educational opportunities for veterans, support incentives for businesses to hire unemployed veterans, ensure priority "Gold Card" services for veterans through the American Job Center network and help veterans match skills related to their military occupations with those required by civilian jobs.

AFSPC Milestone: Chinese military destroys a satellite

AFSPC Milestone: Chinese military destroys a satellite

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts Chamberlain Farm Produce, Inc. Recalls Cantaloupes Because Of Possible Health Risk

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts Chamberlain Farm Produce, Inc. Recalls Cantaloupes Because Of Possible Health Risk

WOMEN AND EDUCATION IN IRAN

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Iranian Women Excluded From Major Areas of University Study

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 21, 2012
We have seen reports that 36 Iranian universities have banned women from 77 critical fields of study including engineering, education, and counseling. This decision represents a significant regression for women in Iran, who have outnumbered men in universities for over a decade, and will further restrict the ability of Iranian women to find employment.

A number of university deans have justified their actions by stating that certain courses have a "manly nature" and are not suitable for women, while Science Minister Kamran Daneshjoo has called the segregation effort a top priority to protect morality. These statements undermine the efforts of Iranian women to freely determine their futures and diminish the potential of the Iranian workforce.
We call upon Iranian authorities to protect women’s rights and to uphold Iran’s own laws and international obligations which guarantee non-discrimination in all areas of life, including access to education.

100 YEARS OF AIR CONFLICTS

FROM:  U.S. AIR FORCEThrough Airmen's Eyes: Maxwell officer builds historical database

by Staff Sgt. Sarah Loicano
Air University Public Affairs

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- What started as a solution to an information collection problem six years ago has grown into a substantial database that documents air power through almost 100 years of conflicts.


The database, known as Theater History of Operations Reports, is the brainchild of Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson, who says the database provides a bigger picture of aerial bombing campaigns, demonstrating how useful air power can be, especially when combined with ground forces.


Still being developed and updated, THOR combines data from paper mission reports from World War I and digital databases from recent conflicts to create a central pool of bomb history. The database can be searched for certain criteria and output data can be integrated into charts, spreadsheets, graphs or even onto a map.


In 2006, Robertson was working at the Pentagon for the Air Force Operations Group. He and his team were required to put out daily briefings for senior Air Force leaders, including a bi-weekly report with current bombing activity. With no one localized source for information, Robertson said it was taking his team 20-40 man-hours a week to pull all the data together from the sources in the area of operations.


"I said there had to be a collective database out there," Robertson said. "'This is the 21st century, we are the Air Force, there has got to be a system out there where we have all this data.'"


After lots of searching, Robertson came up empty, so he set about creating one with the help of Ryan Burr, a computer programmer who also worked at the Pentagon. Initially, they were just concerned with using current bomb data from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, but after some time they wanted to be able to answer questions such as how many bombs have been dropped since the start of the war, or by specific aircraft. So Robertson began digging for more information, learning that much of the data prior to 2005 had been deleted in the area of responsibility as server space became an issue. They contacted the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base and were able to find all the copies of the old mission reports, filling in the bomb data gaps for OIF and OEF back to 2001.


"We were able to have the entire war from the start to the current date and just update it every couple of days," said Robertson.


In the research process, Robertson learned of another database with bomb and flight information collected during the air war over Serbia in 1999. Robertson and Burr were able to get copies of that database and import it into THOR.


"And then we started hunting around to see how far back we could go, because we thought if we had the current war, the previous war, could we get the first Gulf War?" he said.


And that's when they were able to locate the Gulf War Air Power Survey data at the Historical Research Agency, detailing every sortie flown in the Gulf War. It was at this point in his research that Robertson started to notice a pattern in the data he was collecting, which he says only emphasizes the importance of the information.


"The thing that I thought fascinating is that the databases they were creating were almost identical each time; so the same data, in the same format, in the same content is needed for each war," he said.


In 2008, after leaving the Pentagon, Robertson went to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., as the 4th Space Launch Squadron operations officer. During his free time, he worked on decoding almost 4 million Vietnam War entries gathered from the National Archives in Washington. Then Robertson was assigned to the Air Force Research Institute here, where he was able to locate strategic bombing survey information from World War II and battlefield raid reports from World War I, again noticing similarities in the data collected.


Looking at the World War I carbon copies filled out on typewriters and the still classified digital reports from today's front lines, Robertson said the material is almost identical in terms of the format and content.


"If the information we are providing to our leadership has not changed in 100 years, there is probably something to be said that the information is important to the leadership to make decisions," he said. "Perhaps having the ability to reach back and look at what was decided in previous wars when faced with certain challenges, you can learn something from that and apply that before it happens now."


Robertson points to an example comparing a particular scenario in World War I and the Gulf War. In 1944, London and Antwerp were facing rocket attacks from Germany. Allied forces diverted 15 percent of all bombing missions to stop the attacks. Jump forward to 1991 when Scud missiles were being launched from the western desert of Iraq into Israel. Again, Robertson said it worked out to be about 15 percent of allied air power sent to hunt the Scuds. Both missions were unsuccessful at stopping the launch of attacks until the aircraft started targeting transportation systems -- the trains in Germany and the bridges and roadways in Iraq.


"It turns out that after (World War II), we find out that the liquid oxygen that the rockets needed to launch was being transferred by rail because it was the only way to move it fast enough before it boiled off," Robertson explained.


In Iraq, enemy forces were using roads to move around and hide after launching attacks, and if they couldn't escape, they weren't willing to launch because they knew they were drawing attention to their launch location, Robertson said.


"So your motivation is different in both cases, but the fact is that regardless of the technology of the time, (when) going after a mobile missile system, don't go after the missile, go after what makes it mobile," he said.


That is a lesson, Robertson said, the military can take forward into future conflicts, but added that the potential to learn from THOR's data is unlimited.


"I don't know what other kinds of lessons like that hide in this mountain of data," Robertson said. "Or how many questions people have that they don't even know how to ask and they don't even know if there is any value in asking because they can't get to the data. So that is part of what is driving me to dig up these older databases and put them all in one location. To be able to look at that comparison across history and see if you can find enduring truths that can help guide future leaders to make decisions."


Although THOR is not yet ready for public release, Robertson's primary goals during his time at the research institute are to finish collecting data from the Korean War and get the database up and running on the Internet.


"I don't know what the future holds, but I know I wanted to get this done so that the Air Force could make better decisions, make better informed strategies and educate the future generation of leaders to be able to know what air power can do, has done and the innovative ways we've solved problems in the past that could be useful in the future," he said.

Recipients of the 200th home built through the Innovative Readiness Training mission Operation Footprint

Recipients of the 200th home built through the Innovative Readiness Training mission Operation Footprint

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the Joining Forces program

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the Joining Forces program

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fourth Galileo satellite reaches French Guiana launch site

Fourth Galileo satellite reaches French Guiana launch site

BROTHERS SERVING IN MILITARY TOGETHER

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Face of Defense: Four Pairs of Brothers Serve Together

From a 10th Sustainment Brigade News Release
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2012 - Four pairs of brothers, all from Nevada, recently arrived at Kabul, Afghanistan, to begin their mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
 
All serving in the Army, they are Pfc. Matthew and Pfc. Christopher Babas, Sgt. Christopher and Spc. Dustin Greener, Cpl. Donald and Pvt. Jason Otto, and Spcs. Bobby and James Riley.
 
Matthew Babas, a gunner, is the youngest of the group. He said he joined the Army to see the world. Christopher Babas, also a gunner, was studying engineering before taking a break from college to deploy to Afghanistan. In the future, he said, he wants to attend flight school and possibly become a warrant officer in the National Guard.
 
The Babas brothers are very close, and are roommates back home in Las Vegas. They said that although their schedules here do not allow them to spend as much time together as they would like, this experience will still bring them closer together. Christopher said it is comforting that Matthew is here with him, but it's also scary, because he would hate to find out that something bad happened to his brother while he was on a mission.
 
Dustin Greener, a gunner, said he joined the Army to serve his country. Christopher is a team leader with first platoon, and the brothers are roommates back home in Spring Creek, Nev.
 
"I am astounded that my brother is here with me and has my back," Christopher said. Dustin said he sees less of his brother here than he did back home, and is sometimes jealous of his brother, who has been on more missions so far than he has.
 
The Otto brothers are natives of Sparks, Nev. Donald, a team leader, works full time for the Nevada National Guard, assisting in human resources. Donald said he wants to finish this mission, finish school and start a family.
 
His brother, Jason, or "Baby Otto" as he is often called, said he joined the Army to gain life experience, for the college money and to get a head start on life. Jason is both a gunner and a driver with his company.
 
The Otto brothers believe that being in Afghanistan will bring them closer together. "We will have shared something together that no one can take away from us," Donald explained.
 
They said their parents are worried that they are gone, but glad that at they are together to look after one another.
 
The Rileys live in Reno, Nev. Bobby said he joined the Army to serve his country and to be a better person. James, the oldest among the four sets of brothers is a metals and minerals lab technician in civilian life. Bobby joined the Army first and then convinced James to join. They see each other more now than they did back home, they said. Although they live only minutes apart in Reno, they explained, they both have families.
 
Bobby said he is more nervous now about his brother going on missions. The Rileys recently learned their cousin had been injured by a roadside bomb in northern Afghanistan. That incident has brought increased stress on them and their families, they said, but they put those thoughts behind them when it is time to concentrate on the mission at hand.
 
This is the first deployment for all of the brothers. They all agree that although the deployment is difficult on their parents and families, their families take comfort in the fact that they are deployed together.

BONE PUTTY FIRE HAZZARD AND FDA RECALL NOTICE

FROM:  FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

AUDIENCE: Surgery, Risk Manager


ISSUE: There is the potential for Hemostatic Bone Putty to ignite if contacted with electrosurgical cautery systems under certain conditions during surgery.

BACKGROUND: Hemostatic Bone Putty stops bone bleeding by establishing a physical barrier along the edges of bones that have been damaged by trauma or cut during a surgical procedure. The affected models and lot numbers can be found in the FDA Recall Notice.

RECOMMENDATION: On July 5, 2012, Synthes issued a Medical Device Recall letter requesting medical facilities to examine their inventory and immediately stop using the identified part and lot numbers of the Hemostatic Bone Putty.

If a facility had the affected product in stock, they were asked to call 1-800-479-6329 to obtain a Return Authorization Number, complete the verification form and return both the form and identified product to Synthes.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TURNING AROUND LOWEST-ACHIEVING SCHOOLS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
U.S. Department of Education Launches Enhanced Version of Online Learning Community for School Turnaround
 
The U.S. Department of Education today launched the School Turnaround Learning Community (STLC), an enhanced version of its online learning community for school turnaround. The site now features improved search and chat functions and a user-friendly reorganization of STLC resources and materials.
 
"Turning around the lowest performing schools is challenging work. Driving the dramatic changes needed in many of our hard-to-serve schools requires states, districts, and schools to collaborate and share promising practices in new ways," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The enhanced School Turnaround Learning Community can better support this important work by providing an easy-to-use, interactive and public platform for turnaround leaders and community members to connect with peers and learn about effective strategies."
 
The STLC was first launched in July 2011 as a key element in the Department’s efforts to provide support to state, district, and school leaders working to turn around the nation’s persistently lowest-achieving schools through the School Improvement Grant (SIG). The site offers resources, training, and discussion tools enabling users to share and comment on school turnaround practices and lessons learned. To date, the site has over 4,300 subscribed members, offered over 500 school turnaround resources, and has hosted nearly 60 webinars on various topics including teacher and leader effectiveness, family and community engagement, increased learning time, early learning, and supporting rural and secondary schools.
 
Other improvements made to the STLC include opening the site to the public by eliminating required registration, and enhanced discussion and chat areas including a new "Ask the Expert" feature.
 
The SIG program makes funds available to states by formula to help them target the persistently lowest-achieving schools. When a school system applies to a state for SIG funding, it must indicate that it will implement one of four intervention models in each of its persistently lowest-achieving schools, based on school needs. The Department has awarded close to $4.5 billion to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico since the SIG program was redesigned in 2009.
 
To view or explore the upgraded School Turnaround Learning Community, visit http://www.schoolturnaroundsupport.org/.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SEEKS TO COMBAT CHILD LABOR IN TANZANIA

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
US Department of Labor announces availability of $10 million competitive solicitation for cooperative agreements to combat child labor in Tanzania
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs has announced a competitive solicitation for one or more cooperative agreements worth up to $10 million to combat child labor in Tanzania's agricultural production and domestic service sectors.
 
Nearly 30 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 work in Tanzania, including in agriculture and domestic service. The project(s) funded under this solicitation will be coordinated with the work of local entities and build on existing efforts to reduce the worst forms of child labor in these sectors. Specifically, the project(s) will seek to increase children's access to quality education and vocational/skills training, and promote sustainable livelihoods for households vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.
 
Eligible applicants should prioritize regions with high numbers of vulnerable children and where existing efforts to reduce child labor are limited. Applicants must respond to the entire scope of work outlined in the solicitation and demonstrate a proven ability to manage complex projects designed to improve the lives of children.
 
All cooperative agreement awards will be made by Dec. 31. The solicitation for grant applications (SGA 12-15) is available online at http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/grants/main.htm and http://www.grants.gov.
 
Congress has appropriated funds for ILAB to support international technical cooperation projects to combat the worst forms of child labor as defined by International Labor Organization Convention 182. ILAB grants address child labor through the provision of educational services for children and livelihood support for their households. ILAB also supports the collection of reliable data on child labor and helps strengthen the capacity of governments to address child labor in a sustainable way.

"OLD IRONSIDES" CELEBRATES IT'S 200 YEAR OLD VICTORY



Photo Credit:  U.S. Navy.
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
USS Constitution Sails for First Time since 1997
 

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald, USS Constitution Public Affairs
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- USS Constitution departed her berth from Charlestown, Mass. Aug. 19, to set sail for the first time since 1997, during an underway demonstration commemorating Guerriere Day.


The underway honored the 200th anniversary of Constitution's decisive victory over the HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, marking the first time a United States frigate defeated a Royal Navy frigate at or nearly equal size. It's also the battle in which Constitution earned her famous nickname "Old Ironsides."


"I cannot think of a better way to honor those who fought in the war as well as celebrate Constitution's successes during the War of 1812 than for the ship to be under sail," said Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution's 72nd commanding officer. "The event also ties our past and present by having the ship not only crewed by the outstanding young men and women who make up her crew, but also the 150 chief petty officer [CPO] selectees who join us for their Heritage Week."


More than 150 CPO selectees and CPO mentor chiefs assisted Constitution's crew in setting sails. CPO selectees participated in Constitution's annual CPO Heritage Weeks, a weeklong training cycle divided by two weeks that teaches selectees time-honored maritime evolutions, such as gun drills, line handling and setting sails. The training is also designed to instill pride in naval heritage in the Navy's senior enlisted leadership.


"I'm a boatswain's mate," said Chief (Select) Boatswain's Mate (SW) Michael Zgoda, assigned to USS Ingraham (FFG 61). "This is the foundation of my rate. Being able to learn from a variety of genuine chiefs and their different perspectives on leadership is overwhelming and important to the chief petty officer transition. I'm extremely honored to be a part of the group that can say they sailed the USS Constitution."


The ship got underway at 9:57 a.m. with tugs attached to her sides and 285 people on board, including special guests, such as the 58th, 59th, 62nd and 65th former commanding officers of Constitution; Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group Two; Rear Adm. Ted Branch, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic; Vice Adm. William French, Commander, Navy Installations Command; retired Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner Jr., Medal of Honor recipient; and Dr. Phil Budden, Britain's Consul General to New England.


At 10:27 a.m., Budden and Bonner tossed a wreath into the ocean to honor and remember Constitution's battle with the HMS Guerriere.


When the ship arrived at President Roads, a body of water of Boston Harbor, the crew then set three sails from Constitution's main, mizzen and fore masts, and at 12:25 p.m., she detached from her tugs and sailed west under her own power for 17 minutes. She sailed at a maximum speed of 3.1 knots, at an average of two knots, and at a distance of 1,100 yards.


"As the ship's sail master, I felt a combination of pride and relief that the hundreds of man hours of training and planning over the past year all came together, and we were able to accomplish this goal," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Conrad Hunt. "I'm really proud that I can say I was a part of this historic occasion."


After tugs reattached to Constitution's sides, the ship headed to Fort Independence on Castle Island, where thousands of spectators waited to watch Constitution fire a 21-gun salute toward the fort at 1:14 p.m. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defense post for Boston Harbor at one time.


Finally, the ship returned to her pier at 2:05 p.m. and everyone departed once the brow was safely set and the ship was clean. Constitution re-opened to the public for tours of the ship's history at 4 p.m.


"For me, this underway is representative of an incredible amount of work and dedication by not only the crew, but Maintenance and Repair Facility, Naval History and Heritage Command, and all of the partners coming together to make this happen," said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class (AW/SW) Jason Keith, who is the longest serving crew member currently assigned to Constitution. Keith reported to the ship April 13, 2009 and will depart Aug. 31. "I've given tours to thousands of people, shined brass for hundreds of hours, and I've climbed the rigging to set and furl these sails over and over again. But sailing USS Constitution on Aug. 19, 2012 is one of the greatest honors I've had in my naval career, and I'm truly proud to be a part of this history."


The last time Constitution sailed under her own power was July 21, 1997 to honor the ship's 200th birthday. It was the first time the ship sailed in 116 years.


"When we sailed the ship, it became clear it was a different experience you can't have in port," said Lance Beebe, a crew member aboard Constitution's 1997 sail. "The ship comes alive, and you truly understand what she is all about. This new crew [2012 Sailors] just joined a group of crew members [1997 Sailors] that also got to experience Constitution under sail, and they became a significant part of her history as a result."


Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today's Navy. America's Navy: Keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.


Constitution's mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship's history.

Monday, August 20, 2012

HHS INFORMATION ON DIABETES

FROM: HHS HealthBeat (August 20, 2012)
Diabetes and death

 
More people have diabetes now than ever before. People with diabetes often have other health risk factors, like obesity and high blood pressure. But data from the National Health Interview Survey shows that death rates are declining in both men and women with diabetes.

Dr. Edward Gregg is with the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"From the time period of 1997 to 2006, death rates for any cause and for cardiovascular disease in particular declined in people with diabetes."

Those with diabetes can prevent their risk of cardiovascular disease by maintaining a healthy weight, healthy cholesterol levels, and by not smoking.

The study in the journal Diabetes Care was supported by CDC and the National Institutes of Health.

Expo “Down to Earth” (Retombées spatiales pour la Terre)

Expo “Down to Earth” (Retombées spatiales pour la Terre)

AFSPC Milestones: First Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system site was operational

AFSPC Milestones: First Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system site was operational

Sunday, August 19, 2012

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update- STRONGER COMPOUNDS

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

SEC. OF STATE CLINTON SPEAKS TO EID AL-FITR

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
On the Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 19, 2012
As we mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims around the world, I am delighted to wish all Muslims a peaceful and joyous Eid al-Fitr.
 
To honor this special time, Muslims in the United States and throughout the world will gather for Eid celebrations according to their rich and diverse traditions, celebrating the shared values of family, charity, and community. In times of change and uncertainty, the celebration of these common values brings us together and emphasizes the importance of greater cooperation and cross-cultural understanding.
 
As Secretary of State, it is my honor to host an Eid celebration at the Department of State in Washington every year. As we celebrate this year's event, we will honor the contributions of individuals who work to further dialogue, a shared vision and mutual respect between the United States and Muslim communities around the world so that together we may forge a new era of understanding and cooperation among all people.
 
Congratulations and best wishes to all Muslims around the world on this joyous day. Eid Mubarak.

AUTO PARTS PRICE-FIXER FIXES TO SERVE A 14 MONTH PRISON TERM

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OFJUSTICE
Executive Agrees to Serve 14 Months in a U.S. Prison
WASHINGTON — An executive of Tokyo-based Yazaki Corporation has agreed to plead guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix prices of instrument panel clusters, also known as meters, installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today. He is the 11th executive to be charged in the government’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.
 
In a one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Toshio Sudo, a Japanese national, was charged with engaging in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of instrument panel clusters sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere. According to the charge, Sudo’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2003 until at least February 2009. The department said that Sudo and his co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by agreeing, during meetings and conversations, to allocate the supply of instrument panel clusters and sold the parts at noncompetitive prices to automakers in the United States and elsewhere.
 
According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Sudo has agreed to serve 14 months in a U.S. prison, to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the department’s investigation.
 
Yazaki manufactures and sells a variety of automotive parts, including instrument panel clusters. Instrument panel clusters are the mounted array of instruments and gauges housed in front of the driver of an automobile. According to the charge, Sudo and his co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by, among other things, agreeing during meetings and discussions to coordinate bids submitted to, and price adjustments requested by, automobile manufacturers.
 
"From using code names with one another, to meeting in remote or private locations, the conspirators employed a variety of measures to keep their illegal conduct secret," said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. "The division and its law enforcement partners will continue to do everything in our power to detect these cartels and bring them to justice."
 
"The conspiracies to fix prices and rig bids in the automotive industry represent a serious crime against the United States. Car makers and car buyers pay the price for these illegal activities," said Robert D. Foley III, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. "The FBI is committed to vigorously pursuing and stopping those who commit these crimes."
 
Including Sudo, seven companies and 11 executives have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd, DENSO Corp., Yazaki Corp., G.S. Electech Inc., Fujikura Ltd. and Autoliv Inc. pleaded guilty and were sentenced to pay a total of more than $785 million in criminal fines. TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH has agreed to plead guilty. Additionally, seven of the individuals – Junichi Funo, Hirotsugu Nagata, Tetsuya Ukai, Tsuneaki Hanamura, Ryoki Kawai, Shigeru Ogawa and Hisamitsu Takada – have been sentenced to pay criminal fines and to serve jail sentences ranging from a year and a day to two years each. Makoto Hattori and Norihiro Imai have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Kazuhiko Kashimoto is scheduled to plead guilty on Sept. 26, 2012.
 
Sudo is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum sentence for individuals of 10 years and a fine of $1 million. The maximum fine for an individual may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

U.S. OFFICIAL SPEAKS AT AMERICAN-UZBEKISTAN CHANBER OF COMMERCE

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Remarks at the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce
Remarks
Robert O. Blake, Jr.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
August 17, 2012
Deputy Prime Minister Azimov, Minister Ganiev, Minister Kamilov, Chairman of the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce Carolyn Lamm, members of the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce in America, business delegation, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my gratitude to the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce for organizing this business delegation and for sponsoring this business forum together with the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment, and Trade.
 
Yesterday Foreign Minister Kamilov and I chaired a very productive session of our Third Annual Bilateral Consultations. We were very honored to have Deputy Prime Minister Azimov and Minister Ganiev lead the economic dimension aspects of our talks. I conveyed Secretary Clinton’s greetings and noted that this year the United States and Uzbekistan marked 20 years of diplomatic relations. This last year has seen a number of high-level visits and interactions between the United States and Uzbekistan, including visits by Secretary Clinton, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and a seven-member Congressional delegation lead by Representative Danny Burton. One topic that came up at all of their meetings is our agreement to try to increase the level of bilateral trade and investment.
 
Uzbekistan has great potential for further economic development, including greater U.S. investment. The number of representatives of world-class American companies here today shows the high level of interest in doing business here in Uzbekistan. Many of these companies have long, prosperous commercial relationships with Uzbekistan. Case New Holland has been manufacturing agricultural equipment in Tashkent for 15 years. NUKEM has been operating in the country for 20 years. Boeing has been supplying aircraft and technical training to Uzbekistan Airways since 1995, and delivery of its 787 Dreamliner in 2016 will make possible direct flights between Uzbekistan and the United States.
 
I’m pleased to hear that Lockheed Martin and the Government are announcing agreement to move forward on air traffic management program negotiations.
 
In addition to investing in Uzbekistan, U.S. companies strive to be responsible members of the community. General Motors has set especially high standards with its environmental, social, and labor practices. Last year, GM Uzbekistan was a finalist for the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence, ranking it among the best in the world in terms of corporate social responsibility.
 
Economic development of the entire Central Asia region is an important U.S. priority. The international community recognizes this importance as organizations like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank fund projects to revitalize the trade routes of the Silk Road. USAID is implementing its Regional Economic Cooperation program to boost trade and cooperation. Uzbekistan, as the center of Central Asia, has a vital role to play in that development and would benefit greatly from increased regional trade and investment. Uzbekistan already is a key part of economic development in Afghanistan, providing electricity to Kabul and supporting much-needed infrastructure projects like the rail line from Hairaton to Mazar-e-Sharif.
 
That said, more work needs to be done for American- Uzbek investment and trade to reach its full potential. We discussed several of these important issues yesterday during the Economic Dimension session of our Annual Bilateral Consultations. I’m pleased the Uzbek government has committed to continuing to work with us to tackle some of the challenges that I’ll discuss in a minute. The good news is that it is in the interest of each of us to expand trade, and we see a bright future for the people of both our countries as we increase cooperation.
 
The U.S. strongly supports Uzbekistan’s efforts to promote reforms that will increase economic growth. And the Deputy Prime Minister has outlined many of the important reforms that are going to take place. Representatives from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and other trade agencies are here today to explore opportunities. The United States has a strong track record assisting private investment and trade in Uzbekistan through the Export-Import Bank, USAID, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
 
We are looking for creative ways to improve the investment environment as well. Under the framework of our bilateral Science and Technology Agreement, for example, cooperation in research has helped Uzbekistan increase the value of its agricultural exports. We are working to expand this cooperation and promote innovation in all sectors of the economy.
 
In my position as Assistant Secretary, I regularly meet with U.S. investors looking for opportunities in the region, and I hear a consistent message that Uzbekistan has great potential as an investment destination; however, to reach its full economic potential, it should address persistent challenges in the business and investment climate.
 
We discussed yesterday that delays in currency conversion prevent manufacturers from importing the supplies they need to produce their finished goods, and the problem can be compounded by complex and uncertain customs procedures. Businesses face these issues while navigating a somewhat opaque regulatory environment.
 
Increased dialogue between the state, private businesses, and foreign investors would be a first step towards identifying challenges and developing and enacting reforms that allow entrepreneurs to succeed while still meeting the needs of the government. Our friends in the government of Uzbekistan welcome such a dialogue. Uzbekistan must also continue reforms to strengthen the rule of law, including IPR protection, and reduce corruption so that all businesses can operate under one transparent set of rules. As Secretary Clinton has said about the situation in Cambodia, fair labor standards everywhere can also spur economic growth and widen the circle of prosperity.
 
I am confident that progress on these issues will lead to tangible results through greater U.S. investment and increased bilateral trade. The United States will continue to work closely with the government of Uzbekistan and the business communities on each side to support Uzbekistan in establishing itself as a cornerstone of economic development throughout this region. We are also encouraged to see organizations like AUCC, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan engaging with the government and private businesses on economic issues. Each participant brings a unique, valuable point of view to the conversation, and I hope we can all increase our cooperation in the future.
 
Events such as today’s Business Forum provide a great opportunity to begin a conversation on how to move our economic relationship forward. So again, I want to express my deep thanks to our host today, for all their efforts to organize this forum. I want to wish all of you success in your deliberations and pledge to you that the U.S. Government will remain a very strong backer of all of your efforts to increase trade and investment between the United States and Uzbekistan. Thank you very much.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Insectos robóticos para analizar la sangre – y muchas otras cosas

Insectos robóticos para analizar la sangre – y muchas otras cosas

DOL AWARDS $1,141,783 NATIONAL EMERGENCY GRANT FOR MISSOURI FLOODING

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
US Department of Labor provides grant increment to assist Missouri with continued flood recovery efforts
WASHINGTON
— The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $1,141,783 National Emergency Grant increment to continue cleanup and recovery efforts related to flooding that affected northwestern Missouri between June 1 and Aug. 1, 2011. Awarded to the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, the additional funding will make possible temporary employment for eligible dislocated workers in affected areas.
 
"While much progress has been made, Missouri continues to recover from last summer's flooding," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This funding from the Labor Department will provide additional assistance to these communities, while also creating temporary employment for local workers."
 
On Aug. 12, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared 11 counties eligible for FEMA's Public Assistance Program. This grant increment will fund recovery efforts that remain unfinished in eight of those counties: Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Holt, Lafayette, Platte, Ray and Saline. More information on designated disaster areas in Missouri is available from FEMA at http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4012/affected-counties.
 
The initial grant from the Labor Department was awarded Oct. 14, 2011, for up to $2,283,567, with $1,141.784 released immediately. The latest increment completes the grant award. To date, this National Emergency Grant has assisted in the creation of about 141 temporary jobs for cleanup and recovery efforts.
 
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG/.

CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS SAYS MILITARY TRANSITION NECESSARY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Dempsey: Transition in Military Uncomfortable but Necessary

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2012 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the military must undergo three transitions in the coming years, with each dependent on finding the best way forward in lean economic times.
 
During a town hall Thursday in Rosemount, Minn., Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told Minnesota National Guardsmen determining the best way to transform the military isn't just about what's best for the armed forces, but "really about figuring out what's best for the country" in the years ahead.
 
"What does the nation need in 2020?" Dempsey asked. "How do we build that capability? ... How do we deliver in a way that's affordable for the nation?"
 
"We're all citizens first," he said. "Therefore, I think we've got to figure out how to help the country through that economic challenge while preserving the military that it needs."
Dempsey highlighted his three transitions. First, he said, is to move from a military that is generally focused on deploying for combat into one that can perform missions besides counterinsurgency.
 
Service members of his generation were criticized as being "stuck in [a] Cold War mentality," Dempsey said.
 
"It was a challenge, I will admit to you," he said, "for us to change the way we looked at problems from that Cold War paradigm into the counterinsurgency paradigm."
 
"I would submit to you that those of you that have done nothing but [counterinsurgency] are going to have exactly the same challenge going back to looking at other kinds of warfare," he said.
 
But that's exactly what service members must do, Dempsey said. "Not because we think it's on ... the horizon, but it could be someday and you can't wait until it's there to get ready for it."
The second transition is economic, he said, and involves managing a shift from the "largely unconstrained budgets of the last ten years -- 'if you needed it you got it' -- to something that is going to be more constrained."
 
That might make service members uncomfortable, the chairman said, but the military has an obligation to become more affordable to the country. "Why? Because national power ... is actually the aggregate of three things, not just the military," Dempsey said. "It is the military, but it's also economic well-being and it's also diplomatic influence."
 
The last transition is the drawdown of military members. Over the next five to six years, the Army and Marines will reduce in size by about 120,000 people in total, he continued.
 
"We owe it to those young men and women who have served so honorably and so well to make sure we take care of them," Dempsey said.
 
"In all of that we've got to keep faith with our military family," he said, adding that family includes veterans, wounded warriors and the parents and spouses of service members killed in action.
 
One way to keep faith as the Defense Department draws down is to guarantee that resources continue to be dedicated to family support programs, Dempsey said.
 
"The challenge of course, is we've got 1,000 flowers blooming out there," he said. "We've got to make sure that we can identify the ones that are most important and ensure we continue to resource those."
 
"The second way we keep faith is by pay, compensation, healthcare and retirement," the chairman added.
 
Finally, he said, keeping faith with the military family means providing the toughest training possible. "I'm not keeping faith with you if I resource all that other stuff and I don't train you," he explained, "because then I send you off to war and you're not ready for it."
 
"Change is always uncomfortable," Dempsey said, "but often if we're agile enough, the change can actually make things better for us and improve relationships, not disrupt them."

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

DOD MILITARY FINANCE APP TO HELP MILITARY FAMILIES


FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Family Matters Blog: Money App Puts Finances in Hand

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2012 - Financial planners often talk about "being smart" when it comes to your finances – where, when and how to save, spend, and invest your money and how to manage your credit.


The ins and outs of getting and staying in good financial shape can feel like a full-time job. From buying a house to researching tax breaks to asking about lower interest rates on credit cards or auto insurance, getting smart about finances takes effort.


That endeavor can be made easier, however, with a free website and app created especially for military members by the Better Business Bureau and McGraw Hill Companies. The consumer advocacy group's military division teamed up with the global financial information company to create militaryandmoney.com and its smartphone app, which is available for the iPhone and iPad. There will also soon be an Android version available, Brenda Linnington, director of the BBB Military Line, told me today.


Linnington, wife of Army Gen. Mike Linnington, who commands the Military District of Washington, creates curriculum for the Military Line's personal finance workshops, which are given at military bases around the country as part of the Defense Department and services' financial readiness outreach. BBB's Military Line also is a partner in the Kipplinger/BBB Financial Field Manual.


Linnington replaced Holly Petraeus last year as MilitaryLine's director when Petraeus was appointed to head the military division of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Both have worked to ease personal finance for service members and their families.
"We don't want it be laborious kind of thing," Linnington said of the website and app. "They can just plug in their numbers, so they have their personal financial situation in palm of their hands."


The digital aids came about after the bureau and McGraw Hill separately pledged to help "Joining Forces," the campaign First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden created last year to support military families, Linnington said. The campaign fostered the partnership, merging the bureau's military financial acumen with McGraw Hill's global financial reach.


The website and app provide "basic training" in personal finance with video instructions on budgeting and managing credit. They also offer an "action center" with a calculator for entering your own financial information to help with building savings -- you can set a reminder for regular installments -- and reducing debt.


"The great thing about the app is it's very user-friendly, and it puts that person's financial situation in the palm of their hands," Linnington said "They can have it with them wherever they go."


The website and app can help families through the financial shift of deployments and how to ease the burden when combat and hazard pay go away, she noted.


"That reunion period, as wonderful as it is, especially during the honeymoon period, also is full of a lot of stressors," she said. "Add in the changes to your financial situation -- now you have less income, your children are getting older, and becoming more expensive -- that can cause more stress on an already stressful situation."


The website and app are tailored to enlisted members at the E6 level and below, Linnington said, because that is who the bureau found needs it most. Most complaints of financial problems from service members come from the E5 and E6 level, she said. Unlike junior service members, they – most in their mid-20s – are beginning to develop credit and make enough money to pay off debt and save. And they are starting families.


"They have more money than they had before, but they also have more expenses and they're getting into larger purchases," she said.

ESA Portal - Czech Republic - Vecmap sleduje asijského komára

ESA Portal - Czech Republic - Vecmap sleduje asijského komára

Risky teens

Risky teens

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This flag with three stars is unfurled for Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Dubie,

This flag with three stars is unfurled for Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Dubie,

Oracle Corporation

Oracle Corporation

DEPLOYED SIBLINGS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTENT OF DEFENSE
Face of Defense: Day Makes Difference for Deployed Siblings

From a 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team News Release
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHANK, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2012 - Army Sgt. 1st Class Mica Snell and his brother, Army Staff Sgt. Justin Snell were born and grew up in Derby, Kan. Less than two years apart in age, they went to the same schools at the same time and more often than not, had the same friends.
 
Justin moved to Green Valley, Ariz., when he was 16 and graduated from high school there, while Mica stayed and graduated from Derby High. After high school, Mica attended two years of college before joining the Army in early 2001. After Justin graduated, he went to the University of Arizona for three years.
 
When Mica joined the Army, he enlisted as a Patriot launching station enhanced operator and maintainer. He was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, and took advantage of the location, visiting Justin numerous times in Arizona.
 
Like many big brothers, when his Justin came to him and said that he wanted to join, Mica advised him to first finish school. And if Justin was still interested in the Army after graduating, he should seek an officer's commission, Mica advised. Like many younger brothers, Justin didn't listen and enlisted anyway, as an infantryman.
 
Mica was still at Fort Bliss when Justin joined and was assigned to the 112th Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2005. Later that year, Mica was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and what followed would be a time in his career he's never forgotten. He and Justin were able to train together, jump together, attend unit functions together and Justin was even able to pin Mica when he was promoted to staff sergeant.
 
Soon after, the brothers would be separated by multiple deployments and changes of duty stations that made seeing each other almost impossible. After a deployment to the Philippines, Justin deployed in November 2005 and was assigned to the scout platoon of 1st Armored Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Bliss.
 
"In the summer of 2009, Justin called me and told me that he was getting married in Houston and wanted me to be his best man," Mica said. "Of course, I accepted and met him in Houston. Little did I know that this would be the last time I would see him for over four years."
 
Before Justin returned from his first deployment, Mica had been deployed to Iraq. Justin returned to Fort Bragg, switched units and deployed to Iraq before Mica returned to Bragg. Justin followed suit, changing units and quickly deploying to Iraq for 12 months.
 
The deployments continued, and the brothers continued to just miss each other.
 
In 2008, Mica was assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, in Vicenza, Italy, deploying to Afghanistan's Logar and Wardak provinces in May 2010.
 
After the 173rd's return from Afghanistan, Mica stayed busy and began to prepare for his next deployment, less than two years away. During that time, Justin called to tell Mica that he would be walking in his footsteps, as his unit would also be in Logar and Wardak.
 
The closer it got to Mica's next deployment, the more he was able to find out, ultimately learning that the 173rd was headed back to Logar and Wardak. More importantly, Mica's unit would be replacing Justin's.
 
"I can remember driving to Rome with my dad during Thanksgiving of 2011, and at that time I knew there was going to be a chance we could meet," Mica said.
 
That feeling became stronger when Mica found out the brothers would be moving through the same outposts and operating bases at the same time.
 
"I knew we could meet when I found out that I was going to [Forward Operating Base] Altimur, and that Justin was moving from his combat outpost to Altimur during the same time that I was going to be there," Mica said. "When we left Aviano, there was no doubt I was going to see him."
 
Mica and soldiers of the 173rd left Aviano Air Base, Italy. Expecting to arrive at the transit center in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, in less than 10 hours, the soldiers instead found themselves in transit for almost a week.
 
While the days passed by, Mica feared that his opportunity to see his brother was passing with them.
 
When he finally arrived at here, Mica already was tracking his brother's movements, and knew Justin made it to nearby Altimur. The brothers were separated by no more than a short drive.
 
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mickey Rutledge, command sergeant major of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team's 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, stepped in and bridged the gap. Rutledge let Mica stay in place here an extra day. That extra day was all the brothers needed, as Justin rolled in shortly after.
 
The 1st Battalion representative there brought joy to another Snell family member, bringing the brothers to the other side of base, where they could have a hot meal and call their mother to let her know her boys were safe.
 
"There it is again," Mica said. "Another amazing experience in my career that involved my brother, the greatest warrior I know."