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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alabama company awarded defense contract

Altec Industries, Inc. of Birmingham is being awarded a maximum $5,658,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for 30 ton telescopic truck cranes.

There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Foreign Military Sales.

There were originally seven proposals solicited with three responses.

Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The date of performance completion is Aug. 3, 2010.

The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hometown News: Kyle Singleton

Navy Seaman Recruit Kyle Singleton, a 2009 graduate of Jefferson Davis High School, Montgomery, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Singleton completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hometown News: Sean Heath

Marine Corps Pfc. Sean D. Heath, son of Wendy G. and David J. Swanson of Prattville, recently reported for duty with Marine Aviation Logistic Squadron 29, Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, N. C.

Heath is a 2005 graduate of Prattville High School of Prattville.

Hometown News: Hugh Ratsch

Navy Seaman Apprentice Hugh Ratsch, son of Frances G. Ratsch of Montgomery and Simington Hugh of Montgomery, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Ratsch completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.

Ratsch is a 2009 graduate of Sidney Lanier High School of Montgomery.
Friday, November 13, 2009

Alabama company awarded defense contract

American Apparel, Inc. of Selma, is being awarded a maximum $8,133,585 firm-fixed-price with indefinite-quantity for Navy apparel.

Other locations of performance are in Alabama and Mississippi.

Using service is the Navy.

The original proposal was web solicited with 10 responses.

Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Nov. 18, 2010.

The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I Served: Lt. Col. Glen Shillard

Lt. Col. Glen Shillard said any form of service involves putting others before yourself and discourages a sense of entitlement.

The student at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies has been in the Air Force for 16 years. He’s been a B-52 navigator, worked in space operations and been an air liaison officer, among other jobs.

“It just gives you a sense of belonging to something greater than yourself,” he said of service.

Service, of any sort, encourages self-motivation, accountability, pride in your work and exposes you to the wider world, he said.

“You don’t get to the highest levels without thinking beyond yourself,” he said of military and civil leaders.

He said he used to think that veterans were old, but has since realized a veteran is anyone who has served.

“Veterans are these people that have served,” he said. “Maybe they only served a few years and didn’t die. They still served.”

And remembering those that have served is important and more than just a thank you.

“If you don’t look to the past, you forget where you came from,” he said. And forgetting the past often causes repeat mistakes, he said.

Why I Serve: Maj. Bob Lyons

Maj. Bob Lyons was in graduate school working on a corporate survey when he decided to study his father’s office. His father spent 36 years in the military and Lyons wanted to understand how the military worked on an organizational level.

In his 20s, that’s when he really started to understand what the military was about and why his father and so many others served.

His dad was the oldest of 10 and had said he joined to fight in Vietnam so his brothers and sisters wouldn’t have to.

Now, Lyons has been in the Air Force for 11 years and is currently at student at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base.

While working on his graduate project, he realized he wanted to be something bigger than himself.

“While you’re young and have the energy, are you going to put your actions against your beliefs,” Lyons said.

Lyons decided to join the military and spend the rest of his life serving his country.

“United States is a great nation and great power and what comes with that is great responsibility,” he said.

He visited Normandy and remembers looking at the dates of those killed on Omaha Beach at the memorials. Many were in their early 20s, he said.

“They could have been on that beach for a few seconds or for a few days, but they died,” he said.
And now with two wars going on, current service members don’t get days off.

“We honor them by taking a moment and acknowledging what they’re doing,” he said.

Honoring the service of past generations is an important part of continuing the tradition of service. Their service inspires current military members, he said.

“It’s their stories that make us realize what is possible of ourselves,” he said.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More veterans stories

I'll continue to post stories about area veterans for the rest of the week, so keep checking back! Plus, more military coverage coming Thursday, Friday and through the weekend.

Why I Serve: Marvin Cox

Marvin Cox Sr. of Prattville served in the Navy during World War II.

He was a heavy mine sweeper in the Pacific from 1941 to 1946.

Cox was working in Auburn and his name was coming up to the draft board, so he decided to join the Navy instead of being drafted into the Army.

He volunteered “for the protection of our country. We gotta stay prepared,” he said.

The service of WWII veterans was monumental in his eyes.

“Winning that war was the turning point of freedom,” he said.

But he has just as much respect for those serving today.

“They’ve got the love of country ... to volunteer today with the situation like it is,” he said.

Why I Serve: Elida Brown

Elida Brown of Montgomery volunteered to serve during World War II.

“I wanted to help and do what I could,” she said. “Everybody was helping in some way.”

She was a school teacher in Corpus Christie, Texas and went to Washington to work on military communication capabilities from 1943 to 1945.

“I think everybody should do their part and accept responsibility. We have to defend our country,” she said. “We’re called the greatest generation and I really think we were.”

Why I Serve: Maj. Gen. A.C. Blalock

Maj. Gen. A.C. Blalock took an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution. It’s a document he considers the foundation of our country.

Now he’s the adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard and said military service is the basis of the freedoms in America.

“We won’t understand what bad times are in this country until we lose some of our freedoms,” Blalock said.

He settled in the National Guard because it good niche for him and he liked the Guard’s dual mission to the state and the nation when called upon.

Guard allows them military training and an opportunity to serve fellow citizens outside of war time.

For him, Veterans Day is about recognizing all veterans for their service, regardless of when and where they served.

“For everybody who serves there was somebody who came before us and somebody who comes after us,” Blalock said. “They all have that common bond of making sure that America remains what American was designed to be.”

Why I Serve: Col. Kris Beasley

Col. Kris Beasley is the commander of the 42nd Air Base Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base.

He comes from a military family and that was part of his inspiration to serve, but like many others, he felt a sense of duty.

“Our founding fathers made sacrifices for use and it’s our turn,” he said. “If you don’t have volunteers, we won’t have that freedom.”

He travels frequently and said he sees places with far less freedoms than those in America and said without the military and service of veterans, it might not be that way.

Although recognition of veterans has increased in recent years, Beasley said they still need to be thanked.

“Our veterans in many cases never received any recognition for what they did, we owe it to them to just say thanks,” he said. “They gave that for our freedom.”

Why I Serve: Capt. Josh Christopher


Capt. Josh Christopher is an instructor at the Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base.

He’s been in the Air Force for four years, and already his reasons for service are evolving.

“To me, it started out as one reason and has kind of developed as my time and experience in the Air Force has changed,” he said.

Early on, he wanted to be part of the traditions and customs. When he started college, Sept. 11, 2001 happened.

At the University of Cincinnati, he was part of the ROTC program and was commissioned upon graduation.

“It meant a lot to me to become part of keeping America safe,” he said.

Last year he deployed as an aircraft maintenance officer. He said seeing the American impact there reinforced his reasons for serving.

A few weeks ago, his first son was born.

That has changed his life in many ways.

“The world is a dangerous place,” Christopher said. “I want to make sure the nation is secure for my kid and make things better for him.”

As an instructor at OTS, he’s training the next generation of officers that he hopes will carry on his work.

“We need people to come in behind us and keep making it safer. Somebody’s gotta do the security and safety of what our country stands for,” he said.

Just as he and his fellow service members today have continued the work done by past generations of veterans.

“Service really doesn’t change,” Christopher said. “It’s always been the same and what we stood for.”

Veterans Day, their stories

Throughout the day I will be posting more veterans stories in honor of Veterans Day.

Many of their stories appeared in today's Advertiser, but I had so many stories that they didn't all fit.

But, all of their stories are equally important and moving and deserve to be told.
Monday, November 2, 2009

Commissioner Marsh assumes regional leadership position

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Clyde Marsh, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, is now the vice president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) Southeast Region.

State VA directors elected Marsh to the position at the NASDVA’s annual conference in September.

As the region’s vice president, Marsh will lead and coordinate veterans’ advocacy initiatives on behalf of the association for states that include: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

NASDVA consist of top veterans affairs officials from all 50 states and territories. The association advocates benefits and services for veterans by working closely with Congress, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran service organizations and the Department of Defense.

The State Board of Veterans Affairs appointed Marsh as commissioner of the Alabama VA department in October, 2005. By a unanimous vote, the board nominated him for a second term that began in October 2009.

Alabamians in the military


Air Force Airman Calvin D. Williams graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Calvin and Jeannie Williams of S. McCracken Ave., Montgomery.


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Air Force Airman 1st Class Tyler M. Freeney graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Tammy Maschak of Volunteer Trail, Poquoson, Va., and Tim Freeney of Reid Circle, Deatsville.

The airman is a 2006 graduate of Poquoson High School.

Hometown News: Quaniece Weaver

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Quaniece Weaver, daughter of Jackie L. Turner of Montgomery, and more than 5, 000 fellow sailors and Marines aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), San Diego, Calif., recently returned from a five-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).

Ronald Reagan, the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 7 flagship, the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Howard (DDG 83) arrived to meet family members waiting on the pier aboard Naval Station San Diego, Calif.

This return marked the completion the Ronald Reagan's fourth deployment since it was commissioned in 2003 as well as the groups return from Afghanistan. More than 5, 000 sailors, 20 percent of whom are women, serve aboard USS Ronald Reagan and hail from all 50 U.S. states and 40 nations.

The guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) and the guided missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) remain deployed in the 5th Fleet to provide Maritime Security Operations and are scheduled to return next month.

Ronald Reagan and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 operated in the 5th Fleet AOR for more than two months, providing 30 percent of all air support to U.S. and coalition ground forces in Afghanistan and flew more than 1, 600 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the "Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4. A detachment from Fleet Logistics Squadron (VRC) 30 provided logistics support to the carrier.

Additionally, the ships of Carrier Strike Group 7 were vital in counterpiracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa, and maritime security operations to include protecting vital Iraqi infrastructure in the North Arabian Gulf.

Ronald Reagan's sailors participated in 50 community relations projects during port visits to Singapore, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Phuket, Thailand.

Weaver is a 2006 graduate of George Washington Carver Senior High School of Montgomery and joined the Navy in August 2009.
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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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