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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alabama companies awarded defense contract

Wyle Laboratories, Inc. in Huntsville is being awarded an $11,380,330 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-08-C-0025) to exercise an option for aircrew, engineering, operations, and scheduling services in support of the Naval Test Wing Atlantic and Naval Test Wing Pacific.

The estimated level of effort for this option is 18,757 man-hours.

Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in March 2011.

Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.


Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville was awarded a $23,799,062 contract which provides for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop, and deliver operations manuals, change proposals, system assessments/capabilities guides, software version description documents, data procedures documents software user's manuals, and wiring diagrams.

At this time, $345,893 has been obligated.

55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity.

USO working coming to Rucker

The USO is bringing it's Sesame Street workshop to Alabama this season.

The workshop will be at Fort Rucker June 16-17.

The full schedule and more information is available here.

Air show pictures

Again, snapped on my blackberry throughout the weekend, so sorry for the poor quality. Check out the photo galleries on to see Mickey and David's photos and Shannon's videos. Well done gentlemen.

Americal Legion hosts Easter Egg hunt Saturday

The American Legion Post 210 in Montgomery is hosting an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday.

For details and to see their flier, click here.

Alabama company awarded defense contract

Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville was awarded a $23,847,566 contract which provides for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop, and deliver concept recommendations, architecture analysis, ontological models, alternatives analysis, life-cycle costs estimates, prototype development assessments, and prototype tools.

At this time, $797,000 has been obligated.

55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity.
Monday, March 29, 2010

Alabama company awarded defense contract

Raytheon Co., IDS of Huntsville was awarded on March 25 a $12,985,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Plug-and-Fight (P&F) A-Kit design definition to develop an integrated set of components/platform end item preliminary engineering change proposals for the development of IAMD P&F A-kits that integrate government furnished equipment IAMD B-Kits.

Work is to be performed in Huntsville, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2011.

One bid was solicited with one bid received.

AMCOM Contracting Center, Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, is the contracting activity.
Friday, March 26, 2010

Pictures from air show practice day

I took these on my blackberry, so not great quality, but Mickey Welsh (our amazing photographer) will have great photos in the paper and online this weekend.

Thunderbirds in formation on Friday.

Thunderbirds practice on Friday

Cargo heritage flight.

A-1 Skyraider taxies by.

A-10 parks, will be a static display this weekend. Pilot is a Selma native.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hometown Hero pictures

Some photos from the day that I snapped on my phone...

Michael Gross, an AUM physical education instructor, was selected as the Hometown Hero for a flight the Air Force's Thunderbirds. He taught PE for 14 years in the Montgomery Public School system and has a doctorate in physical education. He also travels to Brazil each year to lead mission trips at an orphanage there.

For more, read my story in Friday's Advertiser.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Locals selected for flight with Golden Knights

Two locals have been selected for a Hometown Hero flight with the Golden Knights on Friday.

Rob Mitchell, a student at Auburn Montgomery is 18.

He was nominated by Jerry Watkins, the principal at East Memorial Christian Academy in Prattville, where Mitchell volunteers.

The Millbrook resident is also a volunteer fireman in Millbrook and active in his church in Montgomery.

On his way home along Main Street in Millbrook last spring, he noticed smoke coming from windows of a two-story home. He stopped his truck and entered the home. He found an elderly man who was nearly unconscious and brought him outside before the fire department arrived, likely saving his life, according to the nomination packet.


Michael P. Whaley is the battalion commander of the Prattville Fire Department.

He was home with his family when an F-3 tornado hit the city. Once the tornado passed, he reported for duty and helped coordinate the response and relief efforts.

Whaley has been a member of the department since 1994.
Monday, March 22, 2010

Riley proclaims March "Aviation and Aerospace Heritage Month in Alabama

The month of March 2010 was proclaimed “Aviation and Aerospace Heritage Month” to commemorate the first flight of an airplane in the state of Alabama.

The flight by Orville Wright was conducted on March 26, 1910 over the grounds of present day Maxwell Air Force Base.

The proclamation was signed by Governor Bob Riley during a ceremony held in the Old House Chamber of the State Capitol Building.

Attending the ceremony were (standing L-R) George Cully, Director, Air University Office of History, Maxwell Air Force Base; Dr. John C. Eagerton IV, Chief, Alabama Department of Transportation Aeronautics Bureau; Fred Sington, President, Aviation Council of Alabama; Billy Singleton, Chairman, Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame; Dr. James Griffin, Executive Director, Southern Museum of Flight; Jerome Ennels, Archivist, United States Air Force Historical Research Agency; and Colonel Kris Beasley, Commander, 42nd Air Base Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Legion Bike Night

The American Legion Post 210 on Bell Street is hosting it's second Bike Night this weekend.

The event starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20 at the post at 903 Bell St.

For more information, call the post at 593-5320. To see the flyer, click here.
Monday, March 15, 2010

McChrystal on COIN

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and the "8 Imperatives of COIN". Part 1 of 8.
Thursday, March 11, 2010

MyCAA begins again

From the Department of Defense today:

The Department of Defense announced today the resumption of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account, MyCAA , program. Beginning March 13 at 12 p.m. EST, the 136,583 military spouses who are currently enrolled in the program will once again be able to receive tuition assistance.

"We made a commitment to our military spouses when they established a career advancement account and we will be true to our promises," said Tommy Thomas, deputy under secretary of defense, military community and family policy.

The first phase of the reinstated program will enable the department to continue to pay up to $6,000 in tuition assistance for spouses currently enrolled. The department is working hard to adjust and meet the demands of the program and develop a long-term solution for spouses not yet enrolled who would like to establish an account.

The program was launched March 2, 2009, to assist military spouses in attaining portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations. An unexpected spike in enrollment prompted the Defense Department to pause the program on Feb. 16. A thorough review began immediately to assure the program was accomplishing its intended goals.

"When we determined that an operational pause in the program was critically needed, we failed to notify our spouses in a timely and appropriate manner," said Thomas. "As a result of our failure, we know we will have to work hard to restore their faith in us. We are committed to earning that trust through improved communication and by delivering services."

The Defense Department is currently developing options for the long-term management of the program and expect to be able to announce the details soon. Until new accounts can be created, Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Consultants will continue to be available to provide education and training, career exploration, assessment, employment readiness and career search assistance.

Wright Bros. symposium coming to Montgomery

The Alabama Department of Archives and History is hosting a symposium on the Wright Brothers on March 26.

The event, Celebrating a Century of Flight: The Wright Brothers and Aviation in Alabama, 1910-2010, will include scholars and discussions on aviation in Alabama and its evolution.

The event will be at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave.

For more information go to,

WASPs honored in Washington. One was honored at Maxwell last year.

The women of the Women Airforce Service Pilots were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal at the Capitol on Wednesday.

More than 200 WASPs attended the ceremony, including Betty Wall Strohfus, who was an Eagle at the 2009 Gathering of Eagles at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Of the more than 1,100 women who volunteered and flew every fighter, bomber, transport and trainer aircraft in the inventory 68 years ago, only about 300 are still alive, according to a American Forces Press Service story by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski.

Strohfus flew the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-26 Marauder bombers, as well as the P-39 Airacobra fighter.

“It’s almost unbelievable. We never thought this day would come,” she was quoted as saying in Buzanowski's story. “We were all just so grateful to have the opportunity to fly. But this was just such a lovely ceremony and so nice for all these people to come out for us.”

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest award Congress can present to a civilian or group of civilians. Past honorees include the Navajo Code Talkers in 2000 and Tuskegee Airmen in 2006.

Here's my story about Strohfus from June 2009:

Elizabeth "Betty Wall" Strohfus

She's not a pilot. She's a woman pilot.

Strohfus was one of 1,074 Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, during World War II.

The women helped the men train for combat and Strohfus piloted eight different aircraft during her years.

At 5-foot-3 she barely made the minimum height requirement with the help of extra socks, and she paid her own way to Sweetwater, Texas, for training.

Her love of flying started in her hometown in Minnesota when she met a pilot who took her up for a spin. He'd execute various maneuvers, and then, "He'd look around and say 'One more time?'

After 10 more 'one more times,' he didn't look around anymore," she said. "He didn't look too good."

After the flight, he told her, "You've gotta fly. Usually people I take on this flight get sick. You're the only one who's made me sick," Strohfus recalled.

When she heard about the WASP program, she saw that as her chance.

To join the program, women needed a private pilot's license or 35 flight hours. She didn't have the money for a license, so she got her 35 hours and headed to Texas. Half the day was spent flying, the other half in the classroom.

The students learned meteorology, which Strohfus didn't understand.

"Well, heck. I'd go outside and if it was a nice day, I'd go flying," she said. She didn't know much about engines either, except where it was supposed to be. And when it came to physics, she was lost.

"I thought it was something you took for a stomach problem," Strohfus said. In training, she flew aggressive maneuvers against the male pilots to prepare them for combat. They used live ammunition.

She didn't fly much after the WASPs were disbanded in 1944. But she did keep fighting -- for the WASPs to get veterans' benefits. It took until 1979, but with help, she did it.

This was her first time as an Eagle and she struggled to find words to say what it meant to her.

"It's hard to express," she said.

A trail blazer and role model for female pilots, she gave the students some advice.

"Follow your dreams," Strohfus said. "That's what's important."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Former Maxwell staffer is new acting director of Alexandria (La.) VA

Came across this in the Town Talk:

Bryan Bayley, FACHE, is the new acting director of the Alexandria VA Medical Center.

Bayley has over 34 years of federal service.

He entered the United States Air Force during the Vietnam conflict and spent over 12 years serving on active duty. He then spent another 12 years as a Department of Defense civilian employee holding several progressive supervisory and management positions in the Civil Engineering Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Bayley transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2000. He has held positions as Deputy Chief Information Officer in Phoenix, AZ; Chief Information Officer in Kansas City, MO; and Associate Medical Center Director in Amarillo, TX.

In 2008 he joined the South Central VA Health Care Network (SCVAHCN) to manage the daily operations of the Network and serve as a full deputy to the Network Director. It is anticipated that a new facility director will be appointed within six months at which time Bayley will return to his duties at the SCVAHCN in Jackson, Mississippi.

Bayley holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Technology and a Masters Degree in Health Administration. He is board certified as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day Street gate is open

The Day Street gate reopened Feb. 28 at 6 a.m.

The overall $1.3 million project was funded with stimulus money and includes a
canopy over the road at the gate building; improvement and repair of the gate; and the addition of a restroom to the gate building.
My Photo

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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