1) Relocation Checklist Could Make Moving Smoother
2) Protecting Your Treasures While on the Move
3) DoD Testing Household Goods Shipment Program
4) New Posting to Deploymentlink
5) Documentary Filmmaker Discusses Racism at DoD Forum
6) DoD Working Against Tough Recruiting Environment
7) First Lady Announces Tenfold Increase in Troops to Teachers Funding
8) Land Warrior Coming to a Grunt Near You
9) New Rations in Pipeline for Service Members
10) New Jersey, DC Vets Hospitals to Study War-Related Illnesses
11) [Health.mil] Military Bug Chasers Help Track Down West Nile Virus
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:21:01 -0700
Subject: Relocation Checklist Could Make Moving Smoother
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 7, 2001 -- Relocation is part of life in
the military and for some DoD civilian employees. Every
permanent-change-of-station order means moving yourself,
your family and all your belongings to a new duty location
somewhere in the world.
Moving is a big event with a lot of physical and emotional
challenges that need to be handled with care. Like
everything else in life, there's a right way to move. And
doing it the right way can make a big difference in stress,
peace of mind -- and your pocketbook.
Here are some things to do to help make your move smoother:
o Contact the household goods office for an appointment
with a counselor.
o Notify your landlord, rental agent or housing office of
your permanent change of station orders and anticipated
date of departure.
o Check school schedules and enrollment requirements at
your new station.
o Check the expiration date on your military identification
card; update if necessary.
o Contact the department of motor vehicles for information
on changing your driver's license and vehicle registration.
o Take care of auto maintenance and repairs.
o Contact your insurance company concerning vehicles, home
and household goods. Find out about coverage on your
possessions in transit and storage and about high-value
o Fill out a postal change of address form.
o Fill out an IRS change of address form.
o Hand-carry medical and dental records.
o Keep prescription medicines in their original bottles.
Obtain prescription slips in case you need refills on the
road. Pack medicine in leakproof, spillproof containers.
o Hand-carry finance records.
o Ensure that your entire family is properly listed on the
Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System.
o Start using up perishable and frozen foods about a month
before moving. Discard whatever you haven't used before the
carrier shows up to pack.
o Dispose of flammables such as fireworks, cleaning fluids,
matches, acids, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, ammunition,
oil, paint and thinners.
o Drain fuel from mowers and other machinery.
o Discard partly used cans and containers of substances
that might leak.
o Carefully tape and place in individual waterproof bags
any jars of liquid you plan to carry with you.
o Refillable tanks must be purged and sealed by a local
propane gas dealer. Discard nonrefillable tanks. Some
carriers and the military do not permit shipment of any
o Switch utility services to new address. Inform electric,
disposal, water, newspaper, magazine subscription,
telephone and cable companies of your move.
o Have appliances serviced for moving.
o Clean rugs and clothing and have them wrapped for moving.
o Plan ahead for special needs of infants.
o Close bank accounts and have your funds wired to your new
bank. Before closing, be sure there are no outstanding
checks or automatic payments that haven't been processed.
o Collect valuables from safe-deposit box. Make copies of
any important documents before mailing or hand-carry them
to your new address.
o Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
o Defrost freezer and refrigerator. Place deodorizer inside
to control odors.
o Give a close friend or relative your travel route and
schedule so you may be reached if needed.
o Discuss the moving process with your children to overcome
their fear of relocation.
o Return library books and other borrowed items.
o Make shipping arrangements for vehicles early.
o Ensure that the vehicle is in good running condition and
that all required maintenance has been completed.
Moving Your Pets
o Make arrangements for transporting pets.
o Carry health and rabies certificates with you.
o Ask about vaccinations needed to travel to foreign
o Attach an ID tag to your pet's collar.
o Check on type and size of kennel needed for overseas
shipment of pets.
o If you're traveling across country, you can check on pet-
friendly hotels on the Web at www.petswelcome.com.
On Moving Day
o Double-check closets, drawers, shelves, attic and garage
to be sure they are empty.
o Carry travelers checks for quick, available funds.
o Watch loading and unloading and examine all items
carefully before signing a receipt.
There's a wealth of information on the Internet about
moving. Use the keywords "military relocation" on any Web
search engine for links.
To access an <a href= "http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/sites/owa/Installation.prc_SelectInstallation"
>online directory of U.S. military installations
worldwide</a>, listing units, missions, facilities, services
and other information of interest to service members and their
families, register at
<a href= "www.dmdc.osd.mil/sites/owa/Installation.prc_SelectInstallation"
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:21:30 -0700
Subject: Protecting Your Treasures While on the Move
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 7, 2001 -- You watch "Antiques Roadshow"
this fall and learn a chifforobe just like your great-
grandmother's is worth $5,000. Dang! If you'd known that
you'd have had insurance and squawked more when those
butterfingers banged up yours during your summer move.
Permanent-change-of-station moves mean stress, anxiety and
problems even when you don't own high-value treasures. But
when you do, paying attention to some common sense dos and
don'ts may save you grief.
Carriers and the government assume no liability for such
high-value items as watches, jewelry, cash, stocks, bonds,
coin and stamp collections, antiques, bills, deeds,
precious metals or irreplaceable sentimental items such as
photo albums. Carry these valuables with you, Military
Traffic Management Command officials advise. Don't ship
them as household goods, and don't leave them in dresser
drawers or lying around while movers pack.
o Get professional appraisals for expensive, valuable items
such as artwork, collectibles and heirlooms. Obtain
supplemental insurance for these valuables during the move.
Standard insurance carried by most movers pays claims by
the pound, not market value. The government will not pay
for appraisals or extra insurance, but consider the cost a
wise hedge against loss or damage.
o Videotape or take close-up photos of all your belongings,
paying extra attention to the condition of your furniture
and your expensive and valuable items. Inventory records
like this will help you document any losses and damage you
may incur in the move.
o Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
o Movers are supposed to document furniture condition on
their inventory record sheets. Make sure you confirm their
entries and challenge them until you agree on accuracy.
When you sign the mover's inventory record after the
packing's done, you're certifying its accuracy.
o Don't wax or oil wooden antiques and fine wood furniture
before shipping, because some products might soften the
wood and make it vulnerable to imprinting from furniture
o Third-party servicing will likely be needed before moving
such luxury items as hot tubs, large-screen TVs and some
o Talk to the moving company about pre- and post-move
servicing of washer, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher,
grandfather clock, satellite dish and other such items.
o Think twice before dismantling your outside TV antenna --
a new one may cost less than shipping the present one.
Following these suggestions will safeguard valued items and
help you have an efficient and painless move.
There's a wealth of information on the Internet about
moving in general and military relocations in specific.
Simply use the keywords "military relocation" on any Web
search engine for links.
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:21:54 -0700
Subject: DoD Testing Household Goods Shipment Program
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 7, 2001 -- Uprooting a family and moving is
one of those challenging life transitions that cause
emotional strain, drain one's energy and create all kinds
of highs and lows.
In its quest to ease the pain, DoD is testing the Full
Service Move Project at 23 military installations across
the country. It's all about bettering the quality of life
of service members and their families by finding ways to
improve household goods shipments and to minimize stress,
DoD officials said.
"I think this program is going to do a lot of good for our
service members and their families," said project manager
Cullen Hutchinson. "Moving is very stressful. I've seen
situations which bring tears to my eyes when I talk about
how some service members have been treated during their
"We're the industry's largest customer and we should get a
high-quality move. We should be treated as their very best
customer," he noted. "Our relationship with industry used
to be very adversarial, but I think we've developed a very
good relationship in the last couple of years. We've worked
together and I think they're willing to work with us to get
that level of service. But it will not be easy or cheap."
DoD and the rest of government used to vie for the cheapest
bids for services, but that has changed over the years,
Hutchinson said. "Cost is not our only consideration. Now,
we talk 'best value,'" he said. That means performance
The Military Traffic Management Command moves more than
613,000 shipments each year at a cost of about $1.7
billion. But it does so using a 40-something-year-old
process that's burdened by excessive regulation, poor
performance, and complicated, time-consuming processes,
Nearly 35 percent of shipments suffer loss or damage at a
cost of about $100 million. Only $60 million is recouped.
DoD's Full Service Move Project is a partnership of the
Office of the Secretary of Defense, the military services,
Coast Guard, U.S. Transportation Command, Army
Communication and Electronics Command Acquisition Center
and the household goods moving, freight forwarding and
relocation management industries.
FSMP incorporates many of the lessons learned from two
other tests, the ongoing Military Traffic Management
Command's Re-engineered Personal Property Program and the
recently ended Navy Service Member Arranged Move, or SAM.
The DoD project also adapted the lessons of a two-year test
at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., that ended in January 2001
when FSMP absorbed it. The Georgia test moved more than
3,500 shipments, including all outbound moves of household
goods from Hunter to worldwide destinations.
In the Hunter personal property pilot, one company, Cendant
Mobility Corp., was responsible for all aspects of the
move. The company offered a toll-free telephone contact,
in-transit visibility, full replacement value coverage,
direct claims settlement by the move manager and on-time
"We've incorporated much of that into the Full Service Move
Project," Hutchinson said.
The reason for the various pilots is to allow DoD to test
different ways of handling household goods and relocation
services to see which is best for everyone. Integrating
best commercial practices is one of the main objectives of
all the pilots, Hutchinson said.
The U.S. Transportation Command is tasked with reviewing
and analyzing the three pilot programs. Upon completion of
the analysis the command and the military services will
coordinate recommendations to the secretary of defense on
actions needed to improve DoD personal property moves.
Hutchinson said FSMP launched Jan. 8 at Minot Air Force
Base, N.D., and will impact only a small portion of the DoD
population -- about 45,000 shipments, or 8 percent of the
DoD moving volume. The other 22 sites added since are in
the Washington National Capital Region, including the U.S.
Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and all DoD locations in
Georgia except Warner-Robins Air Force Base. All the
military services, including the Coast Guard, are
The project handles all outbound shipments from the 23
sites. "We have a few exceptions to our program,"
Hutchinson noted. "We don't do nonpermanent storage, local
moves or moves to certain areas overseas."
FSMP provides service members with a single point of
contact throughout their move. That manager assesses the
customer's household goods needs and coordinates and
arranges those requirements with a mover. The move manager
assists in the claims process if property is damaged or
Other key features of the project include:
o Full replacement value protection rather than depreciated
value for lost or damaged household goods up to a maximum
o Claim settled and check in hand within 45 days.
o Quick claims settlement option for claims under $500.
o Direct claims processing.
o Guaranteed arrival within a two-hour window for packing,
pickup and delivery.
o Binding estimates for excess costs.
o A toll-free telephone number to contact move managers.
o Voluntary, optional relocation services, such as
referrals for home selling and buying.
o Carriers are selected by a process emphasizing best value
rather than lowest cost.
The MTMC pilot program moves half of all outbound shipments
from the Carolinas and Florida. "They, too, have some
exceptions," Hutchinson noted. "They don't do nonpermanent
storage, local moves and don't handle civilian moves."
Saying the price tag proved too high, the Navy recently
pulled the plug on its SAM test. A kind of do-it-yourself
move, it allowed sailors to select their mover from a list
provided by their transportation office. SAM was available
in Norfolk, Va.; Groton, Conn.; Puget Sound-Whidbey Island,
Wash.; and San Diego to anywhere else in the continental
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:22:46 -0700
Subject: New Posting to Deploymentlink
See Message from the Special Assistant about family support programs at:
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:23:16 -0700
Subject: Documentary Filmmaker Discusses Racism at DoD Forum
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2001 -- Senior DoD officials and equal
opportunity specialists gathered here May 7 to hear an
Asian American filmmaker noted for his poignant work in
interracial communication and the meaning of racism.
Attendees at the third annual DoD Forum on Asian-Pacific
American Affairs included Claiborne Douglas Haughton Jr.,
acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for equal
opportunity; Randall A. Yim, deputy undersecretary of
defense for installations; Judith C. Gilliom, manager of
the DoD Asian/Pacific American Program; and Army Reserve
Col. Coral Wong Pietsch, set to become the first female
Asian-Pacific American general officer in the Judge
Advocate General Corps.
DoD's military and civilian workforces are becoming more
ethnically diverse, Haughton said. Respecting cultural
differences "can build bridges, booster teamwork, improve
productivity and quality, and enhance readiness," he added.
However, "if we're not vigilant, we can allow our
increasing diversity to deteriorate into divisiveness and
adversity," Haughton said.
Lee Mun Wah, a Chinese-American documentary filmmaker, poet
and diversity consultant from Oakland, Calif., has spent
years building such bridges. His documentary film, "The
Color of Fear," graphically depicts the human costs of
racism. That film, an award-winner like two others he has
made, was nationally broadcast on Oprah Winfrey's
television show in 1995.
The former schoolteacher said his life was forever changed
16 years ago when his mother was shot and killed in her
home by an African-American burglar. Rather than becoming
infused with anger, Lee said he decided to reach out to
effect more understanding between all races.
At a workshop years later, Lee told the story of his
mother's death. In the audience, he said, was the mother of
the man who had killed his mother.
"I walked across off the stage, she walked out of the
audience and we held each other," Lee said. "I, for the son
she lost; she, for the mother that I lost.
"I had to look at my own racism that my father had taught
me about blacks and Jews and Latinos."
A major factor influencing race relations in America today,
Lee said, is that people of non-European ancestry are often
required to give up much if not all of their heritage,
language and culture -- an essential part of their
personalities -- when they arrive in America.
As part of pressures to "fit in" in America, Lee said his
father never spoke his Chinese name in public.
"When he came to this country they told him his name was
too difficult to pronounce, so they changed it to Richard,"
Lee, who noted his Chinese name means "He Who Writes,"
remarked that his father sought to protect him from racism
even when he was an infant.
"On the day that I was born, my father did not put Lee Mun
Wah on the birth certificate. My father put 'Gary Lee,'" he
said. "My father had a dream and a hope that maybe I
wouldn't go through the same racism that he did."
Lee said he learned to speak "perfect English" to please
his father, but in the process lost command of Cantonese
when he began school at age 5. A desire to fit in, combined
with societal prejudice and repression of heritage, he
said, can be extremely frustrating to Americans with non-
Pietsch, who is of Chinese-Bohemian heritage, amplified
Lee's observation. She said that as a young girl she once
hacked off some of her black hair in frustration after a
Catholic nun made an insensitive joke in light of her
Chinese features and heritage.
"I didn't want dark hair, I wanted light brown hair," she
Lee's documentaries on race feature regular people -- not
actors. In "The Color of Fear," an African-American man
explodes in frustration and anger at a white man during a
group discussion on race.
The antidote to racism within truly free societies is to
seek inclusion of all ethnic groups and to foster respect
and understanding of all peoples, Lee said. American
society has a long way to go in this regard, he said,
adding that he still remembers being taunted in the first
grade when other children would call him "Ching Chong
A number of Asian Americans in the audience raised their
hands when Lee asked if anyone in the room remembered
similar treatment when they were children.
"The sad thing is that it is still happening today in the
year 2001," Lee said. "That song, 'Ching Chong Chinaman,'
is on every playground in America.
"We love this country and what it means, but there are
times when we're left out," he concluded.
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:23:58 -0700
Subject: DoD Working Against Tough Recruiting Environment
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2001 -- America's hot economy may be
cooling, but the recruiting environment is still tough and
will stay that way through the decade, said Vice Adm. Pat
Tracey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military
Despite fierce competition, DoD still attracts more than
300,000 well-qualified young men and women each year. "The
services all meet the quality standards of high school
graduate status and upper mental groups," Tracey said.
She said the department expects to meet end-strength
figures for all components except the Air Force, Air
National Guard and Air Force Reserve. There is also some
concern about end-strength for the Naval Reserve.
Tracey said three factors combine to make recruiting tough.
Ironically, all three factors are good for the country "and
we shouldn't wish it to be otherwise -- but it certainly
makes recruiting a little bit more difficult than it has
been," she said.
First, unemployment is low, though increasing of late.
Traditionally, the military has had a hard time getting
recruits during boom times. "Youngsters of the caliber we
are looking for have lots of other options," she said.
Second, the United States is at peace. "That's something
the military should take great credit for. We won the Cold
War, and as a consequence people don't feel threatened as
they had in the past," she said. At the same time, the need
for an armed force is less clear. "It's harder for people
to understand why military service matters right now."
Finally, 80 percent of high school graduates indicate a
desire to go to college and two-thirds do enroll.
"Youngsters know the lifetime earnings of college graduates
are much higher than those of high school students," she
said. "We see colleges as our biggest competition." The
military knows how to recruit high-quality people from high
schools, but recruiting from colleges is a learning
experience, Tracey said.
DoD also is going to have to go after those young people
who start college, but who don't finish for one reason or
another, she said.
"The enrollment rate has climbed very rapidly over the last
10 years, but the graduation rate ... has not," she said. "A
high percentage of youngsters start college and can't quite
stay on track to finish it." There may be ways DoD can work
with colleges and universities to get the word of DoD
opportunities to those students.
"Recruiting a large percentage of our initial enlistment
population from the college dropout market will also be a
bit of a concern because we're talking about high-quality
kids who disappointed themselves in their first adult
choice," she said. "We need to have thought through how to
deal with them. We need to be prepared in both initial
entry training and the technical schools to restore a sense
Tracey mentioned other resources DoD is using to good
effect to attract quality recruits. Education programs and
enlistment bonuses for certain specialties continue to be
among the programs the services use to attract recruits. In
addition, DoD and the services are spending more on
advertising. They are also changing how they advertise,
such as targeting advertising to specific areas and
increasing their use of the Internet as a vehicle for
advertising. Perhaps most importantly, service and joint
advertising has begun to emphasize the intrinsic value of
military service rather than the benefits.
Here are the recruiting results for fiscal 2001 through
Service Goal Achieved Percent
Army 28,000 28,648 102
Navy 18,585 18,148 98
Marines Corps 11,017 11,360 103
Air Force 13,993 14,235 102
Total Active 71,595 72,391 101
Army Reserve 14,968 15,671 105
Naval Reserve 6,198 5,809 94
MC Reserve 3,206 3,490 109
AF Reserve 2,849 3,229 113
Army Guard 23,103 24,481 106
Air Guard 4,920 4,585 93
Total Reserve 55,244 57,265 104
Total DoD 126,839 129,656 102
<i>Related Site of Interest:<li>AFPS News Article: <a href=
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2001/n05092001_200105092.html >DoD Working on Retention
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:24:50 -0700
Subject: First Lady Announces Tenfold Increase in Troops to Teachers Funding
By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
FORT JACKSON, S.C. May 9, 2001 -- First lady Laura Bush
announced May 8 that her husband has requested a tenfold
increase in funding -- from $3 million to $30 million --
for the Troops to Teachers program next year.
"I hope that sends a message about how important it is to
encourage people to choose teaching, and particularly how
important it is to encourage retiring military," Bush said
in an American Forces Information Service interview during
her visit here.
The first lady was in South Carolina to speak about the
federally funded Troops to Teachers program and to
commemorate National Teachers Day. She spoke to students
and faculty at the post's Pinckney Elementary, a DoD
"Men and women of the United States military, you answered
the call to serve your country in the finest armed services
in the world," Bush said to the several hundred Fort
Jackson soldiers in attendance. "So as you prepare to leave
the military, we ask you to turn your attention to the
homefront, to Uncle Sam's classrooms, where we need your
service as teachers."
The Troops to Teachers program is run by the Defense
Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. The current
program provides referral assistance and placement services
to military personnel interested in becoming teachers after
their military service.
Under the president's increased budget request, the program
would begin paying participants up to $5,000 to help cover
the costs of a teacher certification program, White House
officials said. Some participants would also receive a
$10,000 bonus if they accept a job in a "high-needs" school
district, such as in a very rural area or an inner-city
school. Those receiving either financial benefit would then
be obligated to teach for at least four years, they said.
Bush said she believes many of the attributes that
contribute to success in the military lead to success as a
"You're tremendous role models with a sense of duty, honor
and country that our children would do well to emulate,"
said Bush, a former elementary school teacher. She noted
that more than 4,000 retired troops have become teachers
through this program, but that the country will need "tens
of thousands" of new teachers in the next decade.
Many people in the audience echoed the first lady's
sentiments. Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Bowman, an instructor at
the Army recruiting school here, said he hopes Bush's
support will get units to work harder to sell the Troops to
Teachers program to retiring and separating service
members. "It says a lot that she's here on an Army base to
talk about this," he said.
Col. Kevin Shwedo, commander of the 1st Basic Combat
Training Brigade here, said he hopes the first lady's
support of the program will inspire nationwide interest.
"The idea of taking a lot of motivated trainers who are
great around young people and putting them in the classroom
will give students the mentorship and the guidance that
will make superb students," he said.
His 12-year-old son, Ryan, a sixth grader at Pinckney, was
a little more succinct than his dad. "It's really cool," he
said of the Bush visit.
In her speech, Bush asked separating service members to
accept another challenge, that of working toward America's
future. "I think retiring military personnel who choose
teaching as a career will find that it is a very rewarding
career," she said during her later interview. "Working with
young people is one of the most rewarding things people can
Pinckney fourth-grade teacher Macie Burgess said teaching
is definitely a challenge. "It's not just workbooks
anymore," she said. "Every teacher I know works hard. Kids
today know a whole lot more than kids did when I was coming
(through school). They've gotten so technologically
She noted that children flourish in a structured
environment. "And, of course, the military is nothing but
structure," Burgess said.
Bush cataloged some of the Troops to Teachers program's
lesser-known benefits during the AFIS interview. Having
military people in close contact with the nation's youth
might boost recruiting, she said. Some young people might
be so impressed by a teacher with military experience that
they might decide to join themselves.
She also said the program brings many men into teaching, a
profession traditionally dominated by women. The first lady
noted that men comprise about 86 percent of the people who
have become teachers through this program.
"In this time of a lot of single parents (and) a lot of
children at home without a dad, it's so important to bring
men into the schools for children to have good role
models," Bush said.
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:25:29 -0700
Subject: Land Warrior Coming to a Grunt Near You
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2001 -- The Land Warrior system may not
be fashionable, but it's what the well-dressed infantryman
will fight in.
Members of Congress and their staffs got a chance to see
what well-dressed grunts will wear during a May 3
demonstration of the Land Warrior technology at the Rayburn
House Office Building here. The system designed by Army
researchers based in Natick, Mass., is aimed at making
service members more lethal on future battlefields.
The system integrates existing computer and communication
technologies with weaponry. The Army program -- being
watched closely by the other services -- looks at the
personal gear of infantrymen and works to integrate the
Sgt. Joshua Katz, a Ranger from Fort Benning, Ga.,
demonstrated Land Warrior Version 6 on the Hill. He
detailed what the "battle rattle" means to service members.
The heart of the system is a wireless local area network.
"In this (an infantryman) has a computer in the back with a
separate communications/navigation system," he said. "What
he sees is transmitted to all." It's a true network, not
"He sees a map through the heads-up display," Katz said.
"This shows his icon on the map with a 10-digit display and
it will show the other land warriors and their positions."
It also shows actual or suspected enemy positions.
The system operates off a rechargeable lithium battery good
for six to eight hours if everything's turned on. Katz said
there's also a nonrechargeable battery for combat that
lasts up to 12 hours.
The warrior wears a vest that can be configured in many
ways depending on the mission and the infantryman's
comfort, he said. It's married up with body armor that will
protect the soldier from 9mm bullets and shrapnel. "Put in
two plates, front and back, and they will stop multiple
hits from 7.62mm rounds," Katz said.
The future warrior's Kevlar helmet is cut shorter and is
more comfortable than the present day helmet, he said. The
soldier will also have protective knee and elbow pads for
when they're "running and gunning."
"The weapon is an M-4 carbine with a Picatinny rail system
mounted on the front," Katz said. "That allows him to
interchange optics on the weapon." The M-4 is a variant of
the standard-issue M-16A2 rifle, modified for U.S. special
The optic systems include a daylight video sight that feeds
through a wire to the head-mounted video display. It will
take still pictures and send them over the local area
wireless network. A lightweight thermal sight provides
night and low-light vision and can see through fog and
"The M-68 close-combat optic is for ranges of 300 meters
and below. The back of the weapon has a flip-up iron sight
in case the optics fail," Katz said. "That means a soldier
can still do everything a soldier needs to do: shoot, move
All the weapon information goes into the heads-up display.
Soldiers look at the heads-up display through ballistic
laser protection glasses.
The personal load is the same as today, 79 pounds, he said,
while the combat load is 92 pounds and includes the weight
of water and ammunition. "The Army chief of staff, Gen.
(Eric) Shinseki, said we can't go forward (with the
project) if there's an increase weight at all," Katz said.
The first Land Warrior version will be fielded in fiscal
2004. The Army expects to procure 34,000 sets of the
system. That system will be more streamlined and will
contain a multifunction laser. Soldiers will be able to
point the laser at a target and the information will go
directly to the network. This will allow the soldier to
call for artillery fire, for example, without having to
voice transmit coordinates.
Future versions of Land Warrior will seek to reduce the
weight of the system.
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:26:13 -0700
Subject: New Rations in Pipeline for Service Members
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2001 -- Military food has had a bad rap
through the ages.
In the Revolutionary War, the menu at Valley Forge, Pa.,
left much to be desired. During the Civil War, many Union
soldiers received rancid pork and corn meal as their only
issued rations. During the Spanish-American War, soldiers
and Marines called desiccated rations -- essentially dried
vegetables "desecrated rations."
More recently, service members called the initial Meals,
Ready-to-Eat menus "Meals Rejected by Everybody."
Anyone who has gone to the field lately will admit that
military chow has gotten much better. The folks behind the
effort to improve rations are in the DoD Combat Feeding
Program. The scientific and technological focus lately has
been on reducing the weight and volume of the rations and
the fuel needed to heat them," said Gerald Darsch, joint
The Combat Feeding Program is for all services but comes
under the Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in
One new meal is the first-strike ration. Its intent is to
allow service members to eat on the move. "Warfighters
won't have to stop to use even a spoon," Darsch said. The
ration prototype consists of shelf-stable pocket
sandwiches, and pouches of carbohydrate-enhanced
"Zapplesauce" product and Ergo high-energy drink powder.
"What we envision is the Zapplesauce being consumed
directly from the pouch using a nozzle," he said. A fitting
on the Ergo pouch would connect to a troop's 'camelback'
water carrier -- soldiers would fill the bag with water,
shake it and then drink from a nozzle.
"Everything would be complete to 'eat on the go.' They
wouldn't have to stop in a (mobile operations in urban
terrain) environment and eat in a stairway or roof when
there are snipers around," Darsch said. The ration is about
half the weight and volume of a typical MRE, he said.
New rations don't mean that DoD is forgetting the old. "Our
combat ration improvements are as aggressive as ever," he
said. "Everything that goes into our rations is warrior-
tested, warrior-selected and warrior-approved."
New items are being added to the MRE ration line for 2001.
Service members will start seeing seafood jambalaya, beef
enchiladas and mashed potatoes. Pork chow mein and "smoky
franks" are toast.
In 2002, service members will see beefsteak with mushroom
gravy, multigrain cereal, cappuccino and hamburger patties.
Beefsteak and chicken with rice will disappear.
Darsch said Natick's future test menus include a vegetarian
manicotti and clam chowder. "My condolences to the folks
from Manhattan, there's no tomato sauce in it -- it's New
England style," he said in his broad Massachusetts accent.
Another technology the program is examining is compressed
entrees. The menu of 25 different entrées would cut the
current weight of rations by 66 percent and their volume by
75 percent. "Compressed entrées also cost 75 percent less
to make than freeze-dried items, and you get an A-ration
quality product in 4 percent of the time," Darsch said.
The Natick crew is also examining improving the quality of
regular food. Regular canned food is steamed until it is
sterile. All that cooking changes the taste and texture of
Researchers have found that pressure will sterilize food --
packers can kill pathogens by exposing unsealed pouches,
cans and other primary containers of food to 120,000 pounds
per square inch of atmospheric pressure. The pressure only
affects living organisms, Darsch said, leaving the food
fine. Because there's no high heat, the chow tastes closer
Researchers are also looking at using electric pulses to
Cooks will also benefit. Recently introduced unitized group
rations allow the services to feed troops A-ration quality
food anywhere. "Among our recent developments is a
polymeric tray to replace metal 'traycans,'" Darsch said.
"Now, the cooks don't have to call the Red Cross for blood
transfusions after they try opening the cans. We're also
expanding the number and variety of menus available."
"We'll continue working in all aspects of rations to ensure
service members get the best, most nutritious food they
can," Darsch said. "Stand by. We always have something
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:26:56 -0700
Subject: New Jersey, DC Vets Hospitals to Study War-Related Illnesses
New Jersey, DC Vets Hospitals Win Critical New Missions
Centers for Study of War-Related Illness Will Bring New Money and Expertise
(Washington, DC) -- Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4), Chairman of the House
Veterans Affairs Committee, today applauded the decision by Secretary
Anthony Prinicipi to establish two new Centers for the Study of War-Related
Illness in East Orange, New Jersey and Washington, DC.
"The establishment of two National Centers for the Study of War-Related
Illnesses, one in East Orange, New Jersey, and the other in Washington, DC,
is a significant step forward in addressing the many illnesses, injuries and
other conditions that uniquely effect men and women who have served in our
armed forces during times of peace and war," said Smith. "It is an historic
opportunity to carefully study war, its obvious and not so obvious effects
on combat veterans, and to help identify new and effective therapies for all
who have put their lives on the line for freedom and democracy," he said.
"The selection of the East Orange facility is a credit to New Jersey's VA
healthcare system and their entire team of medical professionals who work
on behalf of veterans," said Smith, who represents New Jersey's Fourth
The VA will provide $2 million for the start of costs of the Center with an
annual operating budget of $1.5 million per year with another $250,000
available per year for specific research studies based at the center.
"The lessons learned from the Vietnam and Gulf wars are that many of our
veterans return from front line duty with health problems and complications
not readily or easily diagnosed," Smith said. "Congress passed legislation
(P.L. 105-368) to establish the Centers for the study of Study of
War-Related Illnesses so that we can pull together medical, scientific, and
academic expertise and channel it towards helping veterans with conditions
that are debilitating but not easily treated."
Chairman Smith said the new National Centers "will promote the training of
health care personnel in research on causes, mechanisms and treatment of
war-related illnesses; serve as a resource center and clearinghouse for
exchanging information from the Defense Department and other federal and
non-federal entities; and coordinate with the Defense Department, Public
Health Service and other research and treatment centers in dissemination of
information about war-related illnesses."
"The establishment of these two National Centers is a victory for all
veterans who have struggled for years with medical problems that are hard to
prove," Smith said. "The mission is to help those veterans who's curative
therapies are difficult to identify, provide effective treatment, and if
appropriate, compensate them for their service," he said.
- 30 -
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 20:27:54 -0700
Subject: [Health.mil] Military Bug Chasers Help Track Down West Nile Virus
By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
FORT DETRICK, Md., May X, 2001 -- A small team of
scientists on this sleepy base north of Washington played a
crucial role in tracking down one of the more visible
public health threats to hit North America in the past
decade. And they're still working to make it easier for
public health departments to fight the disease.
Scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of
Infectious Diseases here worked closely with the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to identify the West Nile virus
when it first appeared in North America. In 1999, the virus
killed seven people and countless birds in and around New
York City. It has since spread up and down the East Coast.
West Nile virus was first identified in 1937 in Uganda.
Today its range sweeps from the southern tip of Africa
through southern Europe, southwestern Russia and east as
far as India and Pakistan. It generally causes low fever
and very mild cold symptoms in people, but can kill the
very old or sick.
In summer 1999, Tracey McNamara, a veterinary pathologist
at the Bronx Zoo, became concerned when birds began dying
in the zoo, both rare, zoo-collection birds and common
native crows, said George Ludwig, the Army institute's
chief of applied diagnostics. The CDC tentatively
identified a nearby outbreak of human illness as St. Louis
encephalitis, which is caused by a virus similar to West
"But birds don't die from St. Louis encephalitis," Ludwig
said. So McNamara didn't buy that diagnosis.
"The pattern of the types of birds that were dying didn't
fit with known viruses," said Army Maj. Tom Larsen, the
institute's chief of experimental pathology. "There are
other diseases along the Eastern seaboard that will cause
death in birds, but this wasn't causing death in the right
kinds of birds."
The quest to identify the mystery virus was on.
It didn't take long for USAMRIID scientists to identify the
unknown virus as a flavivirus, which includes West Nile,
but also St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis,
dengue and yellow fever. That's when things slowed down.
According to Ludwig, tests available at the time would have
reacted to any flavivirus. It took a long, difficult
process of genetic sequencing to positively identify West
No one was more surprised than the researchers working on
the project when West Nile virus turned up. "West Nile had
never been seen anywhere in North America before 1999,"
USAMRIID scientists have since developed two distinct tests
that can specifically identify West Nile virus without
cross-reacting with related viruses, Larsen said. One
identifies specific virus proteins; the other seeks out
Before the development of these tests, only a few
laboratories in the country could positively identify West
Nile virus. Now, thanks to the work of USAMRIID scientists,
many more laboratories have the capability.
In the first method, immunohistochemistry, perfected for
West Nile virus by the USAMRIID pathology staff, antibodies
are introduced into a tissue sample suspected of being
infected with the virus. If virus is present, the
antibodies attach themselves to proteins in the virus. This
reaction is invisible, even under a microscope.
The addition of a second antibody with a specific enzyme
attached sets up conditions for the final test step: the
addition of a chemical that changes colors if the viral
proteins are present.
The other testing method, in situ hybridization, is
similar. "Instead of looking for viral protein, you're
looking for nucleic acid," Ludwig said. He explained that
genetic material is made up of four nucleotides. Two of the
nucleotides complement the other two, which allows them to
Scientists had to design a specific sequence of nucleic
acid that will bind only to the genetic material of the
West Nile virus. "This primer is connected to an enzyme
that, in the presence of another chemical, produces a
colored reaction," Ludwig said.
USAMRIID has worked to make both methods available to other
scientists. That in turn will make it easier for public
health departments to control the spread of the virus.
But both methods have limitations, Larsen said.
It's relatively easy to make the in situ hybridization test
available to others, Larsen said. You simply publish the
correct genetic sequence and other labs make what they need
or order it from a supply company.
"But in situ hybridization is very time-consuming," Larsen
said. "And very few people do it."
Immunohistochemistry is much easier and quicker, he said,
but it's harder to obtain the antibodies needed to complete
the test. "It takes special lab capabilities to make
antibodies that are monoclonal, meaning they react only to
a specific substance," Ludwig explained. "Many antibodies
cross-react with any similar substance."
Ludwig said USAMRIID helps make the monoclonal antibodies
available to others through a cooperative research and
development agreement with BioReliance Corp., a local
"They are producing the antibody to supply to people," he
said. USAMRIID supplies the antibodies to other labs within
the federal government. "We send them some live cells, and
they can grow the antibodies themselves," Ludwig said.
USAMRIID also serves as DoD's West Nile virus reference
center. Whenever a DoD medical asset has a person they
believe might be suffering from West Nile virus, they send
samples here. Ludwig estimated his team has tested about 30
samples in the past two years from bases along the East
Coast. All were negative, he said.
If fighting a disease outbreak is like putting together a
puzzle, then identifying the culprit is only a small piece.
Ever since the virus was identified, USAMRIID scientists
have been trying to determine how it spreads from one area
to another and from birds to people.
They knew from studies in other parts of the world that
West Nile virus is mosquito-borne, but as far as prevention
goes, that presents more questions than answers, according
to USAMRIID entomologist Michael J. Turell.
Mosquitoes are not created equal, Turell said. "Certain
mosquitoes transmit certain pathogens and not others.
Certain mosquitoes breed in standing water, others breed in
tree holes, in empty tires or in streams," he said. "Some
are day biters, and some are night biters."
Turell said scientists did not know in 1999 which of the
hundreds of varieties of North American mosquitoes spread
the virus. Scientists can test mosquitoes from an area to
determine if they carry the virus, but "carry vs. transmit
is a very fine point," he said.
Mosquitoes are tested by freezing then grinding them up.
West Nile virus is present three different ways in mosquito
bodies, Turell said. It can be in a blood meal the insect
just ingested; the mosquito itself can be infected; or it
can be ready to transmit the virus to a person or other
animal. Then, too, not all infected mosquitoes can transmit
"If a mosquito feeds on a West Nile virus-infected animal,
the blood in its gut contains virus and the gut might
become infected," Turell said. "But a mosquito with an
infection limited to its gut cannot transmit virus. The
virus has to get out of the gut, through the mosquito's
body and into the salivary glands. Then it can transmit."
After a mosquito has been ground up, there's no way to tell
where the virus was inside its body. "Just saying a
mosquito was carrying virus in its body doesn't mean this
mosquito is a health threat," Turell said.
To determine which breeds of mosquitoes are competent
carriers, scientists allow mosquitoes to feed on infected
birds and wait two weeks, the usual timeframe for the virus
to move through the mosquito to its salivary glands. The
mosquitoes are then allowed to feed on non-infected birds,
to see if the birds become infected.
Even knowing which mosquitoes can transmit the virus is
only another small piece of the puzzle. If the mosquitoes
don't feed on the right species, primarily birds and
humans, they still aren't a public health threat.
West Nile virus primarily lives in crows, which it kills,
and house sparrows, which it doesn't. USAMRIID scientists
have identified several members of the Culex genus
of mosquitoes as responsible for spreading the virus among
birds. However, Culex mosquitoes rarely feed on
people, Turell said.
"Many North American mosquitoes are much less fussy about
what they feed on," he said. "I've seen salt marsh
mosquitoes try to feed on warm automobile tires." He said
some breeds may not be efficient carriers, but they pose a
health risk because they occur in large numbers and feed on
both birds and people.
"A recently introduced mosquito species, Ochlerotatus
japonicus, is spreading down the East Coast and is of
particular concern," he said. "It is an efficient
transmitter of West Nile virus in the lab and has been
found naturally infected with this virus.
Humans rarely produce enough virus in their blood for
mosquitoes to transmit it to others, Turell said.
Another piece of the puzzle is knowing the breeding and
feeding habits of mosquitoes that are efficient carriers.
This helps the public health or public works officials
responsible for controlling mosquitoes best target their
eradication programs. If a targeted mosquito only feeds at
night, spraying during the day would be a waste of time,
It also helps to let people know what situations to avoid
if West Nile virus is prevalent in an area.
"By knowing the habits of the mosquitoes, we can say, 'You
know, going to Little League games after dusk could be
really dangerous. But up until dusk, there's no risk,'"
Turell said. "Or, 'Another species bites only during the
day, so canceling night games is meaningless.'"
Turell and his coworkers have shared what they've learned
with the CDC and with public health departments along the
East Coast and across the country. "They know which
mosquitoes they have in their area," Turell said. "When a
virus shows up in an area, they know which mosquitoes they
need to target."
He called the West Nile virus's spread to North America "an
effective wake-up call" for public health departments.
Their success in controlling mosquito-borne illnesses in
the past has led to steady cuts in public health and
mosquito abatement funding for "the last couple decades,"
"If they're doing their jobs, public health threats go down
and funding gets reduced for public health departments,"
Turell said. "But then the threat can increase again."
He said the West Nile virus's migration to North America
shows how easily even more serious health threats could
enter our country.
"Foot and mouth, Ebola, 'mad cow' -- any of these could
come to the United States any day," Turell said. "The
public health infrastructure is critical in early
recognition and containment of many different health
threats. The question isn't if they're going to get here,
it's when they're going to get here. Air travel just makes
it too easy to move these things across borders."
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End vete...@services.vnis.com Digest [05/11/2001 18:01]