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Military News Briefs for the Week of Oct. 27, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2000 – This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news

stories for the week ending Oct. 27, 2000.



U.S. Central Command officials have declared Threat Condition Delta, the highest threat level, in Bahrain and Qatar, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said Oct. 24.

"Given the circumstances, the recent attack on the Cole and the generally higher level of threat throughout the region," he said, "we thought it was simply the prudent thing to do to go to that higher threat condition in those two specific areas."

The entire Central Command area of responsibility went to Threat Condition Charlie immediately after the Oct. 12 attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen. Based on the most recent threat assessment, military leaders raised the threat level in Bahrain, where about 1,100 U.S. service members are stationed, and in Qatar, where fewer than 50 U.S. service members tend pre-positioned equipment.

"Vessels in the U.S. Fifth Fleet will remain at sea for the foreseeable future," Quigley said. The threat condition throughout the rest of Central Command, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, remains at Threat Condition Charlie.

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The Defense Commissary Agency is once again teaming with the producers of a popular show touring U.S. military bases to ramp up support for a holiday letter writing campaign.

The contest runs through Nov. 11. Letters must be between 100 and 150 words long and begin with, "Dear Service Member, I just want to say thanks for ... ." Official entry forms can be picked up from displays in commissary stores, and letters can be mailed or returned to the commissary displays. Visit the contest Web site at http://www.letters-from-the-front.com/contest2.htm for information, complete rules and downloadable entry forms.

Prizes will be awarded in three age groups: under 12, 12-18 and over 19. The two grand-prize winners under 19 will receive $3,000 scholarships; the adult grand- prize winner will receive a $3,000 computer system. Local prizes will also be awarded for winning entries returned through the commissaries.

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Pentagon leaders honored the Navy's past and present deep-sea divers here Oct. 21 and gave "four stars" to a new film about one of the Navy's diving heroes.

Due to open nationwide Nov. 10, "Men of Honor" tells the story of retired Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African-American to become a Navy diver. Brashear, the son of a Kentucky sharecropper, joined the Navy in 1948 and race and, later, the loss of a leg, to become a "master diver." The movie stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as Brashear and Robert DeNiro as Master Chief Petty Officer Billy Sunday. The film portrays their courage, determination and perseverance.

Defense Secretary William Cohen presented Brashear with the Secretary of Defense Award for Outstanding Public Service for 42 years of military and federal civilian service. Navy Cmdr.Mark Helmkamp and Master Chief Petty Officer John Schnoering ofthe Navy Diving and Salvage School, Panama City, Fla., presented Brashear with a framed Navy diving certificate. They also madeGooding an honorary diver.

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