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Reveille: Local Ships to Deploy, Young Iraq Leaders in San Diego, Camp Pendleton To Build New Hospital, Alan Simpson Chided, Gates Predicts long Afghan Stay

San Diego ships about to deploy - The San Diego-based destroyers USS Halsey and USS Sterett and guided missile cruiser Cape St. George will be heading out this month as part of a strike group on routine deployment in the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. The strike group will be led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and will also include destroyers USS Momsen and USS Shoup. The Lincoln returned from a seven-month mission supporting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in October 2008 and underwent a nine-month $250 million overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Seattle Times

Young leaders from Iraq visit San Diego - I was fortunate enough to spend a day with the Young Leader delegation from Iraq, a group of 18 Iraqi high school students who were hosted by the Citizen Diplomacy Council of San Diego, a non-profit organization that encourages international understanding by hosting delegations to meet with their American professional counterparts. These Young Leaders were chosen by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, based on their interest in leadership, written essays, and English language skills. They met with American professional leaders in government, private enterprise, and non-profit groups to learn about leadership. People to People International

$451 Million Camp Pendleton Hospital Deal Awarded - The Navy has awarded a contract worth as much as $451 million to design and build a new hospital at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The hospital project is the largest Navy project to be awarded out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The 500,000-square-foot, multilevel hospital will sit on 70 acres at Camp Pendleton. A 1,500-space parking structure is planned as well. The Navy plans to complete the work by 2014. San Diego Business Journal

The Hill Chides Alan Simpson - "This week Alan Simpson blamed disabled veterans for adding to our nation's budget deficit. His comments came just days after a Veterans Administration announcement that it is expanding eligibility for disability compensation to veterans suffering from three diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange, correcting a long running injustice. I recognize the need to bring deficit spending under control but cutting funding for those that have helped to build and protect this nation and its ideals is unacceptable." The Hill's Congress Blog

Robert Gates predicts long stay in Afghanistan - In an interview with Fox News, the defense secretary predicted U.S. forces will remain deployed in the Afghan theater for several years to come. "My gut tells me that we will probably have a troop presence in Afghanistan for some period of time," Gates said. "I don't know what that period of time is. I would say certainly more than two years. It will depend on the success of our operations, on the pressures the Taliban feel themselves under when they discover in August of 2011 we're not gone." Fox News