Military News

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Middle East Peace Plan

Ok, so Prime Minister Netanyahu met President Obama today.

One of the contentious issues is Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians say all the Jews living there must be ethnically cleansed.

I have a deal. I'll swap you the 300,000 or so Jews living in Judea/Samaria for for the million Arabs living in Israel.

Deal?

Oh, and the Israelis hang on to eastern Jerusalem.

HSC-25 Teams with Coast Guard, Guam Fire Department to Save Fishermen

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas Public Affairs/Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 rescued two stranded fishermen on a 14-foot fishing boat about 35 miles west of Guam July 1.

The command received a call from U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Guam around midnight July 1 following a report of the missing fishermen.

One helicopter was dispatched shortly after notification, and a second helicopter dispatched about 10 a.m. and more than an hour into the search its crew members spotted a trail of debris.

"Apparently, the fishermen were breaking off parts of their boat and were leaving them in the water in hopes that the trail would help SAR [search and rescue] find them," said Lt. j.g. Mark Klein of HSC-25.

According to a USCG press release, the fishermen set off early June 30 but did not return later that day as expected. Family members reported them missing to the Guam Fire Department. USCGC Washington (WPB-1331), HSC-25 and the Guam Police Department participated in the search south of Guam.

HSC-25 SAR helicopters found the boat around noon drifting 31 miles northwest of the Agat coastline.

"The outboard motor had stopped working and the boat had been drifting," said Lt. Matt Sevier, helicopter aircraft commander and pilot of the rescuing helicopter. "After spotting the boat, we flew up by it and our rescue swimmer, Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class (AW/SW) Frank Breitbach, swam out and got them strapped into the rescue nets and we pulled them up."

Sevier said HSC-25's flight surgeon, Air Force Capt. Stanley Kimball, attended to the fishermen, and the crew brought them to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam around 12:45 p.m. July 1.

"HSC-25 is charged with SAR and MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) responsibilities 24/7 so it's part of the job. But it's more than that. It feels good to know that we're saving lives and helping the people of this island and this region," said Sevier.

Two additional members of the rescuing helicopter crew were Lt. j.g. Justin Pacheco, the second pilot, and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Heath Smith, the helicopter crew chief.

Sevier said the mission is one example of the team effort within HSC-25.

"We're one big team here at HSC-25. We all play different roles that help make this such a great command," said Sevier. "This search and rescue, as well as HSC-25's many other life-saving missions here on Guam, would not be possible without the tireless efforts of the maintenance and flight line personnel that work around the clock to keep each aircraft flying."

He added that successful SAR missions on Guam and in the region are also testimony to the collaboration between the command and the island's SAR groups.

"Coast Guard, Guam Fire and Rescue, Guam Police Department, and, on board with us, our Air Force flight surgeon – this was everyone working together, making sure that the people of this island are safe," said Sevier.

HSC-25 is the Navy's only forward-deployed MH-60S Sea Hawk expeditionary squadron. As part of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, it provides an armed helicopter capability for 7th and 5th Fleet, as well as detachments to various commands covering a diverse mission set. It is also the Navy's only squadron that maintains a 24-hour SAR and MEDEVAC alert posture directly supporting U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and Joint Region Marianas.

Afghan airmen perform Mi-17 sling load

by Capt. Rob Leese
438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/6/2010 - KABUL, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Afghan airmen and Combined Air Power Transition Force advisers conducted an operational sling load with an Mi-17 transport helicopter July 1 from Kabul International Airport to Forward Operating Base Orgun-e, Afghanistan in the Paktika province.

Flying 12,500 feet above sea-level and carrying a 3,200-pound crate, the Mi-17 handled the load with very few problems. This allows the Afghan air force's 377th Helicopter Squadron members another way to move heavy and oversized equipment or to deliver the equipment in a place without a landing zone.

"The Afghans could actually sling load a lot of heavier or bigger equipment, something that they couldn't put on a C-27 (Spartan) or an AN-32 (Airlifter) or even load into the Mi-17," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Marsh, a master rigger. "They could sling load this equipment into a location and get the resource and supplies to the people there that need it."

In the future, the sling load capability will open up even more opportunities to the Afghan air force and allow airmen to deliver equipment almost anywhere the Mi-17 travels.

Command's first-ever Global Strike Challenge under way

by Crystal Jordan
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

7/6/2010 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Intercontinental ballistic missile, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress and B-1 Lancer units are competing in the first Global Strike Challenge, showcasing the capabilities and expertise of missile, bomber and security forces Airmen.

"Global Strike Challenge will help us build pride and a culture of excellence," said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, the Air Force Global Strike Command commander.

It is "the beginning of a new tradition-- the best of the past launching us into the future," he said.

Global Strike Challenge pits units' top security forces, maintainers, and missile and bomber crews in head-to-head competition to be recognized as the best of the best.

As many as 400 Airmen are competing, including Airmen from Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command and the Air Reserve Component.

Global Strike Challenge is a combination of the best of what used to be known as "bomb comp" and the best of the former "missile comp," officials said.

"As our premier crews train with great intensity for this competition, they are at the same time becoming unrivaled technical and weapons systems experts in their given disciplines," the general said. "The knowledge that each Airman gains while preparing for Global Strike Challenge will raise the bar at his or her unit and base, and ultimately strengthen the Air Force nuclear enterprise for years to come."

As part of the competition, competitors will come to the Shreveport-Bossier City area in November for a strategic deterrence and global strike technology symposium, the security forces portion of the competition and official score-posting ceremonies.

"The symposium will give us a chance to gather together and exchange lessons learned through combat experience," said Lt. Col. Michael Petrosh, the Global Strike Challenge lead project officer. "This type of cooperation allows us to use this knowledge in future decisions during real-world operations, which is the ultimate benefit of competitions like Global Strike Challenge."

The first scored event started April 12 with a bomb load competition at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., hosted by the 5th Bomb Wing's maintenance group.

"This gives our Airmen an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a huge audience," said Chief Master Sgt. Dan North, the 5th Maintenance Group superintendent.

The 5th Bomb Wing is competing against the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo.

AFRC's 917th Wing at Barksdale AFB and the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing are also participating in the bomb competition.

Also invited to compete are B-1 Lancer teams from Ellsworth AFB and its operations support, weapons school, and weapons test squadrons, officials said.

The missile competition, starting at the end of August, will involve the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB and the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

The security forces competition is scheduled to begin Nov. 13 at Barksdale AFB.

Official score-posting will be at Barksdale AFB Nov. 15 through 18, in conjunction with the Global Strike Challenge technology symposium.

Gen. Alston takes reins of 20th Air Force

7/6/2010 - F.E. WARRREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. (AFNS) -- Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston assumed command of the 20th Air Force from Gen. Roger W. Burg July 1 on F. E. Warren's historic Argonne Parade Field in a ceremony which also marked General Burg's retirement from active duty after 32 years of service.

Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff; Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, were the featured speakers.

Several other active-duty and retired Air Force senior officers attended including Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command, and Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, adjutant general of the Wyoming National Guard, along with command chiefs and civic leaders from 20th Air Force's three missile bases here, at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and at Minot AFB, N.D. Their presence underscored the enduring importance of the Air Force's nuclear deterrence and global strike forces.

Assuming command, General Alston said "This is a great honor and opportunity." He said his family and he "just couldn't be more excited to become, once again, members of the 20th AF family and come back into the ICBM business."

Hundreds of Airmen participated in the pass in review during the 10 a.m. ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

General Klotz called General Alston "a leader of strong conviction, who has great passion for the mission and its Airmen, and who knows the ICBM and nuclear business inside-out."

"I cannot think of anyone more qualified than General Alston to take command of 20th Air Force at this point in our history," he said.

"We are all confident that Major General Don Alston and Ana Alston will continue the proud heritage of this great organization and successfully lead 20th Air Force through the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead," General Klotz said.

General Alston thanked General Burg for passing to him a command filled with strong leaders and a devoted force with well-trained, highly competent Airmen.

In retiring General Burg, General Schwartz also noted the significance of former commander's career, culminating in his role at the helm of 20th Air Force.

"During his tenure, 20th Air Force continued its longstanding excellence in maintaining one-third of the strategic Triad; providing the nation with combat-ready ICBMs on alert, and protecting us with the essential umbrella of deterrence," General Schwartz said.

The official party, in F.E. Warren AFB tradition, departed the ceremony by horse-drawn carriage.