Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arctic Reservist becomes U.S. Citizen

by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

7/30/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- An Airman assigned to the 477th Fighter Group became a U.S. citizen in a ceremony at the U.S. District Court in Anchorage July 27.

After passing a 100 question examination and successfully completing an interview Senior Airman Noel Magcalas along with 52 other individuals took the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen.

"It was an awesome feeling to be granted citizenship," said Magcalas. "I feel complete now."

In 1996 Noel Magcalas was invited to spend the summer in Alaska by his aunt and uncle from his home in the Philippines. During that summer he fell in love with Alaska and the American way of life.

With a few English classes under his belt he enrolled in Dimond High School in Anchorage and graduated in 1999. After graduating he worked and took classes at the University of Alaska before joining the Air Force as a Reservist assigned to the 477th Fighter Group.

"I decided to join the Air Force Reserve because it would allow me to serve and stay in Alaska," he said. "I am proud to call myself an Arctic Reservist. The support that my unit and my family gave me helped me in my quest to gain citizenship."

There are approximately 32,000 U.S. military members serving as a legal resident in hopes of attaining citizenship. They must meet numerous guidelines including being able to read, write and speak basic English; having been a person of good moral character; and having continuously resided in the United States for at least five years.

Panetta to Discuss Iran with Israeli Allies

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 31, 2012 – U.S. defense officials will discuss the threat Iran poses to the Middle East and the world with Israeli officials during a visit to the close Middle Eastern ally today.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is here to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons is square on the agenda.

Israeli and American leaders “continue to work together in the effort to ensure that Iran does not reach that point of developing a nuclear weapon,” Panetta said at a news conference in Cairo before leaving for Tel Aviv. It is wrong, however, to characterize the discussions in Israel as an exchange of war plans, the secretary said.

“What we are discussing is various contingencies and how we would respond,” Panetta said. “We don’t talk about specific military plans. We continue to run a number of options in that area, but the discussions I will have in Israel [will be to determine] the threat we are confronting and to share both information and intelligence on it.”

The United States also is concerned about Syria, Panetta said.

“The situation right now is the United States continues to work with our international allies to try to bring as much pressure as possible on the Assad regime,” Panetta said.

Meanwhile, he added, the United States is working to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrians who have taken refuge in Turkey and Jordan and helping with security of Syrian chemical-biological sites.

Dobbins' exercise physiologist works with Carolina Panthers

by Senior Airman Elizabeth Van Patten
94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2012 - DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- John Mikula, Dobbins Air Reserve Base exercise physiologist, had the opportunity to work with Joe Kenn, Carolina Panthers coach, and the rest of the Panthers franchise recently, as a visiting strength and conditioning coach during their Rookie Mini-Camp in Charlotte, N.C.

Mikula makes a regular habit of communicating with others who excel in his field to learn new practices. With this in mind, he kept in contact with Kenn, identifying similarities between training in the military and the National Football league.

"To me it's a no-brainer to help someone working with the military," said Kenn. "We owe everything to those in the military."

Coach Kenn places a lot of emphasis on endurance, balance and movement, dynamic strength and hard work, according to Mikula. He was very excited to have a strength coach working with the military in camp and eagerly agreed to wear an Air Force t-shirt during one of the training days.

"It was pretty cool too to hear the military cadence the athletes worked out to in the strength room on that day as well," said Mikula. "Coach Kenn is regarded as one of the best strength coaches in all of sports and it was an honor to be able to learn from him during the Panthers Rookie Camp."

A few weeks later, Rashad Roberts, Panthers assistant strength coach and Austell, Ga. native, stopped by the base for strength and conditioning discussion with Mikula. The two discussed Air Force fitness testing and Dobbins' approach to strength and conditioning.

A specific area of discussion was the use of Total Body Resistance Exercise, or TRX, Suspension Training, which has roots in Navy SEAL training. The conversation focused on common threads in training for athletes, both on the field of competition and in gaining the tactical advantage.

Mikula asserted, and Roberts agreed, that the fitness methodology for keeping a defensive back on the field or an Airman on the flight line at the basic level is not that different. Developing lean, conditioned and resilient athletes is safe and more effective. Also the cost of not do so is also similar - decreased productivity, tactical continuity, morale and overall well-being.

"To me it's very important to continue to be a student of the game, to gain perspective on best practices," said Mikula. "I'm thankful for peers like Coach Kenn and for the Carolina Panthers organization for helping increase my skill-sets in order to benefit Airmen."

Mikula offers strength and conditioning classes for Dobbins members on a regular basis. For more information, please contact John Mikula by phone at 678-655-4363.

Reserve A-10 unit reconnects with history during Pacific exercise

by Staff Sgt. Ted Daigle
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

7/30/2012 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- From shooting down bombers during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, to missiles at a naval hulk during this year's Rim of the Pacific exercise, the 47th Fighter Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., has a long, rich history of being ready and effective in any situation. That legacy was honored during a heritage event held aboard the USS Missouri (BB 63) July 22, 2012, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Col. John Breazeale, 917th Fighter Group commander, reminded the Airmen in the audience of the unit's recent deployment to Afghanistan and the unique success enjoyed in RIMPAC honoring the legacy of all the members that came before them.

"When you think about the things the people who came before us did, it is a source of motivation. The success this unit enjoys from flying combat missions in Afghanistan to sinking ships at RIMPAC now rests on your shoulders," he said.

The event sought to highlight the contributions all members of the unit have made throughout its storied history, by having current pilots and members of the maintenance team speak about contributions made by their predecessors.

1st Lts. Shane McLaughlin and David Knighton, current 47th FS pilots, spoke about the contribution made by two former 47 FS pilots, Kenneth Taylor and George Welch, during the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

According to McLauglin, the two pilots had spent the previous night at the officer's club and had just arrived at their living quarters when the attack started. Following a quick phone call to ready their P-40 Warhawk fighters, the two threw on whatever clothes they could find, got to their planes and mounted a counter-attack.

The two pilots combined for six victories against Japanese planes that day, said Knighton.

Senior Airman John Slade, 917th Fighter Group crew chief, spoke about the contributions the maintenance teams made that day.

The maintenance crews endured repeated strafing attacks by Japanese planes, but still managed to get their planes in the air to fight off the attack, he said.

"We have to remember the guys who came before us. They set the standard that we always try to live up to," said Slade.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Phoenix Reserve unit gives back to Anchorage hosts

by Capt. Elizabeth Magnusson
944th Fighter Wing

7/30/2012 - Anchorage, AK -- The 944th Fighter Wing's Annual Tour in Alaska in July allowed members of the team to volunteer in the local community.

Twenty-eight members of the 944th Force Support Squadron split their day off between two local charities, the Alaska Botanical Garden, and the Children's Lunchbox, a charity that provides meals to needy children.

"When we found out we would have an extra day off for the 4th of July holiday, we thought it would be a great time to do something a little different for a temporary duty assignment, give back to our host community," said Capt. Derrick Young, operations officer, 944th Force Support Squadron. "We worked with the family support volunteer coordinator at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to narrow down potential volunteer sites. The Alaska Botanical Garden and the Children's Lunchbox seemed perfect for our group."

The team started the day off with a light workout in the Alaska Botanical Garden. Members divided into three groups, weeding the East Garden, fixing the wattle fence along the walkways, and laying dirt over a newly installed septic tank to prepare the area for planting.

"It was hard work, but well worth helping the local community," said Staff Sgt. Shawana Harris, assistant chief career advisor, 944th FSS. "I actually moved to Phoenix from Anchorage so it really meant a lot to me that we could come out and give back. With what we were doing you could see the improvements right away. It really was a great way to spend our day off."

According to Brie Xavier, Alaska Botanical Gardens programs and operations assistant, the gardens are open all year but only have one full-time, and eight seasonal helpers.

"Without volunteer help we wouldn't be able to keep up with all the work," said Xavier. "We really appreciate what this squadron has done. It would have taken our crew all day just to spread the dirt and your group finished it in an hour."

After a short lunch the 944th volunteers headed to the Boys and Girls Club where they were sent to three different locations to prepare meals and organize food donations.

The first group made 160 turkey club wraps, 160 ham and cheese sandwichs, and more than 200 bags of vegetable snacks for lunches.

"Here at the Boys and Girls Club we need about 40 lunches and 60 to 70 dinners a day to feed the kids who attend our activities and two other daycares," said Lynette Ortolano, program director for The Children's Lunchbox. "Any parent can bring their child to the Boys and Girls club for a meal."

After finishing the lunches, members took time to visit with the kids and challenged them to ping pong games.

The second group drove over to the portable food unit at Barrtlet High School which is located just outside one of the Air Force base. The crew sorted through and organized donated food.

The portable food unit helps students during the school year by providing up to four nutritional meals over the weekends. The program has grown one school supporting 180 students to five schools and 2,500 students.

"Thank you so much," said Carl Snyder food service specialist at the portable food unit. "It would have literally taken about four and a half weeks to do everything you did in one day. You can definitely come back anytime. There is always something to do here."

The third group went to the "cold kitchen" and put together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, veggy snack bags, and packaging everything into brown bags for delivery to families in need.

"Something we didn't know when we started today was that the Alaska Botanical Garden actually donates all the produce they grow to the Children's Lunchbox and other food banks," said Maj. Lonnie Sell, 944th FSS commander. "It was nice to see our work basically come full circle. I think we all really enjoyed our day and giving back to the Anchorage community."

Telephone operator support ends August 31

by Dianne Moffett
Air Education and Training Command public affairs

7/31/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Telephone operator support for Air Education and Training Command will end at noon, Aug. 31, ending an era for AETC bases.

"Rest assured, service to our customers is still a priority for AETC," said Rebecca Meares-Jones, chief of AETC's Command Services Flight.

Customers at AETC bases will be served through a call tree at each base, directing them to the most frequently called numbers, such as billeting, the medical clinic, the commissary, and the base exchange.

"Some phone numbers will also be available on the web, but unfortunately, complete accessibility to all numbers previously provided by the operators will not be available,"
Meares-Jones said.

Luis "Sonny" Spanoz, consolidated telephone operator supervisor, said he worked at the facility for 22 years, "it was an outstanding experience and a privilege to work here.

"We helped deployed members, wounded warriors, and family members connect with each other," said Spanoz. "The job provided fulfillment, because I knew it wasn't just a job, it was making a difference to people who were far from home and their loved ones."

"During Desert Shield and Desert Storm, we were often the only connection people had with each other," said Spanoz.

Federal employees at Joint Base San Antonio- Lackland, Maxwell, JBSA-Randolph, and Tyndall Air Force Bases needing to schedule "Meet Me" conference numbers will be directed to a website where they can schedule their own meetings, and will be subject to the availability of lines.

Every month, more than 19,000 lines were requested from all four bases.

Support for deployed and family members calls have been decentralized to the bases. Every deployed member will need to contact their base for information on how to place calls home.

In calendar year 2011, base operators answered 2,182,552 calls while providing 24-hour, seven- days-a-week support to AETC bases

621 CRW beats Mother Nature, successfully completes exercise

by Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2012 - CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. -- As hard as Mother Nature tried to wash out the training efforts, more than 65 Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., weathered the unprecedented number of thunderstorms during Exercise Mile High Response July 23-26, at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, in Guernsey, Wyo.

The 621st CRW's objective was landing zone safety officer training which included opening and operating a semi-prepared landing zone at an unfamiliar and austere location by utilizing the airfield operations team concept in order to facilitate the delivery of cargo and personnel.

To do this, the 817th Contingency Response Group led the exercise and teamed up with air mobility liaison officers from the 615th Contingency Operations Support Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., 570th Global Mobility Squadron, Travis AFB and the 818th Contingency Rresponse Group, JB MDL. Airmen from the wing's east and west coast units came together and exercised for the first time since the inactivation of the 615th CRW and merging of the two wings during a ceremony May 29. The 817th CRG also partnered with Camp Guernsey and the 302nd Operations Group, Peterson AFB, Colo.

"This exercise was about building teamwork within our unit, as well as establishing mutually beneficial relationships outside our unit," said Col. David Kuenzli, 817th CRG commander.

To establish and run an austere landing zone, the Airmen lived up to the wing's mission statement, "deploy versatile mobility Airmen, disciplined to solve problems in complex environments." Col. Kuenzli explained the environment of Exercise Mile High Response was more complex than most. The key challenges of this exercise were deploying to an unfamiliar location, operating a new mission set and the unpredictable weather.

"The best way to train and solve problems is to get away from home station," Col. Kuenzli said. "You need to put yourself into an environment that is untested and austere. We chose Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center because it offered our airlift users an unfamiliar, remote landing zone and the post gave us great support in establishing our operations."

Besides operating out of a new location, the CRG practiced a new mission: opening and operating a landing zone. This mission set expands the 621st CRW's airbase opening capability by allowing contingency response forces to work closer to remotely deployed ground forces, such as Army or Marine units at forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

To complement the landing zone training, the 817th CRG set up and trained with the mobile microwave landing system. The MMLS is a landing instrument used in austere locations where aircraft would otherwise have to land via visual flight rules. MMLS augments existing Air Force air traffic control and landing systems allowing its aircraft to operate at airfields with limited or no navigational aids in adverse weather.

The MMLS was designed to give Air Mobility Command's C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft the ability to rapidly project combat-ready forces and cargo to any location around the world. Using MMLS, aircraft approaches can frequently commence at an austere airfield in less than 24 hours.

"As it says in the name, we are mobile," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Sharp, 817th Global Mobility Readiness Squadron deployable air traffic control and landing systems NCOIC. "The MMLS can be set up by three people in less than two hours.

During the exercise the aircraft used the MMLS on three different occasions. Each time the aircrew provided feedback, the MMLS team fine tuned the system, so by the final approach, the course and glide scope was precise.

"There aren't a lot of scenarios that let us deploy and establish our MMLS, and then allows the aircrews to fly it," Kuenzli said. "So this was a very important training event for our technicians."

The final element of complexity of the exercise was the unprecedented weather. Each day, strong thunderstorms built up over the mountains and these presented lightning and potent wind hazards to both the aircrews and contingency response forces. The storms were so intense that at one point, the team was nearly flooded out of their tent shelters. With the consistently inconsistent change in weather at the landing zone and the surrounding area, the weather NCO was constantly providing updated weather reports.

"She (Staff Sgt. Kimberly Cribbs) doesn't often get the opportunity to go out and practice her trade and then have the rest of the mission rely so much on her ability to accurately forecast the weather," Kuenzli said. "She was absolutely critical to our mission success."

"I'm proud of the way our Airmen overcame these problems," Kuenzli said. "They used ingenuity and swift decision-making to get the job done. Also, the aircrews from the 302nd OG needed this training before they deploy to Afghanistan. Both organizations look forward to doing this again."

Pacom Weighs Pre-Prepositioning Logistics for Disaster Response

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
CAMP SMITH, Hawaii, July 31, 2012 – Along with more rotational deployments, U.S. Pacific Command is eyeing opportunities to pre-position some of the logistics assets being drawn down in Afghanistan to support a future disaster response or other contingency in the Asia-Pacific region.
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U.S. airmen load a pallet of relief supplies onto a C-17A Globemaster III transport jet at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., March 12, 2011, after an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis struck Japan. U.S. Pacific Command hopes to pre-position more equipment and humanitarian relief supplies in the region to expedite the response time when disaster strikes. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
U.S. Marines began serving six-month rotational deployments near Darwin, Australia, in April, and the Navy will deploy the first littoral combat ship to serve a 10-month rotation in Singapore next spring.

Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, Pacom commander, said he’ll seek more of these arrangements that put forces closer to where they might be needed in the event of a natural disaster or other crisis.
That presence, and the experience base it helps to build between U.S. and host-nation militaries, would be particularly valuable following a disaster requiring humanitarian assistance, the admiral told American Forces Press Service. It gives training to the forces that rotate in and out so they are familiar with the region and the regional militaries if they need to work together, he said. “So there is a lot of value to it,” he added.
Meanwhile, as U.S. forces draw down in Afghanistan, Pacom is working with the Defense Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to identify what materiel assets might be transferred to the Asia-Pacific.
“Part of what this office is doing is looking at the options of where we can forward locate humanitarian assistance capabilities in the theater,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark M. McLeod, Pacom’s director of logistics, engineering and security, said during an interview at the command’s Honolulu headquarters. “We want to posture them somewhere in the theater that would allow us to react very quickly.”
McLeod said many materials to be disassembled from expeditionary camps in the U.S. Central Command area of operation -- tents, blankets and generators, among them -- could be vital in a humanitarian crisis.
Although no part of the world is immune to natural disasters, none experiences them in the number or severity as the Asia-Pacific region. Located on the earthquake-prone “Ring of Fire,” it also suffers from cyclones, tsunamis, flooding, wildfires and volcanic eruptions.
“A preponderance of the natural disasters happen in this theater, so the question is raised: How do you get enough assets out here to support all of the things that happen?” McLeod said.
Financial and operational realities would make it impossible for the U.S. military to pre-position everything that would be needed in a disaster response, he said.
To a great extent, the U.S. military will continue to rely on aircraft to surge manpower and emergency provisions when called on to support a disaster response, he said. Sealift will continue to be equally important. Although slower than airlift, it’s able to deliver equipment and supplies in bulk.
But with equipment and supplies being moved out of the combat theater, McLeod said, logic dictates sending at least some of it where it’s most likely to be needed.
“As opposed to bringing it home [and] putting it in central storage facilities, it might make more sense, when we do this calculus, to forward move [materiel] to a place where we could get access to very low-cost storage capabilities,” he said.
He noted several locations, such as Singapore and the Philippines, which offer not only low-cost warehouse space, but also good airfield and port access. Even regional nations not comfortable with a visible U.S. military presence on their soil tend to be open to accepting pre-positioned equipment and supplies, typically tucked away in shipping containers and storage facilities, to support a humanitarian response.
It supports the local economy, McLeod said, while providing a ready force of equipment and supplies for U.S. troops to fall in on if called to support a disaster response. That, in turn, allows them to move in faster and hit the ground running because they don’t have to transport it thousands of miles to where it’s needed.
“So it is very much a win-win,” McLeod said. “We are looking for the opportunities to place those assets out there that will help us address that tyranny of distance.”
While officials seek these opportunities, he acknowledged, budget constraints demand good decision-making and business practices.
“The challenge for logisticians in our time of rebalance is to make sure that we can knit all that together as closely as we can and do that efficiently,” McLeod said. “Our ability to be efficient will determine our ability to be effective operationally in the future. There is no question in my mind.”

Veteran Finds Work with Help From VA, Labor Department

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2012 - Using every avenue open to veterans in their job-seeking endeavors is the key to success, a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam era said.

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Navy veteran Tim Pollard took advantage of programs offered by the Labor and Veterans Affairs departments and urges others to do the same. Labor Department photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Tim Pollard of Boston said he has benefitted from his connections to veterans groups and the Veterans Affairs Department, in addition to employment and housing assistance from the Labor Department's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

The reintegration program is an initiative that strives to get homeless veterans back on their feet and help them find employment through a variety of assistance services. Pollard was able to return to school and become certified in security services. He now is employed as a security guard for AlliedBarton Security Services.

"Utilize all the training programs possible," Pollard suggested for job-seeking veterans. "If that means going back to school for a couple years for an associate or bachelor's degree, do it."

Housing is another benefit of the numerous programs available through the Labor Department and VA to bolster homeless veterans' lives. Pollard said he recently received a housing voucher so he can find a place of his own, after living for a year at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans.

The programs lead to landing a job, Pollard said, adding that he believes veterans are top candidates for employment because they are disciplined, focused and trained to uphold honor and integrity.

Even though some veterans are struggling to find work, he said, jobs do exist, particularly in cities.

"Within the framework of cities," he said, "there are better opportunities for veterans to find work, because people come and go all the time."

Pollard said he's had many types of jobs since he left the Navy. He has from worked in the Massachusetts forest and parks department and in a museum as well as doing security work. He grew up as a "military brat" and joined the Navy as the Vietnam War was coming to a close in the mid-1970s, and he stays in touch with his military brotherhood.

It's important, he said, for veterans to stay in touch with other veterans and institutions that provide veterans services.
While some veterans might find it hard to get work, Pollard said, the key is to keep working at it.

"Don't give up hope. ... You have to be persistent," he said. "The doors will open. It's not that dark out there. It seems that way, but there will be opportunities."

AF officials poll members on food service needs, expectations

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Force officials over the next eight weeks are distributing an online food services assessment survey to more than 260,000 active-duty Airmen and civilians to gather information about customers’ food service needs and expectations.

Air Force senior leaders chartered the survey to proactively identify and meet customer needs and mission feeding requirements. The survey, which will measure use and satisfaction at installation food service facilities, will be distributed via e-mail and will take about 20 minutes to complete.

Senior leaders encourage participation so they can gauge customer satisfaction for various food service components at selected Air Force installations. The survey results will help assess the effectiveness of base-level food service operations.

“The way we provide food service within our institution is an important aspect of taking care of our Air Force members and families,” said Col. Thomas Joyce, Air Force Personnel Center Services director. “The food services assessment survey is one tool we use to identify the needs of our Air Force community.”

Remembering Raider 21

by 2nd Lt. Sarah Bergstein
36th Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, currently deployed to Andersen from Minot AFB, N.D., participated in Guam's 68th Liberation Day celebration July 21 by kicking off the annual parade with a B-52 flyover.

As Americans celebrated the anniversary of the day in 1944 when U.S. forces liberated the island from Japanese occupation, members of the 69th EBS paused to remember their own--the six Airmen of "Raider 21" who died when their B-52 crashed July 21, 2008.

"Many members of our squadron were just entering the active duty Air Force when Raider 21 crashed in 2008," said Lt. Col. Doug Gosney, 69th EBS commander. "However, several squadron personnel knew the Raider 21 crew well and had flown with them. One individual even instructed two of the crew members when they were students in training. It was an emotional memorial, especially for those that personally knew the crew of Raider 21."

The Raider 21 aircrew was deployed to Andersen in a combined deployment from both the 20th EBS and 96th EBS, Barksdale AFB, La., in support of the U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence.

The 69th EBS is currently here continuing to support that same presence.

"This is a constant reminder to all of us to be vigilant in our training," said Capt. Mike Stepan, 69th EBS instructor electronic warfare officer. "I feel such a sense of pride that I was able to serve with these guys and continue serving for them."

A monument was constructed at Adelup Point in 2009 to honor the aircrew lost off the coast of Guam during a routine mission in support of the 2008 Liberation Day parade. Captain Stepan was deployed to Guam with the 96th EBS in 2009 and attended the memorial dedication ceremony, where he met the family members of the Raider 21 crew.

"Their families and friends are also in our thoughts and prayers. We'll continue honoring them this July 21 and beyond," he said.

The memorial is in the form of a latte stone, a symbol of Guam's history, with the names of the Raider 21 aircrew etched on its surface; Col. George Martin, 36th Medical Group deputy commander, chief of aerospace medicine and flight doctor for the deployed members; Maj. Christopher Cooper, 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron aircraft commander; Maj. Brent Williams, 96th EBS radar navigator; Capt. Michael Dodson, 20th EBS copilot; 1st Lt. Robert Gerren, 20th EBS electronic warfare officer, and 1st Lt. Joshua Shepherd, 20th EBS navigator.

"These men died doing what they love--serving their country," said Maj. Joe Little, 36th Operations Support Squadron director of operations, who, along with others that knew them, have some type of memorial each year for their friends and brothers in combat, no matter where in the world they're stationed.

"Four years later, it's still emotional," said Major Little. "This year was different, actually being on Guam. It was much more moving for me, but it also brought a sense of closure."
The 69th EBS lined up in formation before the memorial. The master of ceremonies began with a red flag roll call, to which RAIDR 21 did not reply.

"It makes you realize how small the bomber community really is," said Capt. Quincy Rhinehart, 69th EBS radar navigator. "You didn't have to know the crew personally to be affected by what happened."

Captain Rhinehart read the poem, "High Flight," by John Gillespie Magee Jr. while Colonel Gosney placed flowers at the base of the memorial. A final salute was rendered from all members of the squadron.

"It was a really sobering ceremony," said 1st Lt. Rudy Monteagut, 69th EBS copilot. "I didn't know the crew personally, but seeing how emotional my squad members were made it very real for me."

The memorial serves as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifices of American servicemembers and honors those Airmen who were fulfilling their duties in support of their country, as did those in defense of their nation in the first Liberation Day of 1944.

"At our Friday night roll call, we gave them a salute--the one from the myth of Icarus," said Captain Rhinehart. "A toast," he said. "To the men who dare to fly too close to the sun."

American300 ‘Warrior Tours:’ What it’s all about…RESILIENCY

by Kate Blais
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

7/31/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Fulfilling the call to revitalize the nuclear mission in the Air Force has required Global Strike Command to take innovative approaches that have combined commander presence, improving mission performance in all areas and focus on improving the quality of life for Airmen.

Command officials note resiliency is about taking care of the human weapon system, a holistic approach to ensuring the force is fit to fight.

Just like an aircraft requires regular maintenance to ensure it operates correctly, the same is true for our Airmen, noted Lt. Col. Casey Sanders, AFGSC Personnel Directorate, Force Development Division chief

"We take into consideration the human factors and have implemented a variety of programs to strengthen the force," said Sanders.

One command initiative has included bringing American300 Warrior Tours to its bases.

Robi Powers started the foundation, American300 Warrior Tours, in 2006 and has spent most of his time since then connecting servicemembers with other Americans, such as extreme athletes and former military members, who've endured hardship and overcome challenges.

Powers explained that one of two significant losses he experienced involved the death of a fellow soldier and non commissioned officer, Master Sgt. John Stone. In 2006, Stone had been killed in a firefight and it's a loss that Powers took hard.

It's what started me on the mission of helping others and led to what I first called the program 'The Warrior Tours,'" Powers said.

"In 2009, while on a tour to the Middle East, I met a young Army Ranger Captain named Jesse Stewart. We became friends and he opened up to me about the loss of 14 of his men during a prior tour, the 2007 Task Force 300 - The Spartans Iraq Surge. So a group of us flew to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and discussed how our nonprofit, 'The Warrior Tours,' might be able to help Captain Stewart come to terms with his loss and help him continue on."

The Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, met Powers during the Air Force Marathon in 2011, said Kowalski in a recent speech.

During that first meeting, General Kowalski and Powers discussed the challenges faced by Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen, some of whom deploy to the missile complex for days at a time, or work in extreme cold and heat conditions on the flightline.

The two discussed the group bringing people who have overcome great challenges and achieved high personal goals to meet Airmen throughout the command and encourage them to do the same.

Air Force Global Strike Command invited American300 Warrior Tours to its bases with a unique program called the 'Never Quit' series, with the intent to strengthen the resiliency of Global Strike Command Airmen.

This is just one of several command programs underway designed to address quality of life, professional development and resiliency.

Others include the Striker Vistas professional development program and the Air Force Institute of Technology's Nuclear Weapons Certification Program.

Speakers on the AFGSC "Never Quit" series have included Olympic and XGames athletes: Sean Colgan, Dan Beery, Mike Schultz, Erin Simmons and Kurt Yaeger, in addition to former military members such as former Army ranger "Mad Max" Mullen, and William "Spanky" Gibson the first above knee amputee to redeploy with his prosthetic to the fronts lines in Iraq among others. The unpaid volunteer speakers are reimbursed only for travel and lodging expenses.

"The goal of the tours we have at each base is to promote that 'never quit' attitude," Powers said.

"By having people like Tom Whittaker - the first amputee to summit Mount Everest - share their stories, we can give Airmen hope and maybe something to relate to when they, too, face adversity," Powers said.

While Powers had to overcome the loss of fellow soldiers and friends "who gave their all to our country," he said, instead of giving up, he turned his grief into a dedicated effort to promote messages of resiliency to servicemembers both overseas and state-side.

"Every day I wake up and think of all the 'Spartans' that have served our country, especially two very special NCO's from my past," Powers said.

Proud to be an American Airman: AF chief of staff reflects on time as service chief, career

by Master Sgt. Angelita Colón-Francia
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

7/31/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz met with media July 24 in the Pentagon to share his thoughts about his nearly 40 years of military service in the Air Force and four years as the Air Force's senior uniformed leader.

"When former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at my Chief of Staff welcoming ceremony in August of 2008, he quipped that he and I had something in common, that both of us were planning to retire," Schwartz said. "Indeed when he asked me to continue to serve, those earlier retirement plans were put on hold. Today, however, I do plan to retire and am preparing to hang up my blue uniform for the final time."

As the Air Force Chief of Staff, Schwartz has led approximately 680,000 active-duty, National Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and around the world. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he functions as a military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President.

Schwartz rose through the ranks as a special operations pilot who also succeeded in staff and joint assignments.

He took the job as chief "at a particularly turbulent time in our Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Les A. Kodlick in his introduction of Schwartz to the media. However, Schwartz, together with Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, has had "a profound impact on the Air Force.

"Quite frankly they have made the Air Force a better service and fighting force," Kodlick said.

During his tenure, Schwartz introduced the phrase "All In" when he spoke to Airmen around the world about how the Air Force is a crucial part of the joint service team committed to winning today's fight. In addition, he implemented a series of programs designed to improve the quality of life, care and services for Airmen and their families.

Despite the strides since 2008, Schwartz said he is leaving the position during another challenging period as the Air Force contends with fewer available resources, and an increasingly complex geopolitical and security environment.

Nonetheless, Schwartz said he remains confident the Air Force will continue to thrive because of America's Airmen.

"(Airmen) are talented," he said. "They are dedicated and they will handle today's challenges and tomorrow's contingencies in the manner that has earned America's and the Joint team's trust over the years.

"Our Airmen have reinvigorated the nuclear enterprise, institutionalized remotely piloted aircraft capabilities into our service, strengthened our support and our care for one another and for our families, clearly demonstrated our committed to the joint fight and established a program of record for the long-range strike family of systems."

A retirement ceremony for the general will be held August 10 at Joint Base Andrews.

He concluded comments about his 40-year career of service saying, "As Suzie and I now prepare to enjoy life after this career of service, we feel truly privileged to have found a home in the United States Air Force, the greatest Air Force in the world. I will always be proud -- always be proud to consider myself an American Airman."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Retired Officer Lands Job by Learning Market Value

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

FORT MEADE, Md., July 30, 2012 - Retired Air Force Lt. Col. David Jensen knew what he had to do to get a job after 28 years in the military, and it landed him the job he wanted at Oshkosh Defense as the manager of the company's global purchasing and supply chain.
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Retired Air Force Lt. Col. David Jensen explains how hard work and persistence led him to find suitable post-military employment. Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Defense

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But Jensen's successful job search didn't come easily, he recalled. It was the result, he said, of a good deal of searching, rewriting resumes and making a lot of repeat phone calls to keep his name fresh in the minds of potential employers.

Jensen was a NATO staff officer in the Netherlands when he retired in July 2011. He knew his chances of getting a job there were limited, so he examined where he wanted to live and what type of position he thought would best suit him and a potential employer. He and his family decided on Wisconsin as the place to live. "I could have gone anywhere," he said.

Before his retirement, Jensen, like other service members, took the Transition Assistance Program class. But he took it three times.

"Each time, different things were reinforced," Jensen said. He also saved up his leave to use for interviews as they arose.

Jensen sought help from the Department of Workforce development in Wisconsin, where he worked with a Veterans Affairs case worker. That's where he learned his market value so he could look for the right job fit, Jensen said, adding that he also wanted to do something he enjoyed and be fairly compensated for his work. He found that a person's market value can vary, from region to region and state to state.

"It is a daunting task," Jensen said of finding work in the private sector that was a good fit for him. In particular, he said, job hunting was complicated by learning to translate military lexicon into civilian-world terms.

"Everything changed," when he got out of the military, Jensen said, adding that the military has its own subculture, and he had to learn the civilian ways of employment.

After he decided on Wisconsin as his home, and what he wanted to do with his life, he said, he worked to find a job that matched. "I didn't want to work for a company where it wasn't a good fit for me and I wasn't a good fit for the company," he explained.

Getting his job at Oshkosh, he said, was "one of those good-news stories where you say, 'Wow, it works.'"

Jensen acknowledged that he became a little disheartened when job hunting took more time than he had planned. It took six months to become employed after he put in his first application with Oshkosh. But now, he added, he's a natural fit in his job and with the company, a Defense Department contractor with which he already was familiar.
"There really is hope for anybody out there," Jensen said of his job search as a veteran. "You just have to be patient, and you have to be persistent."

Face of Defense: Hockey Couple Find Ice Nice

By Wayne Amann
Air Force News Service

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, July 30, 2012 – It's Friday night and a husband and wife are on a date -- of sorts.
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Married Air Force officers 1st Lt. Andrew Caulk and 1st Lt. Jennifer Caulk talk strategy on the bench at the Ice and Golf Center at Northwoods in San Antonio, Texas, July 20, 2012. Hockey is one of many sports the duo plays for fitness, fun and quality time together. U.S. Air Force photo by William Belcher

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While other couples are taking in a movie, enjoying a restaurant meal or socializing with friends, married Air Force officers 1st Lt. Andrew Caulk and 1st Lt. Jennifer Caulk are chasing a three-inch by one-inch piece of vulcanized rubber with graphite sticks on a 200-foot by 85-foot slippery surface.

They're teammates on the Angry Unicorns, a hockey team in the Adult Recreational League that skates at the Ice and Golf Center at Northwoods rink in suburban San Antonio, Texas.

For Andrew, of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency and Jennifer, with the 453 Electronic Warfare Squadron here, playing hockey serves a purpose in their lives.

"It's important to spend quality time together, especially when neither of us is deployed," Jennifer said. "Playing sports is a great way to multitask fitness, fun and relationship-building."

The Caulks enjoy more conventional activities together like racquetball, walleyball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, yoga, running, biking and sailing. But, hockey offers them a rugged edge they don't shy away from.

"Jenn is a very tough woman," Andrew said. "I saw her get knocked down against a couple guys playing ultimate Frisbee and she jumped up and kept going."

Jennifer isn't overly concerned about Andrew's safety either.

"He's been playing without a cage or shield attached to his helmet, but we're in a no-checking league so there's much less risk of injury," she said. "We wear so many pads that in most situations when we have a significant impact we don't feel any pain."

The couple's hockey interest surfaced at different points in their lives.

"I grew up in Florida, so I had very little exposure to ice, besides what we kept in our freezer," said Jennifer, who hails from Orlando. "I started playing hockey because it was the closest sport to broomball, which I fell in love with while attending the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, from 2008 to 2010."

Meanwhile, her husband, who grew up in Cheboygan, Mich., has been a hockey fan since his childhood days.

"I always wanted to play hockey. However, it's an expensive sport and we couldn't afford it growing up," Andrew said. "So I played a lot of street hockey with my friends, then went ice skating as I got older. I am from Michigan after all."

The ARL sports three other teams, the Warriors, the Kodiaks and the Honey Badgers. Each team plays a 12-game schedule. Each game uses a one-hour running clock.

The league is one of three at Northwoods, all organized by the director of hockey operations and former National Hockey League player Dale Henry.

"I think it's great that married couples want to play a sport together they both enjoy," Henry said. "Hockey is growing as a recreational sport because it's great exercise, and the players like being part of a team."

ARL players range from those just starting to play the game, to those who've been playing a few years. The ARL is designed for players looking to get a good skate in a relaxed atmosphere.

"Not only are the games fun, but they're great for your body and your mind. They're stress relievers," Jennifer said. "Our team has a positive attitude and they're newcomer-friendly."

On this particular Friday night the Honey Badgers out-skated the Angry Unicorns 14-2, dropping the pink jersey-clad team's record to 0-2. For the Caulks, it's not about the score.

"I don't play particularly well, but I have a lot of fun doing it with the right people," Jennifer said.

Her line mate on the team and in life, Andrew, agrees.

"Anyone interested in playing hockey with their spouse should go for it," he said. "Make sure you're prepared for the soreness though!"

Heavy Airlift Wing champions partnerships; marks 3rd anniversary

by Gabe Myers
HQ USAFE Public Affairs

7/30/2012 - PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary -- The vision three years ago was to bring twelve nations together with a common goal and commitment to bring Strategic Airlift Capability to allies across the globe.

After more than 7,500 flying hours, 500 missions, 20,000 pounds of cargo delivered and 27,000 passengers, the Heavy Airlift Wing which operates three C-17 Globemaster III aircraft based at Papa Air Base, Hungary, have successfully delivered the vision and is looking forward to growth in the coming years.

"Coming together as 12 nations we function as one team to bring a unique capability on a global stage, all 12 nations contribute resources, time and energy to achieve the mission," said Heavy Airlift Wing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Boone. "This wing has flown relief missions to Haiti for earthquake relief and combat missions to Afghanistan, we are proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time."

The Heavy Airlift Wing is the operational unit of the Strategic Airlift Capability program. SAC is an independent, multinational partnership, designed to accomplish the strategic airlift requirements of the following nations: Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the U.S., and two Partnership for Peace nations, Sweden and Finland. After three years of contribution, the HAW celebrates their anniversary.

The anniversary event held July 27, included a celebration with contributing nation ambassadors and seven Hungarian and international media representatives flying a HAW C-17 from Papa AB to Budapest to showcase firsthand the aircrafts capabilities, a mission brief, luncheon and a cake cutting ceremony.

"Welcome to Papa Air Base, we are proud to host such an important mission," said Lt. Col. Zsolt Magasy, "on this third anniversary we celebrate the contributions the HAW has made, it is a special day we hope you will enjoy."

Boone championed the cooperation and friendship between each member nation of the HAW and envisions the mission, scope and membership of the wing will grow in the coming months and years.

Fairchild Airman receives Bronze Star

by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/30/2012 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- A Fairchild physician was awarded the Bronze Star Medal here recently for her service during Operation Enduring Freedom at Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul from June 2011 to March 2012.

When asked about her medal, Capt. (Dr.) Leslee Kane, a Bozeman, Mont., native humbly said, "I was just doing my job like everyone else."

The captain was recognized as the senior medical officer on-site during a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack. Kane helped coordinate traumatic brain injury screenings for more than 75 people in response to the attack and returned them to duty within 72 hours. She led three medics, a physician's assistant and numerous others during the triage and treatment of mass casualties and including 17 local national patients and coordinated evacuation of two U.S. military and three local national casualties to medical treatment facilities.

She was also the female engagement team lead responsible for mentoring Zabul's Department of Women Affairs line director. The captain helped lecture a medical series for 10 Afghan female medical providers, which fostered working relationships between the Afghan health sector and people of Zabul.

"My main job was to work with the regional directors advocating for the women in the cities we would tour," she said. "As our team traveled through these cities, I would take time to talk with the women of the city to get a feel for how well their city leaders were spreading the medical care among all the villagers."

The captain also organized and oversaw long-term, culturally-appropriate economic projects directly benefiting more than 150 women and their families in the Zabul area.

"She's an excellent performer," said Col. Blake Ortner, who was a member of her leadership team while deployed. "Captain Kane went well beyond her normal duties. Her contributions to the ... programs were outstanding."

While she excelled down range, the captain missed her family no less. She said online video chatting was a welcome tool they used to keep in touch, but due to the nature of her mission, internet was not always available and 13 months away from her family was difficult.

"Family aside, I would do it again in a heartbeat," the wife and mother of two said. "But only if I were a single Airman. I'd have a hard time being away from my family for that long again."

Not only did she miss her family, but back home, her family and unit missed her.

"We are very excited to have her home," said Maj. Marc Weishaar, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron commander. "It is awesome to see the great care she provides her patients here at Fairchild is the same great quality of care she provided to her patients while deployed."

Ice skating therapy camp helps build confidence

by Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

7/27/2012 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Challenge, conquer, confidence. These are the goals children from the Exceptional Family Member Program at Peterson AFB met as part C3 Therapeutic Skating camp held July 16-20. C3 Therapeutic Skating is a program for children and adults with mental or physical disabilities at Honnen Ice Arena in downtown Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jackie Wickham, EFMP coordinator, said this year 18 children attended the camp, which was paid for by the EFMP program.

The focus of this year's EFMP camp was physical activity, Wickham said.

Pam Nearhoof, C3 Therapeutic Skating founder, started the program a year ago, and said it has been a big success. "Skating is great for balance, agility, breathing and coordination," she said. "I've never had somebody not come back."

Each child was paired with their own volunteer to help them on the ice. "They get a 20 minute private lesson and then they can stay out on the ice with their helper as long as they want. Skates, (helmets), and ice time are included," Nearhoof said.

Volunteers range from teenaged competitive figure skaters to adults with skating knowledge.

Some of the younger children were pushed around on buckets, some used walkers, and others skated like they had done it all their lives. The camp also accommodated children with other physical limitations. Wheelchairs were used on the ice, and Kimiko Bullis, an exceptional family member, attended camp with Drifter, her seeing eye dog.

In addition to skating, children, some bound to wheelchairs, got to fly over the ice when they were hooked up to a harness that is used to teach skaters how to jump.

According to Nelson Kent, C3 Therapeutic Skating assistant, the first "C," challenge, stands for challenging the kids to get on the ice. "For a lot of them, that's a big step, literally," he said.

The second "C," conquer, is to get on the ice and then increase their skating ability. Some started out the week of camp being pushed in a chair or on a bucket. By the end of the week, many were up on their feet, moving on their own.

The third "C," confidence, is one of the primary goals of the program. "Skating doesn't have a very big following. These kids can go to school and say 'I can do this,' something the other kids maybe don't do," Kent said.

Kathleen Bleisch said her two children, Jayden and Kayleigh, were excited every morning to go to camp. Jayden is intoed and has a hard time balancing. "When he first started he just wanted to ride (on the bucket), now he's actually skating," Bleisch said.

Horn of Africa: East Africa, Texas Guard members exchange skills throughout year

By Army Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa

Click photo for screen-resolution imageEAST AFRICA (7/30/12) - Ever since Texas National Guard members arrived here, they have been engaged in military-to-military exchanges throughout the region in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. Their mission is to build partner nation military capacity and promote stability in the region.

The Guard members from Task Force Raptor, 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, have been invited to countries all over the East African region to exchange best practices on a variety of topics from combat casualty care and base defense to soldier development.

Recently, the unit’s leaders have participated in several noncommissioned and company grade officer specific seminars in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania regarding planning, execution and leadership skills.

In Rwanda, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Juan Zamora, sergeant-of-the-guard from Alpha Troop, and Army National Guard Capt. Jeffery Ortiz, commander of the 702nd Military Police Company, met with their counterparts for an exchange of best practices, March 19 to 30.

“The first week we were there, we discussed operation orders and how to prepare them,” Zamora said. “Then the second week we put the plan into action. It was interesting to see how things were very similar between us and them in how these are carried out.”

Ortiz noticed similarities while working with the Rwandan officers as well.

“Much of the planning is the same,” Ortiz said. “Even things like map reading and task-to- maneuver drills were very similar. This made it easier to move on to the second week when they pieced it all together and executed the tasks.”

Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Geoffrey Radley, platoon sergeant with the 712th MP Company and Army National Guard Capt. Todd Newcomer, commander of Alpha Troop, exchanged their best practices with Tanzanian noncommissioned officers and company grade officers, May 2 to 18.

“We covered the basics of leadership,” Radley said. “They were very interested to know how our NCO corps functions. It allowed for an interesting discussion as they, in turn, shared their NCO leadership and duties.”

Newcomer said he remembers brushing up on his GPS skills at the seminar.

“They offered a class on using GPS for land navigation,” Newcomer said. “I’m used to using a map and compass, so the class was a welcomed refresher on the subject.”

In Burundi, Army National Guard Capt. Karim Branford, commander of Bravo Troop, Army National Guard 1st Lt. Matthew Colia, executive officer of the 702nd MP Company, and Army National Guard Sgts. Simon Zamora and Travis Cox of Bravo Troop met with the Burundi’s National Defense Forces leaders and exchanged their experiences, May 14 to 25.

Branford said he was impressed by how quickly the Burundi soldiers grasped the information they were given by senior instructors.

“Most of the student officers in the class were new to op orders, but they were able to pick it up within a two-week period,” Branford said. “On the NCO side, a lot of them stepped up and assisted with the execution of the order. It was very impressive to see how well they put it all together and ran with it in such a short amount of time.”

Zamora attributed their impressive learning abilities to the pride they have of being Burundi soldiers.

“They did so well because they were eager to learn and eager to fulfill their duties as soldiers,” Zamora said. “They want to represent their country the best they can in everything they do and they take pride in that, very similar to U.S. soldiers.”

Of the exchanges between the Texas National Guard members and various host nation military members, a similar experience was shared by all the U.S. soldiers – the desire to return to their own units and train on what they learned.

36 EAMXS breaks records

by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing Public Affairs

7/25/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have maintained an outstanding maintenance scheduling effectiveness rate of 99 percent, surpassing the standard of 95, on Andersen since their arrival in April.

The 36 EAMXS, which is currently comprised of members from the 69th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., have been on island to support of the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Continuous Bomber Presence.

During their deployment, the 36 EAMXS contributed to two B-52s successfully flying 20 consecutive sorties without a maintenance abort during a deployment. This earned the maintainers and the crew of the B-52s that successfully accomplished the feat the "Nine-O-Nine" Award; a testament to the hard work and outstanding maintenance that 36 EAMXS have put forth day in and day out.

"The maintainers on this rotation have met all the challenges that they have been given and have consistently provided quality maintenance," said Capt. Meghan Bailey, 36 EAMXS officer in charge. "From the feedback we've been getting from permanent party leadership, they couldn't ask for more than the performance that the maintainers have given."

The 36 EAMXS also contributed to surpassing the standard B-52 mission capable rate at Andersen. The awards and accomplishments are due in part to continuously overcomeing challenges in the duration of the deployment.

"One of the main challenges has to do with the availability of certain parts," said Tech. Sgt. Roger Phelps, 36 EAMXS aircraft section chief. "Over in Minot there are more assets and tools available. We usually have to wait a number of days to receive the parts coming from the United States."

The 36 EAMXS adaptability and quality performance contributed in the successful accomplishment of the following the exercises and events they have participated in, including 36th Wing Combat Ammunition Production Exercise, U.S. Marine Corps Exercise Geiger Fury, Australia B-52 Air Show Fly Over and Rim of the Pacific 2012.

"Just this month, we are participating in a Rim of the Pacific exercise, a large force exercise that requires us to have B-52s fixed and ready to fly long duration sorties from Guam and back while simultaneously sustaining local sorties," said Captain Bailey.

Sergeant Phelps attributes the squadron's success to the diverse background and experience of the 36 EAMXS Airmen. He also said that the recent influx of fighter aircraft maintainers filling in slots in the bomber side also helped the squadron become more resourceful, proficient and expeditious.

"We've had fighter aircraft maintenance fill manning slots in Minot, so we've been getting people who've had years of mechanical experience," said Sergeant Phelps. "Some of the guys brought different perspectives on solving problems. It's a different mentality, but they have done a good job in adapting."

A little over half-way through their deployment, the 36 EAMXS have also accumulated a total of four individual and team wing level awards.

"Many of these guys have never been here before," said Captain Bailey. "It's a different working environment and climate. The way they've adjusted and made the mission happen in a short amount of time is remarkable. Our maintainers just come in on their shifts, click on all cylinders, take off and make everything look easy."

PACAF Band accepts certificate on behalf of service members

by Staff Sgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/26/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Pacific Trends, a contemporary group from the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia region, accepted a certificate on behalf of all U.S. service members at the Sendai International Airport, Japan, July 21.

The band represented all of the U.S. armed forces while being recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for their support during Operation Tomodachi.

"The band is here because of all the U.S. service members who answered the call of duty and supported this great country in one of its most dire times," said Capt. Haley Armstrong, Band of the Pacific-Asia commander. "It is our privilege to accept this certificate on their behalf."

With this being Armstrong's first performance as commander of the band, it had extra meaning.

"This is the first time the commander position has been at Yokota in several years," said Armstrong. "Due to the importance of our friendship with the Japanese people, it just made sense to have the position moved back here to strengthen these bonds."

In addition to accepting the certificate, the band also performed several of their most popular songs.

"We performed several popular English songs including 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion, but with our own spin on it," said Senior Airman William Pressgrove, Band of the Pacific-Asia vocalist, "but the two Japanese songs we performed definitely received the loudest applauses," he said.

After the performance, band members shared laughs and photos with the committee and attendees.

"After talking with some of the Japanese people, I can truly say they are some of the most amazing people," said Armstrong. "I feel very proud that our country was able to help them in the way that we did."

Assuring quality for the 374th MXG

by Senior Airman Katrina R. Menchaca
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/25/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Hand-picked based on their character, performance and pursuit of maintenance excellence from within the 374th Maintenance Group, members of Yokota's Quality Assurance team are the best of the best.

"These people aren't just the best maintainers, they are also the most physically fit, exceeding expectations outside of their work areas as well," said Master Sgt. Alan Malcolm, 374 MXG QA chief inspector. "We only have ten inspectors, and they are all picked based on their expertise in their respective areas. We have evaluators from every aspect of maintenance from aerospace ground equipment to propulsion."

Operating 24/7, the QA flight is responsible for insuring that high quality aircraft maintenance production and equipment reliability are maintained.

"We act as the 'eyes and ears' for Colonel Sanders (374 MXG commander) to help identify deficiencies and efficiencies and report them up the chain of command," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Barefield, 374 MXG QA inspector. "Our job as inspectors is to train, evaluate and report the actions of aircraft maintainers."

Each month, the QA inspectors conduct 225 inspections within the 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 374th Maintenance Operations Squadron and the 374th Maintenance Squadron.

Inspections range from verifying the quality of a maintainer's work after a task is completed, to a one-on-one personnel inspection where the inspector follows a maintainer and ensures they're effectively performing tasks based on their current qualifications.

The flight also serves as the primary technical advisory agency in the maintenance organization, assisting maintenance supervision at all levels to resolve quality problems.
"When the tough questions arise, being able to train and pass on knowledge to my fellow maintainers gives me great job satisfaction," said Barefield.

Additionally, they evaluate the quality of maintenance accomplished and perform necessary functions to manage the wing's Maintenance Standardization Evaluation Program.

The MSEP provides an objective sampling of the quality of equipment, the proficiency of maintenance personnel and the compliance of Lead Command and Unit MSEP focus areas, programs and processes.

"We just want to be able to make a difference," said Staff Sgt. David Archer, 374 MXG QA inspector. "The 374 MXG has a great crew of maintainers who always get the job done. Our goal as inspectors is to ensure that the job is done correctly, efficiently and safely."

During a recent Combined Unit Inspection, they received a 100 percent Logistics Compliance Assessment Program inspection rating. Additionally, they were the first MXG QA flight in Pacific Air Forces to receive a 100 percent pass rating in more than a year.

Overall, the 374 MXG received an Excellent rating during the LCAP inspection and were named one of Yokota's outstanding teams in the CUI report, receiving zero deficiencies and having two of their programs highlighted as strengths.

F-16 Fighting Falcons keep mission going

by Staff Sgt. Craig Cisek
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/25/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- F-16 Fighting Falcons launch during a combat sortie for operational readiness exercise Beverly Midnight 12-03 from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 25, 2012. The exercise tests Osan Airmen's abilities during a heightened state of readiness while providing combat ready forces for close air support, air strike control, counter air, interdiction, theater airlift, and communications in the defense of the Republic of Korea. BM 12-03 is the first ORE following the Consolidated Unit Inspection in April.

IEU helps Andersen gear up to deploy

by Senior Airman Veronica McMahon
36th Wing Public Affairs

7/30/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Getting out the door quickly with the proper equipment is a top priority for any servicemember with a short-notice deployment tasking.

The Individual Equipment Unit is the behind the scenes shop supplying Team Andersen and Naval Base Guam members with the equipment they need for deployments, exercises and every day jobs.

"We support the mission by supplying Airmen and Sailors with the equipment they need in a timely manner," said Duane Chargualaf, 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron IEU warehouse specialist. "We strive to provide the servicemembers with their Individual Equipment items essential for them to perform their duties. Whether it's for their duty station or for upcoming deployments."

The IEU warehouse is filled wall-to-wall with various equipment items. These are mostly uniform items, to include everything from sage boots to Navy coveralls.

"More than a thousand line items are currently carried in the warehouse," Mr. Chargualaf said. "These are not to be confused with mobility items. We do work hand-in-hand with mobility, but the equipment here is, for the most part for individuals to keep upon issue while they are serving in the military."

The IUE shop is ran by a small staff of DZSP21 contractors, usually comprised of two members. These individuals are responsible for equipment needs base wide. This includes tenant units and anyone deployed into Andersen. The IEU also carries equipment items for civil service employees here and for the Sailors at NBG.

Approximately 80 to 100 individual issue requests come in weekly. Sometimes, deploying individuals will come into the shop with an issue request form for themselves. These servicemembers are able to try on all uniform items to make sure they fit. More commonly, the unit's supply sergeant or the unit deployment manager will come in with a large issue request for multiple servicemembers. This is common with short-notice deployments when time is a factor.

Mr. Chargualaf works hard to make sure either the individual, supply sergeant or UDMs are able to get what they need and have a smooth visit.

"It's very convenient to visit IEU because it is close, quick and I am able to get all the equipment needed for the squadron," said Staff Sgt. Kurtis Strasser, 734th Air Mobility Squadron UDM. "Recently the squadron had a big order due to a deployment and it cuts out a lot of time coming here. This helps the deployers get out the door with everything they need."

If a request for out-of-stock items come in, Mr. Chargualaf does everything he can to ensure the items are Back Ordered to the Andersen site immediately. The turnaround time is only a few days.

"It's very important to get our customers what they need in a short period of time," Mr. Chargualaf said. "I want to make sure the customers are prepared, whether it is for a deployment or everyday activities, to get the mission done."

National Guard's 188th Army Band to Celebrate 125th Anniversary through free concert series

Click photo for screen-resolution imageFARGO, N.D. (7/30/12) - The North Dakota National Guard’s 188th Army Band will play a series of free concerts around the state next week to celebrate the band’s 125th anniversary and will incorporate a piece commissioned specifically for the band.

Titled “Salute,” the commissioned piece comes from North Dakota native Jocelyn Hagen, who composed it as a dedication “to all the Soldier musicians, past and present, whose service greatly contributed to the 188th’s heritage and legacy of ‘Pride in Performance,’” said Army National Guard Warrant Officer David J. Stordalen, 188th Army Band commander and conductor.

The band was organized in 1887 in Valley City, Dakota Territory. The First North Dakota Infantry Band was ordered to active duty in 1916 to support General “Blackjack” Pershing during the Mexican Border War and then to France in support of World War I. Following the war, the band was reorganized as the 164th Infantry Band. The band served in the Pacific during World War II with the rest of the North Dakota Army National Guard.

After its return, the band was reorganized, this time as the 294th Army Band. The band again reorganized in 1959 as the 188th Army Band, and moved to Fargo.
The upcoming concerts include:
  • July 30 at 7 p.m. at Elmwood Park in West Fargo.
  • Aug. 4 at1 p.m. at the Town Square Farmers Market, on Third Street and Demers Avenue in Grand Forks, for Military Appreciation Day.
  • Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. at Scandinavian Heritage Park, 1020 S. Broadway in Minot.
  • Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at Virgil Syverson Harmon Park Performance Center on Main Avenue and 11th Street West in Williston.
  • Aug. 7 at noon the Ceremonial Band will play at the Adjutant General’s Courtyard at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck; military ID required for entrance to Fraine Barracks.
  • Aug. 7 from noon – 1 p.m. at the 7th annual Farmers Market on the south side of the State Capitol, Bismarck.
  • Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at Custer Park, 321 W. Thayer Ave., Bismarck.
  • Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at the North Dakota Veterans Home, Lisbon.
  • Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Chahinkapa Zoo band shelter, Second Street and Seventh Avenue North, Wahpeton.
  • Aug. 10 at noon in downtown Fargo as part of the outdoor Brown Bag Concert Series at the U.S. Bank Plaza.
In addition to the public concerts, band members will serve as North Dakota State University’s resident band during the school’s Symposium on Music Education from Aug. 1 to 3.

The official mission of the 188th Army Band is to provide music throughout the full spectrum of military operations and to instill in Soldiers the will to fight and win, to foster the support of citizens, to promote national interests at home and abroad, and to entertain audiences. In successful completion and ongoing fulfillment of that mission, the band has continued to provide music to the citizens and Soldiers of North Dakota for 125 years.

Guard members attend opening ceremony for NATO Military Reserve Officers' Skills Pentathlon

by Army National Guard 1st Sgt. D. Keith Johnson
354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Click photo for screen-resolution imageHOVELTE, Denmark (7/30/12) - As the 2012 Olympics grand opening ceremony took place Friday night before millions across the world, several Guard members were part lesser known but eagerly awaited, opening ceremony that took place not too far away to a slightly smaller crowd.

The grand opening ceremony for NATO’s 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers’ Military Skills Competition took place Friday evening at The Garrison of Hoevelte, home of the Danish Royal Lifeguards, tasked with protecting the Danish royal family.

The Military Skills Competition is a pentathlon comprised of 200-meter rifle marksmanship, 25-meter pistol marksmanship, 500-meter land obstacle course, 50-meter water obstacle course and a 10 to 15-kilometer orienteering course. This year’s field includes 35 three-person teams, plus support personnel, from 14 countries.

Team U.S. Military this year has one Men’s Novice team, and two female competitors who will compete on international teams. International teams are formed when a delegation arrives with not enough competitors to make up a three-person team.

U.S. Navy Reserve Cmdr. Grant Staats, is confident in his small team’s capabilities.

“The U.S. team is very well prepared this year. We are hoping with our strong Novices who have strengths in all five disciplines, we have a good showing,” he said. “They definitely have the potential. The women’s team also has the potential.”

Staats, is the commanding officer for the Joint Reserve Unit, Special Operations Command – Joint Capabilities, and has been involved with the U.S. Team since 1995, as a competitor for 12 years and officer in charge for the last five years.

The U.S. Team conducted a 13-day training camp in Burlington, Vermont, using facilities at the Vermont National Guard Olympic Training Center, Camp Johnson, Ethan Allen Rifle Range and St. Michael’s College near Burlington, Vt. Training took 11 days, including two days of time trials. Advanced marksmanship, advanced land navigation, nutrition, visualization, Laws of Armed Conflict and combat first-aid were the main topics.

“It was a packed two weeks, but essential,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Brendon Ritz, who is assigned to the Pacific Command Operations cell. He is also the oldest Novice competitor ever to compete on the U.S. Team.

Pennsylvania Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Mathew Stern was glad to learn more about the obstacle courses.

“The training camp helped us break in new muscles and flexibilities.”

The third member of the Men’s team, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Mark Jones was preparing for a 200-mile Iron man competition when he received his orders. Jones is an Infantry squad leader assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The two US females are competing for the second year.

“I am stronger this time,” said Army National Guard Capt. Leala McCollum, a medevac pilot for the 121st Medical Company (Air Ambulance), a Washington, D.C., National Guard unit.

When asked if she would do better her second year, Airman 1st Class Ziven Drake replied with a very enthusiastic, “Absolutely!” Drake is an F-16 crew chief with the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard.

Funding issues since 2006 have hurt the U.S. Team as well as the entire CIOR organization.

“Over the past five years, we have noticed a reduction in the size of the competitive organization. Of the 32 NATO nations that typically have a role in CIOR, only 18 to 20 will actually bring competitive teams, and this year we’re down to 14,” he said.
“We have the usual highlighters in the competition; the French, the Germans, the United Kingdom, the Danish, the Norwegians. For years, the U.S. was right up at the top near them, but as we have scaled down the US participation in CIOR over the last five years, our competitiveness has left a bit to be desired.”

“I’m am the officer in charge, the team leader, the team captain, the head coach, as well as the team coordinator, for the U.S. Military Competitions Team at CIOR for 2012,” Staats said as an example of the scaling down.

Regardless of the cutbacks, Staats constantly emphasizes the reason for CIOR.
“The purpose of CIOR is to strengthen the alliance and build our partnerships with our NATO allies. It’s not just the competition. Our training camp’s main focus is train-the-trainer. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and [Coast Guard members] leave the training camp and are able to return to their units with the knowledge to improve their units’ military skills,” he said.

Staats reiterated the purpose of CIOR. “If there is only one thing we accomplish while we are here, it’s the fact that we have solidified and became closer in terms of relationships with those nations that we will become coalition partners with in the future.” He added, “It is exactly those relationships and the strengths of those bonds that help us get through those wars.”

Louisiana National Guard pins first female general officer

By Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Denis B. Ricou
Louisiana National Guard

Click photo for screen-resolution image
NEW ORLEANS (7/30/12) - The Louisiana National Guard welcomed its first female general officer during a promotion ceremony at the Jackson Barracks Museum here, July 27.

Army Col. Joanne F. Sheridan, the LANG’s assistant adjutant general-Army, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and “pinned” the one-star insignia on her uniform.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to attain this rank. It’s truly an honor to be selected as a general officer,” Sheridan said.

“As I was coming up through the ranks, there weren’t many senior female leaders ahead of me,” she said. “So for fellow Guardsmen now to have someone to identify with … they know that those doors are open to them and that the goal is attainable for females in the military.”

Sheridan, a resident of New Orleans, graduated from Leesville High School in Leesville and attended Northeast Louisiana
University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and her commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Her military education includes the Adjutant General Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms Staff Services School, the Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College where she received her Master of Strategic Studies degree.

“Today is a historic day in the National Guard,” said Army Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG.

“Joanne has succeeded in all of the leadership roles she has been given … separating herself from the crowd.”
Sheridan began her military career on active duty in February 1984 and was appointed in the Louisiana Army National Guard in October 1988.

She has served numerous positions as the Assistant S-1, Headquarters Detachment Commander, and S-1 in the 61st Troop Command; the Education Services Officer, Deputy Director of Military Personnel, Deputy Director of Information Management, Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Personnel – J1, and Vice Chief of the Joint Staff in the Joint Force Headquarters-Louisiana; Commander, 415th Military Intelligence Battalion and Commander, 199th Regiment (Regional Training Institute).

Sheridan deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008 where she served as the Director of the Project Management Office on the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to attain this rank and it’s truly an honor to have been selected as a general officer. Not many people, much less a female, attain this rank. I’m honored, and I am in awe every day that I’m still standing,” added Sheridan with a laugh.

The National Guard currently has 27 female general officers serving throughout the country in both the Army and Air Force.

U.S. Ready to Help Tunisia With Democracy, Panetta Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

CARTHAGE, Tunisia, July 30, 2012 – The 6,565 American troops memorialized at the North Africa American Cemetery here signify America’s commitment to freedom, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during a visit today.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, left, meets with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, right, in Tunis, Tunisia, July 30, 2012. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo -

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Panetta walked among the 2,841 graves and read the names of 3,734 Americans missing from battles that drove the Axis powers from North Africa in World War II.

In November 1942, the Allies launched Operation Torch to drive the Axis from the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. “After six months of fierce fighting and many lives that were lost, Tunisia was liberated from the Axis powers,” he said after placing a memorial wreath.

The North Africa campaign and the fight against Nazi Germany was one chapter in the story that has been unfolding for centuries, the secretary said. “It is the story of people struggling to overcome tyranny and oppression,” he said. “This struggle … to achieve basic human rights and freedoms is guided by a simple dream: the dream to secure a better life for our children.”

That story has a new chapter, written by the people of Tunisia, Panetta said. In January 2011, Tunisians peacefully took to the streets to demand freedom and basic human rights. “This is the birthplace of the Arab Spring, when the Tunisian people rose up in peaceful protest to demand democratic change,” Panetta said. “It not only inspired the region, it inspired the world.”

The secretary minced no words, telling the Tunisian people “that America stands with them and that we, too, are inspired by their revolution.” The United States, he said, supports the Tunisian people as they continue to strengthen their democracy.

Earlier in the day, Panetta met with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and National Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi. He told them the United States is ready to help them strengthen their economy and talked about shared security concerns.

“I also had the opportunity in my meetings today to commend the Tunisian armed forces for the positive role they are playing in this critical time of change,” the secretary said.

The U.S. and Tunisian militaries have long been partners, and the revolution now gives the two countries the opportunity to partner more closely.

“In my discussions today, I was pleased to begin a dialogue on how we can deepen that cooperation in a range of common concerns: countering violent extremism and terrorism to ensure regional stability,” Panetta said. “I also conveyed that the Department of Defense stands ready to help Tunisia strengthen the capacity of its defense institutions as part of the broader effort to support Tunisia’s democratic transition.”

While there is uncertainty in the region deriving from the Arab Spring, there is also opportunity, Panetta said. “For generations, the United States has been the world’s greatest force in advancing peace and freedom and prosperity,” he added. “We have paid a heavy price to protect our country, as witnessed by this memorial. Today is no different.”

The United States is committed to helping people across the region and around the world achieve the freedoms they deserve, Panetta said.

“We are all grateful for the Tunisian government’s partnership, and we are inspired by their example to the world,” he said. “The torch of greater peace and freedom and democracy burns brightly in this historic land.”