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

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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.”

721st MSG activates squadron, appoints leadership

by Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

7/27/2012 - CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- In a ceremony steeped in tradition, the 721st Civil Engineer Squadron was activated July 17 at Mountain Man Park on Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

The 721st CES was deactivated Feb. 1, 2004, after a determination by Air Force leaders to outsource some civil engineer activities to a private contractor. In April 2011, a presidential directive, Resource Management Decision 802, provided for squadron in-sourcing efforts. The ceremony represents the unit's return to a squadron status.

Col. Joseph Turk, 721st Mission Support Group commander, said when CMAFS became operational in 1966 it was the jewel of the nation's defense capability and it remains the premier underground command and control facility today.

The facility was built on five acres under 2,000 feet of granite with its own water supply, power plant, and heating and cooling system to ensure reliability.

"The (people) of the civil engineer squadron make sure that happens," Turk said. "We have learned that today more so than the past, we need the reliability, survivability and the endurability the complex provides."

The new guidon for the 721st was presented during the ceremony. The squadron's colors are a memorial of its history and a symbol of its spirit. The streamers represent the performance and proud traditions of the squadron. Retired Lt. Col. Todd Wynn, the last active duty commander of the squadron, unfurled the colors from its encasement.

During the ceremony, Turk appointed leadership of the squadron to Dino Bonaldo II.

Bonaldo first arrived at CMAFS in 2002 as the environmental compliance director. He later moved up to be the director of operations under Wynn's command. Finally, he came to be the director of the 721st Civil Engineer Division in 2010.

Bonaldo's appointment as the civilian squadron commander equivalent is a unique feature in the 21st Space Wing, as the 721st CES is 100 percent civilian manned.

The 721st CES is composed of 117 government civilian employees. Bonaldo will lead the squadron that will operate, maintain, repair and engineer the infrastructure and property, ensure protection and ensure preparedness for CMAFS.

Upon assuming leadership of the squadron, Bonaldo said, "We're going to do base support and we're going to do it better than the others. There are challenges ahead and we will be successful."

Panetta: All Options Open to Stop Iran’s Nuke Program

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

CARTHAGE, Tunisia, July 30, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta reiterated here today that the United States “is prepared to exercise all options” to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta conducts a press conference after a wreath-laying ceremony at the North Africa American Military Cemetery in Carthage Tunisia, July 30, 2012. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Panetta spoke during a news conference at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial.

Panetta would not go into specifics about the options, but he did say the U.S. government believes the United Nations-imposed sanctions on Iran still have time to work.

“The international community has been strongly unified in imposing some strong sanctions on Iran,” he said. “The international community will increase the impact of those sanctions in the next couple of months.”

The sanctions are having a serious impact on Iran’s economy. While the results of that may not be obvious at the moment, Panetta said, the Iranians have expressed a willingness to negotiate.

“What we all need to do is continue the pressure on Iran economically and diplomatically,” Panetta said. The international community must convince Iran’s leaders to take the right steps and negotiate, to stop developing nuclear weapons and to rejoin the community of nations, he added.

“We believe the best course of action is to continue that pressure and to continue that unity to convince them to do what’s right,” he said.

DOD, U.S. Agencies Help Afghanistan Exploit Mineral Wealth

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 – Officials from the Defense Department and the U.S. Geological Survey gathered this month at Afghanistan’s U.S. Embassy to unveil what the director of a DOD task force called a “treasure map” of the nation’s mineral resources.

At the event, James Bullion of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, or TFBSO, shared the podium with USGS Director Marcia McNutt, who described a new remote-sensing technology that has made it possible, for the first time, she said, to map more than 70 percent of the country’s surface and identify potential high-value deposits of copper, gold, iron, and other minerals.

DOD officials and USGS scientists work as partners in this initiative with the Afghanistan government and scientists and engineers from the Afghan Ministry of Mines and the Afghan Geological Survey.

“The task force is a Defense Department organization charged to help spur and grow the private-sector economy in Afghanistan, … and clearly, the mineral and oil and gas extractive areas are critical to that effort,” Bullion said.

Since 2009, the DOD task force has funded work there by USGS, including the effort to operate, with help from NASA, an airborne instrument called a hyperspectral imager to map surface indicators of natural resources below Afghanistan’s rugged mountainous terrain.

“The work that the U.S. Geological Survey has done has been critical to the whole process,” Bullion said. “In essence, what they’ve done is built a treasure map for Afghanistan, which is full of these hidden mineral and oil and gas treasures.”

Scientists from USGS began working in Afghanistan in 2004, when the agency was asked to help rebuild the nation’s natural resource sector, McNutt said. The geological data USGS scientists found was 50 to 75 years old, originating from the late 1960s when a Soviet mission for about 10 years helped the Afghan government with geological mapping.

From August to October 2007, NASA contributed its mid-wing, long-range WB-57 aircraft to fly the USGS hyperspectral instrument over Afghanistan, mapping more than 70 percent of the country. In 2009, USGS and the DOD task force became partners and worked closely, Bullion said, to help to get the hyperspectral data into a format that mining companies could use to evaluate opportunities in the mineral sector.

“Hyperspectral data uses the reflectance of light and uses the fact that different minerals reflect light in different wavelength bands,” McNutt explained. “Every mineral has its own signature or fingerprint.”

Hyperspectral imaging characterizes minerals only on the surface of the Earth, not underground where the minerals are mined. The technology wouldn’t work well in countries where forests, grasses and soil cover the ground, but it’s perfect for Afghanistan. Over 50 million years, the slow-motion collision of Iran and Eurasian tectonic plates beneath Afghanistan formed rugged, rocky mountains out of what used to be mineral-laden subsurface rock.

The hyperspectral instrument “can be used in a place where there’s no vegetative cover, and Afghanistan happens to have almost no vegetation and it is resource-laden,” McNutt explained. “And because of plate tectonic properties, … it has been tectonically uplifted and tectonically unroofed to reveal at the surface the mother lode of resources.”

Over 43 days and 23 flights, USGS flew nearly 23,000 miles, collecting data that covered 170,000 square miles.

When compared with conventional ground mapping, McNutt added, hyperspectral technology has accelerated by decades the ability to identify the most promising areas for Afghan economic development.

In December, supported by the DOD task force, officials from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines opened tender processes, or auctions, for exploration and later exploitation of four project areas in the country.

The Badakhshan gold project is in Badakhshan province, the Zarkashan copper and gold project is in Ghazni province, the Balkhab copper project spans Sar-I-Pul and Balkh provinces, and the Shaida copper project is in Herat province.

Bids for the Balkhab project were opened July 24, and a preferred bidder will be announced when the evaluations are complete, ministry officials said in a statement.

At the Afghan embassy event, a USGS official characterized the value of Afghanistan’s mineral and other deposits.

“We have identified somewhere between 10 and 12 world-class copper, gold, iron ore [and] rare earth deposits that no one knew were there,” Jack Medlin, regional specialist for the Asia-Pacific region in the USGS international programs office, told the audience.

“In our 2007 publication, we gave an estimate of undiscovered mineral resources for the country, and … you can add up the tonnages of copper, lead, gold, iron, silver and so forth. … But this country has many more world-class mineral deposits than most countries in the world, if not more than any country,” he said.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy to turn these resources into national income, Medlin told American Forces Press Service.

Once a company wins a bid for an Afghan site, it will gather all information about the site, including the hyperspectral data and any geologic, geochemical and geophysical information, he said. It will also send its own geologists to the site to do detailed mapping and arrange for detailed airborne gravity and magnetic studies, Medlin said, which gives the company a subsurface three-dimensional picture of the ore deposit.

The company checks the absolute grade and tonnage of the ore deposit by drilling through the ore body, collecting a rock core and sending it to a chemical laboratory for analysis. If the results are positive, he added, the company creates a mine plan and determines the mining method.

“You’re talking about a capital investment of billions of dollars up front before you’ve even mined a pound of ore,” Medlin said. “It’s the reason companies want well-defined mining laws … and they want all the legal and regulatory requirements spelled out.”

In the Afghan mining brochure, Minister of Mines Wahidulla Shahrani describes major road and rail development and ongoing work on electric transmission lines, a favorable legal and fiscal regime, stable mineral laws and regulations, and physical security for working mines.

A mine protection unit has 1,500 security personnel at the Aynak copper mine in Logar province, according to the Ministry of Mines, and the Afghan government plans to increase the number of personnel to 7,000 for future mining projects.

At the embassy event, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States Eklil Hakimi thanked DOD and the USGS for their help with the mining enterprise and discussed the potential economic benefits.

“The estimated direct revenue to be generated by royalties and taxes from the extractive industries could reach up to $1.5 billion by 2016 and exceed $3.7 billion by 2026,” Hakimi said, “and will become a major source of employment, with 165,000 jobs anticipated by 2016 and up to half a million by 2026.

“As we recently stressed at the Tokyo Conference [on Afghanistan in July],” he continued, “a peaceful future for Afghanistan rests in development and a sustainable economy, one that’s not dependent on international assistance and can provide jobs for the people.”

In response to a question from the audience, McNutt said the Afghans are eager to embrace modern geophysical techniques and technology and to be responsible for their own success.

“The word that I hear is [the Afghans] want to do this themselves,” the USGS director added. “They … are eager to take leadership and ownership of these projects and learn how to do it because they’re excited about rebuilding.”

Reserve aerial firefighting aircraft return to Colorado

by 153 AEG public affairs

7/27/2012 - CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A favorable fire outlook has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to allow the 302nd Airlift Wing's two MAFFS-equipped C-130s to return home today.

"The forest service is very comfortable with where they are, in terms of fire danger," said Col. Jerry Champlin, 153 Air Expeditionary Group commander. "There is some lightening in the long-term forecast, so we're going to keep California here for now."

Under the modified request for assistance received today, the 146th Airlift Wing's two C-130s will remain activated and continue operating from Boise Air Terminal, in Idaho.

Since being activated June 25, the MAFFS fleet has completed more than 327 drops, releasing more than 799,585 gallons of retardant on Rocky Mountain area fires.

The Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems are operated by four military units: the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

The MAFFS program is a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Defense. The forest service owns the MAFFS equipment and supplies the retardant. DoD provides the C-130 aircraft, pilots, maintenance and support personnel to fly the mission.

MAFFS provides a surge capability that can be used to boost wildfire suppression efforts when commercial airtankers are fully committed or not readily available.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

Luke AFB transitions to single staffing tool

by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas – With Luke Air Force Base’s transition to the resume-based single staffing tool, all Air Force civilian employment opportunities are now listed on the USAJobs site, Air Force Personnel Center officials said today.

In 2010, AFPC announced that the Air Force would transition to a resume based system using a single staffing tool for all Air Force job seekers using USA Staffing to post job announcements on Implementation occurred in stages, said Nancy Tackett, AFPC Human Resources Technical Operations Branch. Luke’s July 27 transition was the final stage.

USA Staffing is a web-based system that automates civilian employee recruitment, assessment, referral and notification processes, Tackett explained. It generates vacancy announcements for appropriated fund civilian positions and posts them on USAJobs and the Air Force civilian careers website at

 “Hiring managers have 15 days from the time they receive candidate resumes to make their selection, so the resume process helps them meet that deadline,” she explained.

The transition helps ensure the right people are hired for the right jobs based on qualifications while respecting merit system principles and veterans preference. Job seekers who need help capturing their qualifications on a resume can visit an installation Airman and Family Readiness Center for resume-building assistance.

Wisconsin Guardsman hits home run with National Anthem performance

July 30, 2012
By 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard
It's a long way from open mike nights in Milwaukee to singing the National Anthem on the Miller Park infield, but Sgt. Zachary Henningsen of the Plymouth-based Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery made it look easy.
"My dream is to become a world-famous rock star," Henningsen said moments before standing in front of more than 33,000 Milwaukee Brewers fans at the July 26 game against the Washington Nationals. "Who doesn't want to do something like that?"

Henningsen, 23, sang in the choir during middle and high school in Mayville, Wis. After moving to Milwaukee he frequented open mike nights at various establishments to continue his love of singing.

"I enjoy it," he said. "I've never really been booed off stage."

Henningsen learned near the end of a recent National Guard drill weekend of the opportunity to attend the Milwaukee Brewers game through a ticket promotion offered by the Wisconsin USO. He asked his unit leaders about the possibility of singing the National Anthem before the July 26 game; after gaining their approval, he sent the Brewers organization an audition CD. Less than 10 days later he received the Brewers' approval.

"I was ecstatic," Henningsen said. "For any singer, to get on a national stage or have the opportunity to sing in front of tens of thousands of people is a dream come true."

Henningsen joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard nearly five years ago to "become part of something bigger and better than myself." And his musical aspirations continue to grow as well. Having already performed the National Anthem at Elkhart Lake's Road America and now Miller Park, he has his sights set on the biggest sports stage in the state.
"Maybe I'll do a Packers game this season," he said.

Focus Groups Enhance Pacom's Regional Understanding, Engagement

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

HONOLULU, July 30, 2012 - As U.S. Pacific Command implements new strategic guidance focused on the Asia-Pacific region, its commander, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, is tapping into a pool of expertise within his headquarters here to enhance the command's engagements in the region.

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Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, on his first visit to China as Pacom commander, June 27, 2012. DOD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Carl N. Hudson

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Pacom is the only U.S. combatant command that includes strategic focus groups within its command structure. Then-Pacom commander Navy Adm. Robert Willard stood up the four groups in 2009 as part of a commandwide emphasis on strategic thinking to enhance operational planning.

"This is what combatant commanders across the globe should be attending to," Willard told reporters at the time. He pointed to the need for more focus on aligning the command with national strategies and policies and on understanding the strategies and policies of regional counterparts.  Today, these four strategic focus groups advise Locklear and his senior staff on key areas within the theater engagement strategy.

One group focuses on ways to mature the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship. Another concentrates on developing the U.S strategic partnership with India, a nonaligned nation that is a rising military power and economic powerhouse.

Another group explores ways to strengthen the five U.S. alliances in the region – with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines — and to advance other partnerships in the Asia-Pacific.

The fourth focus group concentrates on the North Korean threat and plans for a U.S.-South Korean military response, if required.

William McKinney, director of strategic focus group that focuses on North Korea, described the groups as "in-house, mini think tanks" that provide in-depth analysis to help Locklear shape decisions on strategy, policy and plans.

Unlike regular desk officers whose schedules can get overwhelmed by the details of day-to-day current operations, strategic focus groups concentrate on the big picture, McKinney explained. "We have the luxury of having the 'white space' and the time to, as Admiral Locklear says, 'think big,'" he said.

That entails everything from reading published reports to determining what a particular country is doing and why, and identifying the strategic implications of those actions.

The teams also help Pacom leaders understand the cultural context of how U.S. messages or actions will be interpreted.

"By studying that region, that country and that culture, strategic focus groups are able to provide some of the cultural understanding to our senior leaders and decision makers who need to understand how certain actions are going to be perceived in that country, or how certain actions are likely to be reciprocated," said David Dorman, director of the China SFG.

Those perspectives, explained Army Col. Michael Albaneze, the India SFG director, provide Locklear insights that help guide his decisions in light of opportunities as well as challenges in the region.

While not duplicating what other staff sections do, the strategic focus groups help to put those functions into context, he said.

"The idea is to look at issues more from a perspective of that country's interests," Albaneze said. "What are its understandings and its strategies and its policies? And how might they relate back to the United States, and more specifically, on the military-to-military relationship, and how we engage with them?"

The groups are small – typically just five or six members – and bring a broad array of backgrounds to the mission.

Dorman came to Pacom from Capitol Hill, where he worked East Asia policy issues as a senior staffer. After his initial introduction to China in the early 1980s as a Marine security guard, he went on to earn a doctorate in international security studies, with an emphasis on China.

McKinney retired from the military as a Korea foreign area officer, spending 15 of his 30 years of service in South Korea, with six of those years as the defense attache. He also got unique experience during three years in North Korea as the U.S. representative for the Korea Energy Development Organization.

Albaneze spent 11 months at the India National Defense College in 2009 before joining the Pacom staff.

Their staffs reflect mixed disciplines as well, with backgrounds in political-military affairs, strategic plans and policy, security assistance, operations and intelligence, among other fields.

"It really makes a lot of sense, because each discipline is going to provide its own perspective," said Albaneze. "And our job is to try to put all that together and give [Locklear] a sort of 'what does that all really mean to you, and what is the impact of that?"

Dorman, whose China SFG includes a wide range of specialists, some with experience in the country as attaches, called the diversity of his team's resumes one of its greatest strengths.

"We have people who have all worked China issues in one capacity or another, but coming from extremely different directions," he said. "And the benefit of that is that it gives us a perspective on China that no one has ever had before."

As the United States and South Korea prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice next year, McKinney expressed hope that insights he and his focus group provide will help Pacom deal with continuing challenges on the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile, Dorman and Albaneze said they're optimistic that the kind of deep understanding their teams provide can help Pacom work toward closer U.S. engagement with their focus nations.

The relatively new U.S. military relationship with India is slowly maturing, although not as quickly or as consistently as some would like, Albaneze conceded. "But if you look at it from the long term," he said, "you have a lot of mutual interests and converging interests about stability and increased economic growth and countering terrorism. And when you put all those things together, it gives us the potential to be hopeful to look into the future."

After recently traveling with Locklear on his first visit to China as Pacom commander, Dornan said he feels certain that the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship will move forward.

Dorman credited Locklear with exhibiting during that visit the exact kind of understanding it will take to open doors in that direction – and with no strategic focus group coaching. On meeting his Chinese counterparts, Locklear's first words were to acknowledge two milestone accomplishments: China's submersible deep-sea dive to 23,000 feet in the Marianas Trench on June 30 and China's first successful manned docking in space 12 days earlier.

"These were moments of supreme [Chinese] national pride, and he walked in and congratulated them," Dorman said. "Those were his first words: 'We are proud of you.'"

AWC opens doors for new academic year

by Staff Sgt. Sarah Loicano
Air University Public Affairs

7/27/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Air War College held an opening day ceremony Tuesday, marking the beginning of 10 months of advanced graduate-level studies for 242 new students.

The class of 2013 is a mix of students from all five U.S. military branches, federal civilian employees and international military members representing more than 40 nations. The students were welcomed by the mayors of Prattville and Montgomery, as well as the 42nd Wing Commander and Air University Commander and President Lt. Gen. David S. Fadok.

"You know how selective and competitive the process is, so the very fact that you were selected to represent your respective services, as well as your respective nations, is a big, big deal and you should be proud of that," Fadok said during the opening ceremony.

Prior to being selected to attend AWC, many of the students served as squadron or group commanding officers. This year AWC created a new program called First Thirty, designed to facilitate the students' transition from commander to scholar, as well as provide the class with a clear vision for the academic year.

According to Col. Kay Smith, AWC director of student operations, First Thirty was established to provide senior student officers a week to develop their leadership team and set a vision for the incoming class. During that week, First Thirty students did various team building exercises, attended orientation and set class goals.

"Our vision is to help us become more engaged senior leaders. We come here as squadron or even group leaders, where we've learned to deal with people and interact on a personal level, but here we are learning to look outside the Air Force organization," said Col. George Tombe, AWC Class 2013 president. "This gives us a global outlook on a strategic level. That's what's so exciting about working with the international students and alongside our sister services."

During the next 44 weeks, the officer students will develop their strategic and critical thinking skills and learn how to employ air and space forces on a global reach. These objectives are accomplished through course seminars, simulation exercises, electives, international travel and a national security symposium.

"The AWC resident curriculum includes core curriculum and an elective program. The core curriculum consists of four major areas: leadership and ethics, international security studies, national and military strategy, and joint warfighting," said Dr. Mark Conversino, dean of Air War College.

The required courses all students are expected to complete are foundations of strategy, national security and decision making, global security, regional and cultural studies, joint strategic leadership and warfighting. Each year, AWC offers about 60 elective courses; students are required to take two full electives for credit, which support and expand upon topics in the core curriculum.

In addition, U.S. students have an in-depth study one of 12-14 regions culminating with a international visit which allows the students to discuss security issues with senior political, military, diplomatic, economic and academic leaders in the region itself.

All U.S. students will be dually enrolled in the AWC senior-level professional military education program and the AU master of strategic studies degree program. In order to enroll, they must meet admission requirements for the master of strategic studies degree.

Although the emphasis is on education, AWC leadership also encourages officer students to use their time at Maxwell to engage their new community and develop personal and professional relationships, something that the students acknowledge is beneficial for their future careers.

"It's a huge advantage to be here; the in-residence program provides not only the classroom environment but networking opportunities. We live in a socially engaged society," Tombe said. "It's about meeting people, building relationships with peers, and our sister counterparts and international officers. It helps us to become more effective officers."

Despite the fact that the class of 2013 is coming together from all different branches of service, experiences and even countries, Maj. Gen. Scott M. Hanson, AWC commandant, said that is exactly what makes this academic year an exciting prospect for the in residence students.

"One common thing you all have together is the fact that when you walk out the door here next spring, you'll be expected to perform as senior leaders and it's our job to help you prepare for that role," he said. "This is a tremendous opportunity; this is your chance to learn, to grow and to lead. It's a year of transition. The opportunities are endless but it's your opportunity to take charge of your year and make it what you want it to be."

IAAFA hosts training managers

by Senior Airman Allison M. Boehm
JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

7/26/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Training managers from 16 Latin American countries attended the Inter-American Air Forces Academy Training Manager Conference July 16-17 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
IAAFA works to foster enduring inter-American engagement with Latin American countries through education and training.

Military students from more than 20 countries routinely attend courses at the IAAFA campus, thanks in part to the guidance their countries' training managers.

The conference, with 21 training managers in attendance, was critical in presenting an in-depth picture of the 34 courses offered, course overviews from each instructor, and briefings to better explain the IAAFA experience.

"Attending this conference has given me a better idea and more thorough explanation of what IAAFA can offer us," said Ritza Romero, a training manager from Honduras.

"Without coming here, I can read a course description in the catalog, but I can't explain to them what to expect as students," Romero said.

"I now know exactly how to prepare students when they are sent to an IAAFA course - from what to anticipate getting off the plane, to courses and simulators, to hospitality," she said. "We were able to experience everything that our students will when they come here."

Romero said as a training manager, part of her job is to understand IAAFA course descriptions, help match students with needed courses, and even help prepare them for travel to the U.S. Attending this conference makes those aspects of her job much easier.

"Although we provide a catalog, an interactive website, and are open any time for questions, the work the training managers provide can't be duplicated," said Col. Marc Stratton, IAAFA commandant. "Seeing first-hand each of the courses, talking to the instructors and actually handling some of the training aids that we use cannot be done virtually."

The last training manager conference was held in 2008. Since then, IAAFA has moved into a new facility, acquired different training aids, an additional aircraft, and modernized several courses. The conference served as an opportunity to update the training managers on improvements and changes that have taken place at IAAFA in the four years since.

"There is a huge difference in IAAFA," Romero said. "With the new building and improvements ... I wish we had something like this back home for training. This was a very rewarding opportunity to see what IAAFA has to offer."

End of an era: 94th FTS phases out TG-10 gliders

by Amber Baillie
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

7/27/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The TG-10C gliders that have been the Academy's sailplane of choice for basic and aerobatic training for the last decade ascended for its final flight here Monday.

The TG-10 trainer, which has been replaced by the new German TG-16A model, was flown for the last time on Academy grounds by Cadet 2nd Class Kurt Luithly, who flew the plane as a check ride to upgrade as a cadet instructor pilot. His evaluator, Lt. Col. Jeff Riddlebarger, an Air Force reservist, said it was one of the best check rides he'd seen.

"Luithly was very successful due to excellent discipline standards and leadership," said Lt. Col. Richard Roller, commander of the 94th Flying Training Squadron. "That's what the soaring program is all about: discipline, enthusiasm and teamwork."

Twelve TG-10 planes were brought to the Academy in May 2002 and used to give cadets firsthand experience flying an aircraft. The planes are no longer being manufactured but can still be flown and were transferred to the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol.

"They were used for 140,000 flights," Roller said. The TG-10 flew as high as 24,000 feet and had a record duration of 6.1 hours.

The Academy has received 15 TG-16s and will import four more. Five are smoke-capable and can perform aerial demonstrations. The remaining 14 are non-smoke capable and will be used for training purposes only.

"I'm really looking forward to training cadets again with the TG-16 as well as taking it on the road to air shows and hopefully football games," Roller said. "It's a great recruiting tool for the Academy."

Roller said the TG-16 is aesthetically pleasing and white instead of yellow. It also features a lightning bolt symbol similar to those on the Falcons' athletic gear.

"It's a good-looking glider," Roller said. "These gliders are a brand new look for the Academy, a new face to the soaring program and are made of fiber-glass instead of sheet metal. It's leading-edge soaring equipment."

The TG-16 is an overall upgrade because it's a newer product, can soar faster and has an extended service life, Roller said.

"The TG-10 had a 28-to-1 glide ratio and the TG-16 has approximately a 42-to-1 ratio," Roller said.

The biggest challenge with the new model has been getting cadets qualified in time to fly the TG-16 and get through the program, Roller said.

"Due to the use of a new airplane, a new technical order had to be written and cadets will have to restudy and relearn how to fly the airplane," Roller said. "A lot of work has taken place behind the scenes to transition to this new model. There is still a lot of work to be done to reach top airmanship, leadership and victory."

The TG-16s were first tested at Edwards Air Force base, Calif., to ensure Air Force regulations were met before they were shipped to the Academy.

Roller said new cadets began to use the new plane July 16. He said the core of the mission is for cadets to be leaders on the airfield and run the program on their own.

"We have the youngest instructor pilots in the country and train the most inexperienced," Roller said. "These young men and women are making life and death decisions flying solo in these planes. Our goal is to develop leaders of character and I think these new airplanes will help achieve that. I'm looking forward to them excelling in this model."

Rescue efforts combine in force during Red Flag 12-4

by Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs
23d Wing Public Affairs

7/30/2012 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Air combat exercises like Red Flag 12-4 puts pilots to the test in the air, but for one B-1B Lancer pilot his skills were tested on the ground as well.

The Nevada Test and Training Range serves as the aerial playground for war games during Red Flag. With more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land, NTTR offers pilots and other aircrew members a unique environment and terrain coupled with training scenarios that are not possible elsewhere. Their mission July 24: recover two isolated personnel from the remote Nevada desert.

Acting as downed aircrew for this combat search and rescue exercise was U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kyle Harrington, a B-1 bomber pilot with the 34th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

"I'll be playing [with] a simulated injury - a broken leg," Harrintgon said. "You've got guys hunting you down, and this tests evasions skills and the recovery skills of the A-10 and HH-60. I'll call them and let them know where I'm at and vector them in."

In addition to survival training for Harrington, the mission also served as an upgrade qualification for the A-10 pilot calling the shots from the air. Typically, the slow-moving A-10 is a natural platform for coordinating air assets as the rescue mission commander. Fighters, bombers, refuelers, helicopters and Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft were all dispatched for the rescue effort.

"Yesterday was an upgrade for me, and my first look at being a rescue mission commander," said Capt. Ryan Allen, an A-10C pilot with the 74th Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. "We coordinated all of the assets to rescue isolated personnel or downed aircrew. We had air-to-air, air-to-ground and a rescue mission. We had 50-plus aircraft that were out there - F-15s, F-16s, tankers and AWACS."

As Harrington scrambled to get to a designated rendezvous spot for pickup, Allen orchestrated more than 50 aircraft into position in the NTTR airspace. This was my fist time leading the rescue mission effort," he said. "The biggest takeaway was the mission integration; being able to have a lot of people who could tell me what they can bring to the fight."

Once Harrington's location was confirmed by Allen, he relayed that information to other aerial assets in the area to coordinate the pickup at the landing zone.

"His position was about 150 meters northeast of our original coordinates," said Capt. Brian Campbell, 66th Rescue Squadron HH-60 pilot at Nellis. "There was a little bit of a delay - 15-30 seconds of searching when we came over that ridge line. It's a lot more difficult to see him in that terrain. Our gunner got eyes on first and the co-pilot made the approach to the landing zone."

Campbell said typical training with the 66th RQS consists of a two-ship helicopter formation, with man simulations for other airframes, but having the fast-moving fighters interact with the much slower helicopters adds a certain realism.

"We don't get to do CSAR task forces a lot. The opportunity to participate in a large force exercise is somewhat unique. They're used to a quick air war, but with the helos it takes us longer," he said. And although Harrington wasn't in control of his B-1B for this scenario, he still understands how important training like this at Red Flag is. "The biggest thing I take away is how the B-1 flows with the other platforms and the specific piece it fills during a combat mission. Back home, it's just us. We very rarely get dissimilar aircraft training. This is great training for integration."

After nearly three hours of evading simulated enemy personnel, Harrington successfully made his way 1.8 miles to the extraction zone. By his side for safety was a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist.

"I'm there for safety and making sure he gets to the right spot to conduct training for the guys in the air," said Senior Airman Kevin Webb, a SERE specialist deployed from the 22nd Training Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. "I think he did great," Webb said. "He followed all of his communications procedures - that's one of the most important things: staying in contact with the recovery personnel. As long as you have comm, they can suppress fire and bring in resources. He signaled at the proper time - that's why the helicopter came straight to us. Speed is always security with a CSAR task force."