Military News

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."