Military News

Friday, August 03, 2012

Edinburgh Tattoo Uses Music to Foster Partnerships


By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Grieco
U.S. European Command

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 3, 2012 – Sailors from the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band are among about 1,000 international military and civilian musicians and dancers preparing to perform here in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo held outside Edinburgh Castle.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Fireworks shoot off from the castle and diamonds are projected onto the castle walls as multinational musicians and performers play "Diamonds are Forever" in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year during a Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo dress rehearsal for charities and local citizens of Edinburgh, Scotland. This military tattoo brings together musicians, dancers and bagpipers from around the world to perform in Europe’s most prestigious military tattoo and this year marks the first time since 1950 that a U.S. Navy band has performed in the show. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Grieco
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
 
The tattoo kicks off today and continues through Aug. 25. The tattoo showcases music, dance and displays from around the world and is played against the backdrop of the famous castle there for a live audience of approximately 217,000 people during this month in addition to being broadcast in 30 countries across the globe.

“This is like the Superbowl of tattoos,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Bruns, NAVEUR Band public affairs. “It’s an honor to be here at the most famous and most well-known tattoo in the world.”
The vision of tattoo Chief Executive and Producer British Army Brig. Gen. David Allfrey, formerly the commander of the Royal Scottish Dragoon Guards, involves telling Scottish history through the ages from the Pictish barbarians to the modern digital age, according to NAVEUR Band Assistant Director Navy Ensign Christopher Cornette. He said each performer in the tattoo has his or her own portion of that story and the NAVEUR Band’s music represents comic book heroes meant to take the audience from the 1930s to the digital age of 1980s and ’90s.
Allfrey said the characters represented by the music are universal to Scotland and while the tattoo seeks to entertain and inspire, it also hopes to create a fun atmosphere.

“I am thrilled with our international guests and as ever, the tattoo is proud to present some of the very best,” Allfrey said.

Another vision being created is one of lasting international partnership. British Royal Scottish Dragoons Guardsman Capt. Harry Braitwaite said while this is only his second time with this tattoo, this is not his first time interacting with Americans.

“When we were in Hong Kong last time for the international tattoo, we worked alongside your 7th Fleet Band, and it was absolutely fantastic,” Braitwaite said. “It is lovely to meet other service members from around the world and particularly our closest allies. It not only gives us perspective, but makes you feel as if you have friends all over the world.”

Braitwaite said his relationship with Americans goes back to his childhood when his father was posted to Washington, D.C., and his more recent interactions with American troops in Afghanistan. He also said the physical location of the tattoo is special to his unit.

“The Edinburgh tattoo has a long-standing presence and as a Royal Scots Dragoon Guard, and, though we are based in Germany at the moment, our spiritual home is very much Edinburgh Castle,” Braitwaite said.

One Australian sailor said the tattoo also has the power of showing the lighter and friendlier side of the world’s militaries.

“When I first joined nine years ago, one of the best quotes I ever heard was that military bands are the frontlines of peacetime defense,” said Australian Able Seaman Musician Ellen Zyla, with the Sydney Detachment of the Royal Australian navy band. “This event shows that even though there is a great deal going on in the world, we stand together and that our solidarity holds strong.”
Zyla said she found out about the U.S. Navy musicians coming to perform through her social media contact within the band.
“I’m friends with one of the U.S. Navy French horn players,” Zyla said. “I got a birthday message online asking if I was in Edinburgh for the tattoo ... I was extremely surprised, and truly this event feels to me to be more like a meeting of old friends.”

Among the many groups coming out for the tattoo are soldiers attached to His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guards Band and Drill Team. One Norwegian officer in the group commented on the power of music to unite cultures and strengthen bonds between nations.

“I think music is powerful,” 1st Lt. Gir Toege said. “You can be from America, Germany or Norway and yet still have the same music and a common marching style; it’s a truly worldwide language.”
Toege feels this event differs from other military-to-military engagements due to its peaceful undertones.

“We’re not training for war,” Toege said. “We’re training for peace here; it’s quite a different concept.”

Toege said he feels the world of the future will be better off because of the relationship-building happening at places like Edinburgh. He said it is easier for a foreign national to integrate into a multinational unit if he already knows the service members and their customs.

To another musician, the tattoo presents an opportunity to play alongside the NAVEUR Band again.
“I served about a year with the NAVEUR Band,” said Musician Laura White, with the Royal Marines Band Service. “I travelled over to Italy, and I learned a great deal from the Navy band. Honestly, when we stand up there and perform, we’re all mixed together, and we become one unit. Music is the same language, and by talking with each other here, we’re building bonds between our nations.”

Cornette said the long-term benefit of events such as the Edinburgh tattoo is showing the world the possibility for military and civilian interaction across boundaries.

“Whether that’s here in Europe, or certainly down in Africa, we always try and provide a picture to make people realize that no matter our differences, it is possible to come together and work toward a unified vision,” Cornette said. “This is the first time in about 10 years the U.S. has been part of this and the first time the U.S. Navy has been involved, and we are deeply honored to be here.”

Cornette also said music is a universal language, and, though all the military musicians may not speak the same language to each other, they all can understand and play the same music.

“It’s very easy to bring these people together, put a sheet of music in front of musicians who can’t otherwise communicate, and instantly they’re working together to make a product everyone can understand,” Cornette said.

Braitwaite said he hopes to see U.S. bands at future tattoos and hopes one day to work with American service members again.

The first tattoo was the Army in Scotland’s contribution to Edinburgh’s international festivals. Today, the tattoo is an international extravaganza, over time bringing together more than 40,000 performers from more than 46 countries.
 

36th MUNS, Navy Ordnance work together for RIMPAC

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


8/3/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Airmen from the 36th Munitions Squadron worked hand-in-hand with Naval Base Guam's ordnance unit to support the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron's participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise July 11 to 31.

The RIMPAC exercise, which started in 1971, is a biennial exercise in and around the shores of Hawaii. With 22 nations working together, approximately 25,000 personnel and 250 aircraft, it is the world's largest maritime exercise.

"I'm amazed at all the planning and the coordination that was done in order to make RIMPAC happen," said Master Sergeant Stephen Taylor, 36th MUNS deployed ammo lead. "It's something I'm very proud to be part of."

The 36th MUNS played a key role in munitions support to B-52 aircraft, allowing the 69th EBS to drop Navy's MK-62 mines during RIMPAC's MINEX, a low-level mine-laying exercise designed to train the Navy's counter-mine specialists.

"We help put the mines on Air Force bomb trailers, make sure they're tied down correctly, and deliver them to the flightline safely," said Sergeant Taylor. "We also do quality control. We receive technical data from Navy personnel and make sure the assets are 100 percent serviceable."
During RIMPAC, when the Navy needs large quantities of mines delivered, the Air Force provides the heavy bombers that can support a number of missions.

"Navy pilots usually fly the mines in smaller aircraft," said Sergeant Taylor. "For this exercise, the Air Force provides U.S. Pacific Command with the heavy bombers in order to deliver these munitions in large quantities. Through this process, the B-52 pilots also get the chance to learn how to drop ordnance in an environment that they usually don't drop them in - water."

According to Sergeant Taylor, the whole RIMPAC experience is considered rare training for 69th EBS B-52 crews and maintainers who only work with Navy ordinance on occasion.

The 69th EBS is currently deployed to Andersen from Minot AFB, N.D., in support of PACOM's Continuous Bomber Presence to maintain security and stability in the Western Pacific.

"Supporting the B-52s in their missions for the CBP is already unique in itself," he said. "That is why I feel very privileged to be here and directly contributing to the RIMPAC exercise."

One of RIMPAC's objectives is to sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. Being part of a maritime exercise enhanced the Airmen's appreciation of their Naval counterparts.

"In this exercise, we had the opportunity to see how the Navy produces their munitions and effectively work as a team," said Staff Sgt. Justin Williams, 36th MUNS conventional maintenance supervisor. "This shows that there are other ways to solve problems, other tools to work on assets and different ways get the job done."

The RIMPAC exercise tests, evaluates and demonstrates the maritime capabilities of the U.S. and the participating nations. It is also a stage where our servicemembers in Guam can present themselves as key players on a global scale.

DOD Officials Detail Defense Posture in Asia-Pacific By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2012 – The Defense Department remains focused on building and strengthening defense initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region to reach the goals outlined in the U.S. defense strategic guidance, senior DOD officials said here Aug. 1. Robert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, and David F. Helvey, acting deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. force posture in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility. “The department continues to pursue a defense posture in the Asia-Pacific region that is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable,” Scher said. “More broadly, we are investing in defense activities, presence, posture and capabilities necessary to reassure allies and partners in the region and shape the security environment, while also providing forward capabilities appropriate to deter and defeat aggression,” he said. Scher noted force posture is only one of many priorities within the rebalancing toward the region. Other initiatives, he said, include diplomatic efforts to strengthen bilateral alliances, deepening working relationships with emerging powers, engaging with multilateral institutions, expanding trade and investment, and advancing principles of democracy and human rights. “Rebalancing to achieve these ends requires enhanced U.S., allied and partner military capabilities throughout the region,” Scher said. “[Also a] U.S. forward presence of forces, and a more resilient military infrastructure to support effective U.S. power projection operations in the face of current and future security threats.” Scher said the department’s plans include building up Guam as the strategic hub in the Western Pacific, expanding access to locations in Southeast Asia, Oceania and the Indian Ocean region, and investing in capabilities appropriate for deterring and defeating aggression while reassuring allies and partners. “[We will] expand our exercises, assistance efforts and other engagements with allied partner states in order to build trust capability and interoperability,” he said. “Pursuing these and other capabilities offers the best prospect for protecting U.S. interests, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also elsewhere in the world.” Helvey pointed to the four key principles Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta outlined during a key Asia security conference known as the Shangri-La dialogue that took place in Singapore in June. “One, promoting international rules in order to advance peace and security in the region; two, deepening of bilateral and multilateral partnerships. Three, enhancing and adapting the U.S. military's enduring presence in the region; and four, investing in the capabilities needed to project power and to operate in the Asia-Pacific.” The Asia-Pacific region, Helvey said, provides an “unprecedented” opportunity for trade and investment since it is “home to some of the world's largest and fastest-growing economies, the world's largest populations and the world's largest militaries.” Helvey also said the region contains challenges such as maintaining freedom of navigation of the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, as well as seeking transparency in the military activities of key regional players, such as China. Helvey also discussed the DOD plan regarding the realignment of U.S. Marines in the region aimed at reducing political pressures in Japan. “The realignment plan sustains a U.S. Marine force presence in the Asia-Pacific region, establishes multiple, fully capable Marine air- ground task forces, and importantly increases our ability over time to train and exercise with allies and partners throughout the region,” he said. “This approach maintains our forward capabilities, reduces our footprint in Okinawa, and in combination with other measures, should reduce the political pressures associated with our presence there, all while sustaining robust government-of-Japan financial support for the Marine Corps move to Guam.” Helvey noted the Department of Defense continues to work closely with Japan to implement the provisions of the April 27, 2012, two-plus-two joint statement. He then turned to the U.S.-South Korea alliance. “The U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance continues to be a cornerstone of U.S. defense partnerships and posture in Northeast Asia,” he said. “In accordance with the 2009 joint vision statement, we are realigning our forces on the Korean Peninsula to prepare for transition of wartime operational control to the ROK in December 2015. This transition will allow for the ROK to take the lead role in the combined defense of Korea, supported by an enduring and capable U.S. military force presence on the Korean Peninsula, in the region and beyond.” Other significant posture changes, he said, include the rotational deployments of the Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force units to Australia, as well as a littoral combat ship deployment to Singapore to strengthen U.S. engagement in the region through port calls and engagement of regional navies. “They will also support the department's effort to counter transnational challenges and build partner capacity for maritime security, among other missions,” Helvey said.

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2012 – The Defense Department remains focused on building and strengthening defense initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region to reach the goals outlined in the U.S. defense strategic guidance, senior DOD officials said here Aug. 1.

Robert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, and David F. Helvey, acting deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. force posture in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

“The department continues to pursue a defense posture in the Asia-Pacific region that is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable,” Scher said.

“More broadly, we are investing in defense activities, presence, posture and capabilities necessary to reassure allies and partners in the region and shape the security environment, while also providing forward capabilities appropriate to deter and defeat aggression,” he said.

Scher noted force posture is only one of many priorities within the rebalancing toward the region.
Other initiatives, he said, include diplomatic efforts to strengthen bilateral alliances, deepening working relationships with emerging powers, engaging with multilateral institutions, expanding trade and investment, and advancing principles of democracy and human rights.

“Rebalancing to achieve these ends requires enhanced U.S., allied and partner military capabilities throughout the region,” Scher said. “[Also a] U.S. forward presence of forces, and a more resilient military infrastructure to support effective U.S. power projection operations in the face of current and future security threats.”
Scher said the department’s plans include building up Guam as the strategic hub in the Western Pacific, expanding access to locations in Southeast Asia, Oceania and the Indian Ocean region, and investing in capabilities appropriate for deterring and defeating aggression while reassuring allies and partners.

“[We will] expand our exercises, assistance efforts and other engagements with allied partner states in order to build trust capability and interoperability,” he said. “Pursuing these and other capabilities offers the best prospect for protecting U.S. interests, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also elsewhere in the world.”
Helvey pointed to the four key principles Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta outlined during a key Asia security conference known as the Shangri-La dialogue that took place in Singapore in June.

“One, promoting international rules in order to advance peace and security in the region; two, deepening of bilateral and multilateral partnerships. Three, enhancing and adapting the U.S. military's enduring presence in the region; and four, investing in the capabilities needed to project power and to operate in the Asia-Pacific.”
The Asia-Pacific region, Helvey said, provides an “unprecedented” opportunity for trade and investment since it is “home to some of the world's largest and fastest-growing economies, the world's largest populations and the world's largest militaries.”

Helvey also said the region contains challenges such as maintaining freedom of navigation of the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, as well as seeking transparency in the military activities of key regional players, such as China.

Helvey also discussed the DOD plan regarding the realignment of U.S. Marines in the region aimed at reducing political pressures in Japan.

“The realignment plan sustains a U.S. Marine force presence in the Asia-Pacific region, establishes multiple, fully capable Marine air- ground task forces, and importantly increases our ability over time to train and exercise with allies and partners throughout the region,” he said. “This approach maintains our forward capabilities, reduces our footprint in Okinawa, and in combination with other measures, should reduce the political pressures associated with our presence there, all while sustaining robust government-of-Japan financial support for the Marine Corps move to Guam.”

Helvey noted the Department of Defense continues to work closely with Japan to implement the provisions of the April 27, 2012, two-plus-two joint statement. He then turned to the U.S.-South Korea alliance.
“The U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance continues to be a cornerstone of U.S. defense partnerships and posture in Northeast Asia,” he said. “In accordance with the 2009 joint vision statement, we are realigning our forces on the Korean Peninsula to prepare for transition of wartime operational control to the ROK in December 2015. This transition will allow for the ROK to take the lead role in the combined defense of Korea, supported by an enduring and capable U.S. military force presence on the Korean Peninsula, in the region and beyond.”

Other significant posture changes, he said, include the rotational deployments of the Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force units to Australia, as well as a littoral combat ship deployment to Singapore to strengthen U.S. engagement in the region through port calls and engagement of regional navies.

“They will also support the department's effort to counter transnational challenges and build partner capacity for maritime security, among other missions,” Helvey said.

SUGARHOUSE CASINO DONATES SITE FOR SPECIAL FORCES WAR MEMORIAL


Monday, August 6 marks one-year anniversary of helicopter attack in Afghanistan

PHILADELPHIA – August 3, 2012 – On August 6, 2011, a U.S. Boeing CH-47 Chinook military helicopter was shot down while transporting reinforcements west of Kabul, Afghanistan. The crash killed all 38 people on board. America lost 30 warriors, and Philadelphia lost one of our own. It was the worst single-day loss of life in the Afghanistan campaign, as well as the worst single loss of Special Forces personnel in U.S. history. 

Among the victims were American special operations personnel, including Philadelphian CTR1 Michael J. Strange, 25, a member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group—known as SEAL Team Six. Michael’s father, Charles Strange, is a table-games dealer at SugarHouse Casino, and his brother, Chas, has also recently joined this team as a security officer.

To ensure those heroes are never forgotten, a group of Philadelphia business and civic leaders today announced plans for a permanent memorial alongside the Delaware River, just north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The memorial will be dedicated to all those killed in the tragic events of August 6, 2011, in the Wardak Province, Afghanistan.

The Penn Treaty Special Services District (SSD), funded annually by SugarHouse, has expressed interest in supporting this project, and SugarHouse Casino has offered a site on its waterfront property. A local board of active duty and retired military have partnered with area veterans’ organizations and community leaders to spearhead the development effort.

“The lessons of history can be found throughout Philadelphia, some are ancient and some are painfully recent,” said LtCol Kevin Kelly - USAF.  “This one hit particularly close to home, and now it’s our duty to honor their sacrifice.”

A dedicated nonprofit organization is being formed to raise funds for design and construction. For more information or to get involved, call local attorney Eileen Hurley at 215-280-1854 or sign up online to receive information at www.6august11.org.

6 AUGUST 11 WARRIOR MEMORIAL SUPPORTERS (partial list):
Boeing Company
City of Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission
Liberty USO
Local 98
Office of Councilman Jim Kenney
Office of Councilman David Oh
Office of Councilman Mark Squilla
Office of Senator Pat Toomey
Penn Treaty Special Services District
Puente Construction
PZS Architects
SugarHouse Casino
Veterans of Foreign Wars

MEDIA CONTACT:
Leigh Whitaker
SugarHouse Casino / 6 August 11 Warrior Memorial Association
215-300-9413 (mobile)

Pacom: Asia-Pacific Focus Represents ‘Whole of Government’ Rebalance

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

CAMP SMITH, Hawaii, Aug. 3, 2012 – Recognizing that the new focus on the Asia-Pacific region is a national strategy and one not just for the Defense Department alone, U.S. Pacific Command is reaching out to its interagency and non-governmental partners to roll it out in an efficient, well-coordinated manner.
“We are in the process of refocusing on the Asia-Pacific, and a key part of that is assuring that our military relationships throughout the region are strong and secure,” said Ambassador Marc Wall, foreign policy advisor to Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the Pacom commander.

“That is a key part of it, but it is not the only part,” Wall told American Forces Press Service. “It also has important elements involving diplomatic outreach. We want to strengthen our multilateral relationships throughout the region. We also want to expand our economic relationships in the region.”


So as Pacom implements the Defense Department’s new strategic guidance that emphasizes the importance of the Asia-Pacific to U.S. national security, a division within the headquarters is helping to ensure the command’s programs and initiatives track with those of other government agencies.

Representatives of the departments of State, Energy and Interior; Agency for International Development; FBI and CIA are all assigned to Pacom’s Pacific Outreach Directorate.

They help provide a better understanding of what each organization brings to the mission, better operational coordination and less overlap, said Michael Ritchie, the office director.
“Much of what we do is educate,” he said, helping staff members recognize the non-DOD capabilities that can enhance Pacom’s mission.
“I like to tell people, ‘We don’t make the product,’” Ritchie said. “We exist to make the product better, bringing the perspectives and the authorities of the rest of government to the planning and operations of the command.”
The proof is in the pudding, he said. “We do much better contingency planning [and] we write plans in language that the rest of the government understands,” Ritchie said. “We are much better off for it, and so are our interagency partners.”

Unlike some U.S. combatant commands that integrate non-DOD representatives directly into their headquarters staffs, Ritchie made a conscious decision to maintain his staff’s reporting and rating chains to their respective departments and agencies.

“They are here to assist us in doing better planning and inform us about the types of things that their agency is doing, and this model empowers them to better inform us,” he said.

The “whole-of-government” approach boils down to four basic areas, referred to as DIME: diplomatic, informational, military and economic, Ritchie explained.

The Defense Department recognizes its responsibility for the “military” piece. But even in interactions that appear to fall within this area, Ritchie said sometimes DOD isn’t the best resource. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for example, is better postured than Pacific Air Forces to assist a country looking for help in stopping smugglers from using its air routes.

“This is not a U.S. Air Force core competency, but it is a Customs and Border Protection core competency,” Ritchie said. “So we are able to bring the right tool to the country and help them solve their problem, with people who have expertise in interdicting and tracking people in light aircraft that come across their border…Our military doesn’t have those roles, but we have friends who do.”

That’s the strength of the whole-of-government approach, Ritchie said. “It is using all our authorities to do what we do, in conjunction with other people’s authorities, in order to get the job done better,” he said.
Ritchie’s staff ensures that the Pacom commander and staff recognize and understand what other government agencies are doing in the Asia-Pacific, and ensures their own plans dovetail with those efforts. As a result, Pacom is increasingly incorporating not only the interagency, but also non-governmental and international organizations, academia and the private sector into its outreach initiatives.

The current, Pacom-sponsored Pacific Partnership humanitarian and civic assistance mission, for example, includes military and civilian experts from the United States, four host nations, 11 partner nations and two dozen U.S. and international NGOs.

A command-wide program designed to build Pacific nations’ resiliency to natural disasters is tapping into NGOs’ and universities’ skills and manpower, and funding from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its members.

Ritchie cited another example of how the private sector and military could work together. “If there are corporations that are interested in doing clean-water projects, and we have engineers who dig wells as part of their training, then perhaps we can collaborate and do something together,” he said. “So we do a well, they do a distribution system and everyone wins. It is maximizing the benefits on the margins of everyone’s interest.”

Looking to the future, with a national focus on the Asia-Pacific and constrained budgets, Ritchie said he sees great opportunity to expand Pacom’s interagency and non-governmental collaboration. It brings the broadest range of capabilities, experiences and perspectives, he said, to assemble the best and broadest array of tools in a single toolkit.

That, he said, is the genius behind Pacom’s basic mission statement: “US. Pacific Command, together with other U.S. government agencies, protects and defends the United States, its territories, allies and interests.”
“It begins with, ‘together, with other federal agencies,’” Ritchie said. “And to me, that is the key here.”

Face of Defense: Wounded Aviator Gets Airborne Again


By Army Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2012 - Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Callahan is airborne again, flying a C-12 Huron twin-engine airplane in support of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade here.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Callahan is presented with Purple Heart medal by Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend, 101st Airborne Division Deputy Commander, for wounds received in Afghanistan, Sept. 3, 2010. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Less than two years ago, Callahan, who's originally from Bloomsdale, Mo., was told he couldn't fly aircraft again, could never run again, and would walk with a noticeable limp for the rest of his life. 

On Sept. 3, 2010, while flying on a daily reconnaissance mission, Callahan encountered small-arms fire in an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter flying near Sanjaray village in Afghanistan.
"From out of nowhere, it felt like a baseball bat smashed against my leg," Callahan recalled.

During the engagement, one bullet went through Callahan's lower left leg. He quickly applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and notified the other aircraft and his co-pilot that he was wounded.

Callahan immediately flew to Forward Operating Base Wilson for care before being transported back to Kandahar Airfield where he was treated for a compound fracture in his lower leg.

After more surgery at Bagram, he was awarded the Purple Heart from Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the 101st Airborne Division's deputy commander. Callahan's final stop was Fort Lewis, Wash., where he underwent the last of his surgeries and began his long road to recovery.

"During the recovery, the nerve conduction test had me worried," Callahan recalled. "I was told that I would never run again. I thought, I still have my legs, I can walk, I can still be glad for that."

Callahan said he received support from his family and friends during his recovery.

One close friend was Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mariko Kraft, a pilot with the WRFC, originally from Clarksville, Tenn., who was also an OH-58D pilot at the same time as Callahan.

"A lot of people would have seen it as a set-back, start doubting themselves, and feel sorry," Kraft said of his friend's desire to return to duty. "He saw that he was still fortunate to have his legs, to walk, and knew he could still do a lot. He saw his injury as a small bump in the road to get back to the fight."

Callahan said he had personal reasons for wanting to be a pilot, noting he previously served as a forward observer with the 1st Ranger Battalion.

"I remember at the end of one particularly long mission in Afghanistan, a couple of helicopters came to pick us up and I thought it was time for a career change. As a Kiowa pilot, I got to see more of what was going on than just my squad on the ground. Now I am helping soldiers in a sticky situation. There is nothing like having soldiers come in from the field and saying thank you for the support we provided for them."

Callahan's motivation for flying and supporting the guys on the ground is echoed by his co-workers.

"He was very dedicated to supporting the ground guys," Kraft said. "He had added appreciation for what was happening on the ground. We do what we can to make sure the guys on the ground get home to their families and friends."

While he was participating in physical therapy, Callahan was notified that if he could recover he could take part in a fixed-wing aircraft course in about eight months.

"I was motivated to get through physical therapy," Callahan said. "I had to make that fixed-wing course; I had to get back to the aircraft."

"I think he saw it as another challenge to overcome," said Kraft.

Callahan said he received his approval for flight status a month before the class started.

"Don't let what the doctors say be the last word for you," Callahan said. "If you keep working on what you want, you never know what is possible."

KC-135 Miscellaneous Shop always prepared

by Mike W. Ray
Tinker Public Affairs


8/3/2012 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- Mechanics in the KC-135 Miscellaneous Shop in Bldg. 9001 have to be prepared to work almost any aircraft part.

Main landing gear doors, hatches, wheel well fairings, cove lip doors, and in-flight refueling doors are just a few of the many Management of Items Subject to Repair end items repaired by shop employees.

Programmed Depot Maintenance balance panels, hatches and access doors "have to be completed in a timely manner to get back to the aircraft as soon as possible," Supervisor Debra Riley said.

In addition, T-jobs and new MISTR workloads are routed through the shop, which is in the 551st Commodities Maintenance Squadron.

Most of these end items have outlived PDM repairs, Riley said.

Consequently, she said, "A lot of the end items are coming through the shop as MISTR items that require a full overhaul."

Because of the "extreme extent" of the overhauls, most items have to be worked in a fixture "to maintain the original integrity so they will fit on any KC-135 aircraft," Riley said.

The two dozen employees in the shop work on approximately 100 different end items, Assistant Supervisor Fredie Green said.The mechanics don't get bored constantly working the same end item.

"When they finish working on one end item, they could be working whatever is hot next," Green said.

After overhauling a main landing gear door, for instance, a mechanic in the Miscellaneous Shop might need to overhaul an escape hatch or a sailboat fairing.

Some of the miscellaneous end items can be repaired within a week to 10 days, while bigger items may take two to three weeks to complete, Green said.

The shop's mechanics are skilled at reading blueprints and work closely with engineers to accomplish the overhaul of the many different end items, Riley said.

The KC-135 Miscellaneous Shop receives most of its repair parts from the Defense Logistics Agency, she said, "but if we cannot get the parts and we have the capability to make the part ourselves, we will."

The shop maintains a large variety of bench stock items "so we are prepared to work anything that comes through the door," Riley said.

AF CSA travel card transitions to GTC

by Tech. Sgt. Shawn J. Jones
Air Force Public Affairs Agency


8/3/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The terms and conditions for the Air Force's travel charge card are changing, but Airmen can hang on to their blue cards.

From Aug. 7 through the end of September, the Air Force Banking Office will e-mail some 300,000 Airmen, informing them that their controlled spend account card will convert back to a government travel card, which will operate like a standard charge card.

For Airmen who received a CSA card and previously had a GTC or traveled using the CSA without going delinquent, the transition will be automatic. They must complete a training course found at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/passport and sign a statement of understanding.

Otherwise, they may continue using their card for official travel purposes.

However, some Airmen are being notified by their agency program coordinator that they must apply for the GTC because they never had a GTC in the past, but were issued a CSA card and either went delinquent or never used it. The application process involves a credit check that will only be performed with applicant's consent.

The current blue CSA card will now operate just like the GTC that was used for many years prior to the CSA. GTCs have fixed credit limits like a regular charge card, and cardholders no longer need to request temporary spend limit increases. If a cardholder's official travel estimate exceeds their credit limit, they need to discuss their options with their APC.

This CSA to GTC transition will bring about a few new features. New to the GTC program is the option for cardholders to request electronic balance refunds, receive automated e-mail reminders when an account is close to becoming delinquent, and a future enhancement to automatically split-disburse most non-mileage expenses such as hotel taxes, excess baggage and rental fuel to the travel card when completing a Defense Travel System voucher.

These new features aren't the only differences between the new GTC and the CSA card.

Requests for credit limit increases on the new card must be coordinated with the cardholder's supervisor and APC who is responsible for managing the travel card program. Also, the terms of the GTC include a cash advance fee of 2.2 percent, which is considered a reimbursable travel expense when used for official purposes.

"It is critical for all Air Force travelers to know their travel card status - open or closed, restricted or standard - and their APC before departing for a temporary duty or a permanent change of station," said Jim Sisson, Director, Air Force Banking Office.

Soldier Show sends strong message to JBLM

5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 For anyone who thought last year’s Soldier Show packed a punch, its song-and-dance production this year is likely to yield a full-blown knockout.
The travelling show’s program manager, Johnny Stewart, said the cast will bring with it a 13-foot-high, 28-foot-wide, high-resolution LED video wall, which will set a background of images portraying Army life as the group performs.

This year’s cast, which began its tour at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, April 19 and makes its way to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 10 for a one-time-only performance, is the first to have the use of such state-of-the-art equipment.
“The show is getting more and more technical each year and is becoming more and more advanced,” Stewart said.

This year’s performance, inspired by Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno’s message praising the Army and its Families and communities, is paying tribute to the sacrifices of not only Soldiers, but the support systems that stand behind them.

“It takes more than just a Soldier,” Stewart said. “It takes a Family, and it takes a community; everybody plays a part. “It drives the Army’s message home more than ever.”

The show, which will play for more than 30 installations around the U.S. and Japan in its five-month tour, emphasizes qualities and characteristics, like resilience, that are commonly indicative of Soldiers, their Families and the Army society as a whole.

The cast will perform renditions of songs from all genres and ages, including music by singer Etta James, rapper Pitbull, pop artist Kelly Clarkson and contemporary group LMFAO.

Stewart said Soldiers interested in joining the Soldier Show team as technicians need not worry about their level of relative experience.

“It’s more about having an interest in something,” he said. “We can train you to be an audio technician. It’s just a desire to be involved in it (that matters).”

Those interested in becoming technicians with the show can contact Stewart via e-mail at johnny.e.stewart.naf@mail.mil for more information.

The group will perform for the JBLM community at 5 p.m., Aug. 10 at Evergreen Theater.

4th AS deploys to Middle East

Airlift squadron’s area of operation to include Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa

Staff Sgt. Frances Kriss
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Published: 05:20PM August 2nd, 2012
4th AS deploys to Middle East

Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 62nd Airlift Wing and director of the 2012 JBLM Air Expo, wishes Airmen good luck as they depart.
The 4th Airlift Squadron deployed July 25 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

More than 90 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing’s 4th AS departed for a 60-day deployment to the Middle East. They are accompanied by Airmen from the 446th AW and others from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

“It’s a great privilege and honor to be able to command the men and women of the 817th EAS in combat,” said Lt. Col. Jason Ginn, 817th EAS commander. “We have assembled a great team of Airmen from Air Force Reserve Command, Pacific Air Forces, the Air National Guard and the 62nd Airlift Wing to execute the 817th EAS’s mission; this mission is what we train for day in and day out, and now we get the opportunity to accomplish it in the deployed environment.

“We expect to be very busy over the next 60 days, but I know this total force team looks forward to the challenge and will do a fantastic job,” he said. “Most importantly, we thank our friends and families for their support and sacrifice.”

The unit will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions concentrated in and around Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. It is replacing the 8th Airlift Squadron, which is scheduled to return in early August.

As Airmen of the 817th EAS, their mission is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout the assigned areas of responsibility.

The 62nd AW’s four active-duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and continuously rotate operations of the 817th EAS.

History brings patient care full circle

by Sandra Pishner
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/3/2012 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Seriously injured in an eight-story fall from a hotel ledge in Thailand, 17-year-old Kurt Krusekopf was airlifted on a Reserve aeromedical evacuation flight for life-saving care. That was 37 years ago, yet that mission is memorialized in the history of the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Maj. Maryjane Baska, a 446th AES Medical Service Corps officer, came across an old article and letters of appreciation concerning the mission while sifting through historical documents in various boxes in the squadron. That history includes squadron predecessors 40th AES and 69th AEF.

"I'm set for mandatory retirement in March," said Baska, "and I told Colonel (Janette) Moore-Harbert (446th AES commander) that the one thing I wanted to leave was a digitized history of the unit."

As a self-proclaimed history nut, Baska felt too much "stuff" gets lost as people retire and didn't want the squadron's corporate knowledge to fade away, including this mission.

The Krusekopf family had been in Laos in 1975 when they were quickly evacuated from the country, as detailed in a 1975 news article about Kurt's devastating accident. Reading about Laos reminded Baska of her first life reality check of caring for a gunner involved in the 1975 Mayaguez incident, the last official battle of the Vietnam War. This set her to wondering about patients she has been involved with over the years and what happened to them. Although Kurt wasn't her patient, Baska decided to see if she could find him after coming across his story in the squadron's archives.

"In the original article, it stated that Kurt wanted to be a vet. Not many 17 year olds follow through and complete their dreams," said Baska, who serves as a Pastor in New Jersey. "I Googled him, got an e-mail address, and said 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' and sent the e-mail. This was the one and only time in 38 years that I had the chance to find a patient. And when I got an e-mail address for him on the first website I opened, I just had to smile, and wonder, if it really could be him."

And indeed it was, as Kurt responded quickly to the query Baska sent.

The text of the e-mail Baska received back:

"I am Kurt Krusekopf, the 1975 air evac patient flown from Bangkok, Thailand to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The fall from a hotel balcony in Bangkok occurred following our forced evacuation out of Vientiane, Laos. I have fuzzy recollections of the trip leaving out of Utapao, with layovers in Clark, Guam, Long Beach, Altus, and finally Tinker. The air evac and many service individuals along the way helped save my life. Thank you."

The e-mail goes on to describe Kurt's recovery at a hospital in Oklahoma City and his appreciation for the airlift and the allowance to have his mother travel with him. He also expressed that while unaware, he was not surprised to hear his dad had written to the Pentagon expressing the family's appreciation for the support of the U.S. Air Force.

So, did 17-year-old Kurt follow his dream of becoming a veterinarian as Baska wondered?

His e-mail goes on to say:
"What happened to me? I became a veterinarian. My work is in public health, food safety and meat inspection. I live with my family in College Station, Texas. Recently my work took me to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to teach meat inspection to Viet Nam officials. Incredible how the world changes in 37 years. I appreciate your time and effort to make contact. Your thoughtfulness makes the world a little smaller and a lot warmer."

Inspired by this exchange, Baska continues to wade through the mountains of documents holding the history of the 446th AES, including the inherited history of air evacuation units that evolved to make up today's 446th AES.

Additional Firefighting Aircraft Head to Rocky Mountain Region

From a 153rd Air Expeditionary Group News Release

CHEYENNE, Wyo., Aug. 3, 2012 – The U.S. Forest Service has requested two more Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 aircraft to help with combating wildfires in the Rocky Mountain area.
The two aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., will supplement the two C-130s from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, currently operating from Boise Air Terminal, in Idaho.

"There is a high potential for lightning forecasted as a low-pressure system begins moving through the area later this weekend," said Air Force Col. Jerry Champlin, commander of the 153rd Air Expeditionary Group. "We relieved the 302nd from MAFFS last week because of the favorable fire outlook. However, all the wings know not to get too comfortable at home during fire season."

Since being activated June 25, the MAFFS fleet has released more than 888,981 gallons of fire retardant in more than 368 drops on fires in eight states in the Rocky Mountain area.

The MAFFS-equipped C-130s 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.

MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the 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.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy visits Whiteman

by Senior Airman Montse Belleau
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


8/2/2012 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy visited Whiteman July 25 and 26, meeting with Airmen and getting a first-hand look at the B-2 mission.

"The B-2 is as viable today as it was when it was brought on board 20 years ago, and it's going to be relevant 20 years from now," Roy said.

He also emphasized the importance of the bomber's nuclear and conventional deterrence roles.

"The B-2's dual roles are going to be around a long time.I don't think it's one versus the other but the combination of all the systems working together," he said.

Roy also emphasized that Airmen are just as critical to maintaining the mission as the bomber itself.

He went on to say Airmen here know the importance of their AFSCs and know exactly where they fit in when it comes to Whiteman's mission.

"If Airmen understand the mission at large, then they understand how the tactical mission they work on today relates to our national security and the security of our allied nations," Roy said. "Airmen should not only learn their shops mission, but also their wing, base and Air Force mission and what we as Department of Defense do as well."

He also stressed the important roles NCOs and SNCOs play in shaping junior enlisted Airmen into future leaders, and said training is only one piece of that responsibility.

"It's about knowing your people; it's about care and concern for your people," he said. "Supervisors ought to be engaged with the Airmen they supervise and know their stories."

Roy concluded by stating Airmen come from different parts of the world and of the United States, with different backgrounds and upbringings. Despite these differences the Air Force brings Airmen together with the core values instilled during basic training.

"It's not about just knowing the core values, it's about living them," he said. "Our joint and coalition partners rely on us to give them the absolute best, and our Airmen are up to those challenges because we are a professional force and the best Air Force in the world."

Panetta: Ospreys Grounded in Japan Pending Investigation

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2012 – The Marine Corps will deliver the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to Japan on time, but they will remain grounded for the short term, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told reporters today during a joint Pentagon press conference with Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, right, hosts a Pentagon honor cordon for visiting Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto, Aug. 3, 2012. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Panetta said the Osprey will not fly in Japan until a full report into two recent incidents involving the aircraft is presented to the Japanese government and the safety of flight operations is reconfirmed. “The Defense Department anticipates presenting this information to the Japanese government sometime this month,” he said.

An Osprey crash in Morocco in April killed two people; another in Florida in June injured five.

The Osprey is key to the defense department’s plans for the Asia-Pacific region, Panetta said. “It will enable Marines to fly faster and farther from Okinawa to remote islands in Japan.  This is a one-of-a-kind platform.”

“We have tremendous confidence in this plane,” Panetta added. “We fly it in combat operations, we fly it around the world [and] we fly it here in this country ... This plane can safely implement its operational mission.”

Panetta also praised the defense partnership between the United States and Japan.

“This alliance has been the bedrock to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region for more than 50 years,” he said.

During their meeting today the defense leaders also discussed plans to realign the U.S. force structure and ways to modernize and advance the U.S.-Japan alliance, including joint operations, training and shared use of training ranges.

“Japan’s decision to purchase the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is an important move that will help expand our bilateral cooperation,” Panetta said. “It will enhance the ability of our forces to operate together and it will ensure our dominance of the skies for decades to come.”

After the press conference, Panetta and Morimoto took part in a familiarization flight aboard an Osprey, flying from the Pentagon to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

U.S., Botswana open MEDLITE 12

by Maj. Sharon Kibiloski
Air Force Public Affairs


8/3/2012 - THEBEPHATSWA AIR BASE, Botswana (AFNS)  -- Airmen from units across the U.S. and members of the Botswana defense forces kicked off MEDLITE 12, a two-week aeromedical evacuation exercise, here today.

The goal of MEDLITE 12 is to enhance U.S. and Botswana capabilities to work together by introducing the U.S. aeromedical evacuation system of patient movement to the Botswana defense force military medical personnel. The exercise will consist of classroom instruction, an Aeromedical evacuation training scenario and will culminate with a mass casualty exercise on August 14.

"We are expecting another exciting and successful mission with MEDLITE 12," said Lt. Col. June Oldman, the mission director for the exercise, from the Oklahoma Air National Guard 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. "Working with the Botswana defense forces is effortless and certainly a pleasure and we are looking forward to the mission."

MEDLITE 12 is the latest in a series of exercises involving U.S. military forces and partner militaries in Africa with the aim to establish and develop military interoperability, regional relationships, synchronization of effort and capacity-building. It is being held for the first time in conjunction with SOUTHERN ACCORD 12, a joint annual exercise focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations.

After the Botswana defense force band played the national anthems of each country at the opening ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Michelle Gavin, described her vision for the exercise.

"We're here to learn from each other and to teach each other," she said. "In a little over two weeks, as you emerge from this exercise, both the Botswana defense forces and the U.S. forces will be better trained, more capable and more importantly, you will know each other in ways you did not before and that is clearly in all of our interests."

Together, MEDLITE 12 and SOUTHERN ACCORD 12 have brought almost 700 U.S. military personnel to Botswana.

"This mission is truly a total force effort," Oldman said. "It is a key element in a series of military-to-military activities that demonstrate the strong partnership and cooperation between the U.S. military and the Botswana defense forces."

U.S., Botswana open MEDLITE 12

by Maj. Sharon Kibiloski
Air Force Public Affairs


8/3/2012 - THEBEPHATSWA AIR BASE, Botswana (AFNS)  -- Airmen from units across the U.S. and members of the Botswana defense forces kicked off MEDLITE 12, a two-week aeromedical evacuation exercise, here today.

The goal of MEDLITE 12 is to enhance U.S. and Botswana capabilities to work together by introducing the U.S. aeromedical evacuation system of patient movement to the Botswana defense force military medical personnel. The exercise will consist of classroom instruction, an Aeromedical evacuation training scenario and will culminate with a mass casualty exercise on August 14.

"We are expecting another exciting and successful mission with MEDLITE 12," said Lt. Col. June Oldman, the mission director for the exercise, from the Oklahoma Air National Guard 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. "Working with the Botswana defense forces is effortless and certainly a pleasure and we are looking forward to the mission."

MEDLITE 12 is the latest in a series of exercises involving U.S. military forces and partner militaries in Africa with the aim to establish and develop military interoperability, regional relationships, synchronization of effort and capacity-building. It is being held for the first time in conjunction with SOUTHERN ACCORD 12, a joint annual exercise focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations.

After the Botswana defense force band played the national anthems of each country at the opening ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Michelle Gavin, described her vision for the exercise.

"We're here to learn from each other and to teach each other," she said. "In a little over two weeks, as you emerge from this exercise, both the Botswana defense forces and the U.S. forces will be better trained, more capable and more importantly, you will know each other in ways you did not before and that is clearly in all of our interests."

Together, MEDLITE 12 and SOUTHERN ACCORD 12 have brought almost 700 U.S. military personnel to Botswana.

"This mission is truly a total force effort," Oldman said. "It is a key element in a series of military-to-military activities that demonstrate the strong partnership and cooperation between the U.S. military and the Botswana defense forces."