Military News

Friday, October 19, 2012

ANG proves its value to America both abroad, at home

by Senior Master Sgt. Jerry R. Bynum
Air National Guard Special Staff Public Affairs


10/19/2012 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Who will be there to help during a crisis or natural disaster? Is there someone you can count on when help is needed? Think about your state and community, who can you count on for a hand... food, water, security, and medical assistance?

The Air National Guard continues to demonstrate its value to America every day by executing federal missions at home and abroad while simultaneously supporting their states.

"One of the things that we do in the Air National Guard is leverage those skills and capabilities that are needed for the [federal] fight and bring those skill sets and capabilities to help [the states when called upon]," said Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, the director of the ANG. "It's really a win-win for the country; it's a win-win for the United States Air Force."

ANG units are different from their active-duty counterparts because in addition to supporting federal missions, but they support a state mission as well. The dual mission, a provision of the Constitution, results in each Air Guardsman holding membership in the ANG of his or her state and in the ANG of the U.S. When ANG units are not mobilized or under federal control, they report to the governor of their respective state or territory. The ANG is ready when called upon during times of crisis or natural disaster to position Air Force capabilities at home.

ANG units across the country support missions at home as well as overseas supporting the Total Force concept. They do this along with a litany of other readiness requirements and tasks; with multiple obligations they still find a way to take care of Americans when called upon on the home front.

One example of ANG units providing support for multiple missions simultaneously was recently demonstrated in Louisiana during the summer. The ANG's 159th Fighter Wing located at Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base New Orleans was recently put to the test.

The 159th FW provides combat-ready F-15 Eagle aircraft for operational missions in support of Air Expeditionary Forces overseas and Aerospace Control Alert mission providing aerospace control to ensure air sovereignty and air defense of the U.S. using an operations system designed to quickly detect, identify, and engage air, land and sea threats. They also provide a wide range of other capabilities such as security, logistics, medical support and many other skill sets. In August 2012, the 159th FW was executing AEF and ACA missions ... unknown to them, yet another mission was developing in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We know that should [Louisiana] need us for disaster response, we must be instantly available to answer the call," said Col. Roy V. Qualls, the commander of the 159th Fighter, Louisiana Air National Guard. "We expect, indeed anticipate and welcome the call should any events necessitate our response."

The 159th FW was ready to answer the state's call when Hurricane Isaac made landfall on the Louisiana mainland August 29 as a Category 1 hurricane. Although comprised of relatively low wind speeds, its slow forward groundspeed with heavy rainfall and strong storm surge proved to be a destructive force in the area. The 159th FW recalled more than 1,100 Airmen to support the residents of Louisiana.

The Louisiana ANG was fully engaged on three fronts, performing federal missions overseas and on alert while simultaneously executing a critical state disaster response mission.

"Airmen saved lives, protected property, and assisted the residents of Louisiana in every imaginable way," said Qualls. "Keep in mind that many of the Airmen responding to this storm also received major damage to their own homes. Despite the uncertainty surrounding their personal property, they continued to protect and sustain others."

The 159th FW was tasked with providing support to one of the hardest hit areas in New Orleans, the Plaquemines parish. Hours after landfall, Airmen were heavily involved in relief efforts. Missions included evacuations, airlift operation coordination, and supply distribution. Thousands of people received vital assistance and commodities that were otherwise unavailable due to damage or power outages.

Despite suffering more than $10 million in damage to base facilities, the 159th FW was fully operational supporting its ACA mission hours after Hurricane Isaac had passed. Less than one hour after resuming alert duties, F-15 Eagles were flying over Louisiana skies supporting and defending freedom.

"I'm proud of our continued history of mission success," said Qualls. "[Louisiana Air Guardsmen] performed flawlessly and selflessly, responding to the call of duty from their nation and their state."

The 159th FW is one example of units performing multiple missions such as AEF and ACA on a daily basis. More than 106,000 ready, reliable and capable Airmen from 89 flying wings and units throughout the 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia are ready to answer the call.

The ANG is ready to help during times of crisis and natural disaster. When the call for help comes, citizen Airmen selflessly rise to the occasion to help their families, neighbors and communities.

Black boots, white laces

by Airman 1st Class Jose L. Leon
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


10/19/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.  -- The elite gate guard uniform is now being utilized as the uniform for seventeen 22nd Security Forces Squadron entry controllers as of March 2012.

While gate guards display the precision and professionalism of Air Force Airmen, their main objective is to ensure the security of McConnell.

According to Tech Sgt. Terrance Williams, 22nd SFS elite gate guard section NCO in charge, the elite gate guards represent the best of the 22nd SFS and the 22nd Air Refueling Wing as Airmen, families, civilians and retirees enter through McConnell's gate.

"The uniform changed because we as security forces members needed a change for the better," said Williams. "We felt it was important for us to be able to hold the professional image and be able to maintain the first line of defense at the same time."

The uniform consists of the blue slacks, blue shirt, black, bloused boots with white laces, a chrome whistle and an ascot featuring the Air Mobility Command shield, as it was worn by the elite gate guards before 9/11.

"It makes me feel good to wear this uniform, we get a lot of compliments," said Senior Airman Michael Browne, 22nd SFS elite gate guard section entry controller. "We represent the United States Air Force Security Forces and more specifically the base; we have got a lot of eyes on us."

The elite gate guards display the uniform Monday through Friday, between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"The goal of the Elite Gate Guard Section is simple, security and customer service," said Williams. "We are McConnell's first line of defense and the first person you will see coming onto the installation. So with that being said, we aren't allowed to have a bad day. Our goal is to continue to improve on our security procedures and tactics as well as making a positive first and lasting impression with the base populace and visitors who we encounter."

Carter Delivers Message to Troops Aboard USS Eisenhower


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

ABOARD USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, Oct. 19, 2012 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter today joined approximately 5,000 military members aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to express the Defense Department's gratitude for their service, sacrifice and resiliency.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter dines with sailors during a visit to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, Oct. 19, 2012. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The USS Eisenhower provides a wide range of capabilities ranging from maritime security operations and expeditionary power projection to crisis response, counter-terrorism, information operations and counter-proliferation, according to the vessel’s webpage.
 
“I came here [today] to say 'Thank You' to each and every one of you,” Carter said. “Sometime in the next 24 hours, each and every one of you should call to whomever’s closest to you and tell them that today, from the leadership of your Defense Department to you, came a special word of thanks.”

Carter thanked the sailors for the “remarkable” things they do following a busy day aboard the “Ike” where he toured the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, enjoyed lunch with six “Sailor of the Year” recipients, witnessed an air power demonstration, and then held an “all-hands” call.

The deputy defense secretary lauded the sailors for their resilience as they carried out their duties during an extended nine-month tour.

“It's an extended tour -- abnormally long,” Carter said. “Sorry we asked you to do that, but you'll see in a moment why we did, and why it's so important that you rose to the call.”

“Let me say why it's so important to be here at this time, in this place, maintaining security and stability in the Persian Gulf,” Carter said. “When you ask a lot of Americans why would the Ike be out here, what comes to their mind right away, of course, is Afghanistan, right?”

Carter said the service members aboard the USS Eisenhower understand how they support the fight in Afghanistan, which is “incredibly important,” but the mission doesn't stop there.

“You have a broader mission of deterring aggression in the Gulf, and you know there are potential aggressors there,” he said. “And without you, they might try something that would be unfortunate for them if they tried it and you stopped them.”

There's instability in this region, Carter said, which is reflected in the Arab Spring and in Syria.
“You all are the stability that counters that instability,” he told the service members.

Carter noted there are still two more “tough” years of fighting ahead in Afghanistan, and it is “a very, very important mission for the world, and for all of us.”

“But it's not just a matter of being able to respond to aggression and support our troops,” he said. “There's another thing that you do out here which is you assure all of the people of goodwill … that they live in a world in which the right thing is done, justice is stood up for, democracy is stood up for, all the things that we care about.”

The deputy defense secretary said the presence of U.S. service members provides hope to other nations in the region for a “stable environment” as they deter aggression and counter instability.
“The great majority of the people here deserve that hope that they can have a better future,” Carter said. “All those things you do, and that's why I thank you, and [Defense] Secretary [Leon E.] Panetta thanks you.”

Carter also talked about the importance of transitioning the U.S. military for the future following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“While we have been fighting these two wars for 11 years, the rest of the world hasn't stood still,” he said. “Technology hasn't stood still.”

Carter said U.S. defense leaders have sought to discern present and future security challenges to America and its allies.

Carter said this led to the nation's new defense strategy as U.S. leadership looks to build the “force of the future.”

“In that next era, what are we going to need?” he asked. “We're going to need a force that's agile, it's going to have to be lean, it's got to be ready at a moment's notice and it's got to be technologically advanced.”

“[It] sounds like the U.S. Navy operating as part of a joint force -- that's a bright future for the Navy,” Carter said. “And it's a navy that's got to be able to conduct full spectrum operations and execute [a] range of operations.”

The secretary also explained why the USS Eisenhower was needed in the Persian Gulf. In this era, he added, presence is necessary as a matter of military utility and to provide assurance.

“The best way to not have to use the combat power on this ship is to make sure that the good people who predominate most places are taking care of the bad people themselves, don't need us, and have the safety and security they need to build their own future,” he said.

Carter also touched on the U.S. rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region since it will “dominate our economic-political future and we have to be there.”

For the United States to remain the pivotal power in the Pacific, Carter said, the nation is “going to need the Navy, and we're going to need a presence there.”

“It isn't our strategy, and it isn't our technology,” he said. “It's our people that … [are] unmatched anywhere in the world. [It’s] the quality of people just like you who make it all work.”

SAC during the 13 Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis

by Stephanie Ritter
AFGSC History Office


10/19/2012 - BARKSDALE AFB, La. -- The year 1962 was a year full of noteworthy events; John Glenn orbited the earth, South Africa jailed Nelson Mandela, Marilyn Monroe passed away and Dr. No became the first in the series of James Bond movies. It was also the year that the world's two largest superpowers clashed in a nuclear standoff.

Twenty-twelve is the Year of the B-52, but this October is also the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. For 13 days the United States and the Soviet Union stood, as Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, "eyeball to eyeball," in a nuclear game of chicken. As we spend this year highlighting the B-52, this October, let's also highlight Strategic Air Command (SAC) and its contribution to preventing the Cuban Missile Crisis from escalating.

Some people consider the Cuban Missile Crisis as the high point of the Cold War. In the summer of 1962, the Soviet Union placed strategic weapons in Cuba, weapons that could reach the U.S. in less than four minutes. This elevated the U.S. security stance to DEFCON 2, an unprecedented level.

In the years after the Soviet Union launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), SAC sought alternatives to prevent an enemy surprise attack. Gen. Thomas Power, then SAC commander, implemented the airborne alert force as a solution. SAC experimented with airborne alerts as early as 1958, but due to budget restrictions, it was not until the Missile Crisis that these sorties became fully operational.

Pilots flew these nuclear laden airborne alerts, commonly known as Chrome Dome missions, for 24 hours before another air crew assumed the same flight route. Chrome Dome ensured that a percentage of SAC bombers could survive an enemy surprise attack and that the U.S. could retaliate against the Soviets. At the height of the air alerts, SAC produced 75 B-52 sorties a day.

SAC operated more than just B-52s. Tanker crews supported the Chrome Dome missions by refueling the B-52s with its fleet of KC-135s. At the height of Chrome Dome, SAC launched approximately 133 KC-135s a day. Without the tanker crews, Chrome Dome would not have been possible.

In addition to the tankers, SAC also dispersed 183 B-47 bombers to both military and non-military airfields, so in the event of an enemy attack, the Soviets would be unable to destroy the total B-47 force.

Along with the Chrome Dome missions, SAC's responsibilities included gathering electronic and photographic intelligence. Since March 1962, the U.S. had been closely monitoring Cuba for evidence of offensive operations. From the reconnaissance gathered during these missions, intelligence officers identified enemy missile equipped patrol boats, surface to air missile sites, short range cruise missile sites, and fighter planes. One of the more important pieces of intelligence was the conclusive evidence of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. SAC provided this information to President John Kennedy, who in turn, used it to make sound decisions. This intelligence led to the U.S. naval quarantine of Cuba.

Critical information gathered by the U-2, a reconnaissance aircraft, assisted America's leadership, but it came at a price. On Oct. 27, Soviet forces downed U-2 pilot Maj. Rudolf Anderson with a surface to air missile as he flew over Cuba. This gave SAC the sad distinction of having the only enemy induced casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also, 11 other SAC personnel died in RB-47 crashes during takeoff, while supporting of the information reconnaissance mission.

In addition to the flying missions, SAC's missileers also played a role during the Crisis. As a form of deterrence, on Oct. 19, SAC placed 132 missiles on alert, and by Nov. 3, General Power ordered that number increased to 186. This included Atlas, Titan I, and the Air Force's newest missile, the Minuteman I. Because of the crisis, SAC wanted to put every missile in the inventory on alert, which meant converting missiles configured for training to operationally ready weapons. In doing so, the missileers rapidly ran out of missile propellant and acquired civilian resources to compensate. Special orders were also handed down to bypass certain safety regulations to make the missiles usable.

Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, AFGSC commander, quoted the book Black Swan stating, "Acts of prevention get no reward." Furthermore Kowalski said, "If we do our jobs right, then history will never remember our names." He is correct in his interpretation of SAC's place in history - history only remembers the glory and not the sacrifice.

Strategic Air Command receives little glory for its role during the Cold War. We must remember the sacrifices and deterrence that SAC provided during the Cuban Missile Crisis, especially on this, the 50th anniversary of the event.

Strategic Air Command Casualties in the Cuban Missile Crisis

by Mr. Don Koser
AFGSC History Office


10/19/2012 - BARKSDALE AFB, La. -- It's been said that history only remembers the glory and not the sacrifice. The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis offers an opportunity for us to remember those Airmen who performed their mission with pride and professionalism, and whose experience was short on glory and high in sacrifice. Twelve individuals lost their lives in four separate operations during the crisis, performing the mission they and others had worked and prepared so hard for.

Strategic Air Command had more than 280,000 personnel assigned when the Cuban Missile Crisis began in earnest in October 1962. The previous month, SAC personnel began flying electronic intelligence (ELINT) or ferret missions over the periphery of Cuba under Operation Common Cause. These were overt flights using normal Air Route Traffic Control procedures. Crews gathered data on Soviet radar and communications systems and were careful not to fly into Cuban airspace and trigger its air defenses. While performing these missions, on Sept. 27, an RB-47K Stratojet (53-4327) from the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW), lost power in engine six and crashed on takeoff from Forbes Air Force Base, Kan. Onboard were; Lt. Col. James G. Woolbright, aircraft commander, 1st Lt. Paul R. Greenawalt, copilot, Capt. Bruce R. Kowol, navigator, and Staff Sgt. Myron L. Curtis, crew chief.

In all, SAC aircrews flew 116 ELINT missions and 1,065 hours under Operation Common Cause. Another RB-47H crew, flying aircraft number 53-6248, but performing a different mission, died when their Stratojet crashed after takeoff from Kindley AFB, Bermuda, on Oct. 26. On this date, three RB-47 crews took off in search of the Soviet tanker Grozny. One of the RB-47s, aircraft 53-6248, crashed on takeoff while the two remaining aircrews positively identified the tanker only 90 minutes later.
The crew of 53-6248 included Maj. William A. Britton, aircraft commander, 1st Lt. Holt J. Rasmussen, copilot, Capt. Robert A. Constable, navigator, and Capt. Robert C. Dennis, observer. Under operation Blue Banner, the crew's mission was to perform maritime search operations in support of the naval quarantine directed by President Kennedy. The four-day operation supporting the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic (CINCLANT) ended Oct. 28.

The lone combat casualty of the crisis occurred the following day on Oct. 27. Earlier, the 4080th Strategic Wing (SW) selected two pilots under Operation Brass Knob to perform photo reconnaissance over Cuba to determine if reports of ballistic missile site construction were accurate. Confirmation of the ballistic missiles' existence came quickly when on Oct 14 Maj Rudolf Anderson, Jr. returned from a mission with pictures of ballistic missile sites and nuclear storage facilities under construction. Together with film from two subsequent missions, U-2 pilots provided conclusive evidence of three Medium Range Ballistic Missile sites near San Cristobal. As a result, President John F. Kennedy called for a naval quarantine beginning on Oct. 22. Five days later, while conducting another Brass Knob mission an enemy surface-to-air missile (SAM) struck Major Anderson's U-2F, bringing the aircraft down near the Banes-Antilla area of Cuba. President Kennedy posthumously awarded Anderson the first Air Force Cross. He was also awarded the Purple Heart and the Cheney Award. From Oct 14 through Nov 30, 4080 SW crews flew 91 Brass Knob sorties over Cuba during the crisis totaling 402:52 hours.

The final casualties occurred on Nov. 11, when a 55 SRW RB-47H Stratojet (aircraft 53-4297) crashed upon takeoff from MacDill AFB, Fla, on its way to support Operation Blue Ink. The crew of three was killed in the crash caused by engine failure, Capt. William E. Wyatt, aircraft commander, Capt. William C. Maxwell, copilot, and 1st Lt. Ronald M. Rial, navigator. Aircrews flew 72 Operation Blue Ink missions providing critical weather reconnaissance support for U-2 photo reconnaissance missions.

The personnel of SAC performed extremely well under difficult circumstances during the Cuban Missile Crisis to provide conclusive evidence of the Soviet buildup as well as providing the military might necessary to back President Kennedy's course of action. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis E. LeMay stated, "Our people handled this crisis on a businesslike basis. Our crews fly on schedule in all kinds of weather, because that's their job...These are not prima donnas on whom we lavish special privileges, they are typical Air Force men and women, professionals who take pride in their work. Without them our weapons and complicated machines would be meaningless...." We should not forget the dedication and sacrifice of these twelve men or the pride and professionalism of all SAC personnel which led to the successful conclusion of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

New commander takes charge of AF Recruiting Service

by Tech. Sgt. Andy Stephens
Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs


10/18/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Brig. Gen. John P. Horner succeeded Brig. Gen. Balan R. Ayyar as commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, in a change of command ceremony at the Kendrick Club at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Oct. 11. The new commander expressed enthusiasm for his new assignment and credited the hard work and resourcefulness of Air Force recruiters worldwide for continuing to recruit quality Airmen for the world's greatest Air Force.

"I'm both excited and humbled to be entrusted with command of the Air Force Recruiting Service," Horner said. "This is a wonderful organization where leadership is absolutely dependent on teamwork and empowering our recruiters -- some of the most gifted, most inspired people in America's Air Force."

Horner cited the active-duty and civil-service workforce at San Antonio for their role in supporting more than 1,200 recruiting offices worldwide. He stated his commitment to upholding the tradition of AFRS - to be the most agile, effective and professional recruiting force in the world.

Horner described the drive for recruiters to balance the innovations of marketing with the steadfast, traditional values of the Air Force that remain appealing to not just the next generation of Airmen, but their families. The pressure on recruiters to find the right skill set for these future Airmen requires balancing the needs of the service with the attributes of the recruit in a challenging new era of national service.

"Whether you are recruiters or support staff, we have all been entrusted to find America's best and brightest and inspire them into service," the general said. "We're going to face many of the same challenges we have before, but this command will always be supportive of its personnel because of the demands that are asked of them. For us, people are our mission. Any new challenges will be met with that trademark dedication and perseverance that motivates tomorrow's Airmen to service today."

While AFRS has traditionally focused on recruiting the "best and brightest" enlisted applicants who have no prior military service, into more than 150 enlisted career fields, AFRS also recruits officer candidates in a variety of unique skills sets such as chaplains and physicians. The command is responsible for accessioning 100 percent of the enlisted force, 90 percent of the Air Force's health profession officers, approximately 16 percent of today's overall officer corps and 100 percent of Air Force chaplains. These numbers represent an annual accession average of more than 27,000 enlisted members and 1,000 officers every year.

Horner's previous assignment was at the Pentagon as the director of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Capabilities, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C. Among his duties in that assignment, he directed and managed Air Force remotely piloted aircraft and their associated air, space and cyberspace systems.

Sexual assault hotline message sent to Airmen from past 10 years

Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

10/18/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Airmen, separated and still serving, who graduated from Basic Military Training and technical training during the past 10 years were sent an email message about an activated sexual assault hotline Oct. 15.

The message is part of a thorough investigation of the military training instructor sexual misconduct incidents in an effort to maximize accountability.

"The email is part of our outreach efforts to current and former Airmen to encourage them to help us uncover alleged unprofessional relationships, sexual misconduct and sexual assault in basic and technical military training," said Gen Edward A. Rice, Jr., Commander of Air Education and Training Command. "The hotline gives graduates from the past ten years the opportunity to help Air Education and Training Command dissuade, deter, detect and prevent this type of behavior from happening again."

The hotline isn't just for BMT graduates it's for any Airman who's a victim of sexual misconduct, said Christine Burnett, AETC's Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. All calls can be made anonymously said Burnett.

"We're taking all calls from people who have knowledge of sexual misconduct," she said. "If victims are looking for help we will provide them referral information to seek assistance.

"Some (victims) want to tell their story and be heard, and that's exactly what we're here to do," said Burnett.

Here is an excerpt from the released email:

"We Need Your Help!

We are seeking information regarding any incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or unprofessional relationships that occurred in Basic Military Training and Technical Training.

If you have any information, please call and help us to eradicate sexual misconduct in the Air Force.

Reports can be made anonymously!

Call the AETC team, 24/7, at DSN 487-0008 or (210) 652-0008."