Thursday, November 01, 2012

Deployed Airmen share in 'Feast of Sacrifice' in Turkey

by Senior Airman Daniel Phelps
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

11/1/2012 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey  -- You can't really say you've seen Turkey if you've never been outside the gate," said a man who recently discovered the vastness and richness of Turkey by venturing beyond the Incirlik gate and immersing himself in the culture.

Though some may find it intimidating to step boldly into a foreign land, many choose to embrace their unfamiliar surroundings and experience what the region has to offer.

Recently, Airmen from the 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron did this by participating in some of the customs of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice holiday, known as Kurban Bayrami in Turkey.

The feast's origins come from the story of Abraham heading up a mountain to sacrifice his son, but his son's life was spared by God's provision of a ram. In a spirit of thankfulness during this festival, animals are sacrificed and the meat divided into portions - some being kept by the family, and the rest given away to the poor.

The more the deployed Airmen heard about the Feast of Sacrifice, the more they found it interesting and wanted to participate in some way as non-Muslims, said Lt. Col. Mike Moeding, 90th EARS commander.

Many of the Airmen noticed the parallels between Kurban Bayrami and Thanksgiving and Christmas with families gathering together and taking care of those in need, and how though the cultures might differ on small points, there are many similarities.

Capt. C.J. Hein, a KC-135 pilot, came up with an idea as he was passing through Adana on the way to base.

"I saw all these sheep on the side of the road," he said. "The cab driver explained why they were there and I thought, 'Hey, why don't we buy a sheep.'"

From there, the idea took off. Several Airmen donated money to buy a sheep, and with help from Hussein, a Turkish friend, picked one out.

They donated all the meat from the sheep to local Adana families, according to tradition.

Many local shop owners said they had never heard of Americans buying a sheep for the Kurban Bayram and giving it away to the poor. They thought what the 90th EARS did was wonderful and should be talked about in town.

One of the families receiving the meat was a young woman and her husband who had lost his leg and was unable to work and support their three children.
Moeding said the woman was "overjoyed and kissed several of us on both cheeks."

"Helping those in need is part of the custom during this holiday. This is a way for us to show goodwill through Turkish culture," Moeding continued. "We're not pushing the religious part, but focusing on the charitable part. We want to do something nice for the local community by partaking in one of their customs."

"This was a way to learn about the history and culture of Turkey," Hein added. "We get to interact with them, bring our cultures together, understand each other better, and through doing so, take a step in helping make the world a better place."

Airmen bring Halloween to Children's Hospital Colorado

by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2012 - AURORA, Colo. -- More than 10 volunteers from Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., brought Halloween spirit to children at Children's Hospital Colorado Oct. 29 because going door-to-door trick or treating isn't an option for many of them.

Hand painting, mummy wrapping and a craft table were among the activities available for the approximately 50 children who attended.

Kathleen McBride, the hospital's director of volunteers, said her staff and the children appreciated Team Buckley members made time to visit them as some of the children won't be able to leave the hospital on Halloween.

"They always look forward to these activities because it allows them to leave their rooms to socialize and participate in activities," McBride said.

Numerous parents accompanied their children during the fun-filled afternoon.
"I think it's awesome that people can take time out of their busy schedule to come here and help with the children and to serve the community," said Bryce Hubble, whose daughter, Mikayla, had her appendix removed.

Mikayla said she was excited for the day's events, and her favorite part was making a spider web at the crafts table.

April Dobson, a volunteer from the 460th Operations Group, said she believes it's important people don't lose perspective of how critical it is to help others.
"I think it's always good to give back," said Dobson. "It allows us to see the needs of others before ourselves."

Dobson said the feeling of seeing a child smile was amazing because someone went out of their way to make them happy.

"It's just amazing, the enjoyment you get out of it -- (seeing) the kids happy from what you're doing. I think a lot of time it's important for them to see there are adults that are willing to take time out of their schedules when it's not required," Dobson said.

105th Airlift Wing rolls out for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

105th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2012 - STEWART AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. (10/31/12) -- The 105th Airlift Wing and the 213rd Engineering Installation Squadron here deployed 75 ANG Airmen Wednesday as part of the state response to Hurricane

The Airmen are part of Joint Operations Area 3, Joint Task Force 3 hurricane relief operations in Manhattan and are among more than 2,400 Army and ANG service members deployed at the order of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The 105th AW Installation Control Center has been activated since Friday and is presently operating on a 24-hour schedule. All aircraft have been evacuated, sheltered or released early on Air Mobility Command directed missions.

According to Col Timothy J. LaBarge, the commander of the 105th AW; it is very gratifying to see the enormously positive response of the 105th AW to an enormously challenging time for our fellow New Yorkers and our neighbors in the Northeast. Saving lives, preventing further damage and making the effort to relieve the pain and suffering of others is tops on the list of reasons for why many of us joined the Guard.

"These volunteers are proof positive that our 105th members take seriously the core value of 'Service Before Self' as well as the philosophy that, in times of need that 'We are the Guard and we are here to help,'" said LaBarge.

The New York National Guard's highest state mission priority is to save lives, prevent further damage and to relieve pain and suffering of our fellow residents.

DOD Seeks Guard, Reserve ‘Freedom Award’ Nominations

From an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve News Release

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 – Defense officials want reservists, Guard members and their family members to know that civilian employer nominations can now be submitted for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award through Jan. 21, 2013.

The Freedom Award is DOD’s highest recognition for civilian employers, presented in honor of the support they provide their employees who serve in the National Guard and reserve.

"Employers of every size and industry continue to go to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to employees serving in the Guard and reserve," said James G. Rebholz, national chair of DOD’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

"I urge all Guard and reserve service members who have benefited from their employer's support to nominate that employer for this most prestigious award,” he said. “A Freedom Award nomination allows service members to acknowledge and thank their employer for the essential role they play in supporting their military career and in our nation's defense."

Nearly one million Americans serve in the Guard and reserve, comprising about half of the nation’s total military, ESGR officials said.

For more than 10 years, such “citizen-warriors” have responded to “unprecedented national security demands and humanitarian missions spanning the globe,” ESGR officials said, adding that the civilian employers of Guardsmen and reservists have shared in their service to the nation by standing behind employees and providing essential support and peace of mind during deployment.

Up to 15 of the nation’s most-supportive employers are selected every year as recipients of the Freedom Award, and are also honored at the ESGR’s annual ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Past Freedom Award employer recipients have provided such extra-step support measures as arranging child care services for deployed employees, sponsoring trips to visit injured employees, and working longer hours to cover the shifts of employees who are in military training.

The Freedom Award was established in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community, the officials said.

In the years since, 175 employers have been honored with the award.

Established as a DOD agency 40 years ago, ESGR develops and maintains employer support for members of the Guard and reserve.

ESGR also advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers.

Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guard members and reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

Hungary-based Airmen write new chapter in mulitinational operations

by Maj. Rich Komurek
Air Force News Service

11/1/2012 - PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary (AFNS) -- At this small, bare-bones, communist-era airfield located in the Hungarian countryside, midpoint between Vienna and Budapest, American Airmen are writing a dynamic new chapter in multinational cooperation and flight operations.

Airmen assigned to the Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa AB work side by side with military personnel from 12 nations to provide critical cargo capability around the world with a fleet of three C-17s. While a flying unit comprised of 12 different nations may sound infinitely complex, according to the wing commander, it allows them to combine resources and share operational experiences between partners.

"Our mission is to fly strategic airlift for the 12 nations that are members of the Strategic Airlift Capability Program," said Col. Keith Boone, Heavy Airlift Wing commander. "Our reason for being here is really to help enable some of the other nations that otherwise couldn't have this capability. So building partnership capability is our mission ... and we get a byproduct of 1,000 hours of C-17 missions and we learn a lot as well."

Established in 2009 as the first non-NATO multinational flying unit in the world, Papa AB is home to 40 U.S. Airmen. The concept of a multinational unit actually spans more than 30 years, pioneered by the E-3A Component (NATO AWACS) at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany. Later, nations not a part of NATO were requesting cargo capability, and a new framework was developed.

Twelve nations pooled resources to buy and share C-17 aircraft over a period of 30 years. NATO members include Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, the United States and partner nations include Finland and Sweden. In the end, the arrangement works much like a timeshare where nations are allocated flight hours in accordance with the amount of money they pay into program.

Since C-17 operations began in 2009, the wing has flown more than 500 missions, transported more than 29,000 passengers and delivered more than 22,000 tons of cargo and supplies, with 80 percent of the cargo going to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force.

Additionally, the wing participated in cargo missions to Iraq, Haiti, Uganda and also repatriated the remains of Polish President Lech Kaczyinski and other officials who died in a 2010 airplane crash in Russia. They also support troop rotations and sustainment operations and the capability will become even more critical in the months and years ahead as nations begin to withdraw from Afghanistan.

According to Boone, the need for strategic airlift goes beyond Afghanistan operations to include unforeseen requirements in the future in locations like Africa and other places that are quickly reached from Central Europe.

"As nations reduce their forces in Afghanistan it will be important for nations to have an organic, reachable and affordable strategic airlift option that is theirs," said Boone. "The need for airlift will transcend Afghanistan ... I've been in airlift my entire career and there's always more demand than capability."

The U.S. Air Force presence at Papa AB represents approximately one-third of the more than 130 multinational military personnel assigned to the wing. Some Airmen bring their families for a multi-year tour and others come for a one-year unaccompanied assignment and leave their families at Aviano or other home bases.

Papa AB is not like Ramstein or Aviano: there is no base exchange, no commissary, no gas station, no gas cards and no American restaurants. The only U.S. specific services available at the base are a U.S. post office and a U.S.-led flight medicine clinic for routine health exams.

"I extended here because there is so much more to do. My purpose here is to be a provider, to be an NCOIC and also to be a change agent," said Tech. Sgt. Jason McElvaine, NCOIC of the flight medicine clinic. McElvaine explained that upon arrival, he realized there was no ability to track and access medical files digitally.

To improve healthcare for patients, McElvaine worked for more than a year to provide the wing clinic with access to both the Composite Health Care System and Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application. Besides mission demands and the need to build-up newly established programs and services, there is also an abundance of additional duties that need to be managed by the small U.S. Air Force contingent.

In addition to being the clinic NCOIC and an Independent Duty Medical technician that provides medical care, McElvaine is also in charge of base water testing, health inspections of the dining hall and gym facilities, the Air Force demand reduction program and he is also the wing unit fitness program manager.

But despite the workload, McElvaine enjoys being at Papa AB and the opportunity to work in a multinational environment, "Working here involves community relations and nation relations ... we're always building relationships and making sure we do the right thing each time. The wing to me is one big family: it's not just the Americans, it's everybody together."

When it comes to C-17 operations, the small size of the wing, combined with flying aircraft with crewmembers from different nations, can be a big culture shock for Airmen. For Capt. Mike Boyer, a pilot who has been at the wing for four months, the small size was a big change from his previous assignment at Charleston AFB.

"You don't have the huge support structure that you would have with Air Mobility Command. Here it's on your shoulders to help other people," he said. "I feel there's a lot more ownership of the mission here ... you're not just a part of a big machine but you're an integral part of the mission and literally making it happen."

The multinational composition of the wing provides a unique operating environment that gives new perspective on C-17 operations and the challenges of being an instructor to pilots who are new to the C-17 aircraft and speak English as a second language.

"We get to see 12 different opinions and ideas about the same thing. It's fun and interesting ... I like it," said Boyer. "I'm used to working with C-17 homegrown pilots and these guys come from all kinds of different backgrounds ... single seat fighters, Russian made aircraft and all sorts of strange aircraft that we aren't used to seeing in the U.S. Air Force. As an instructor you have to choose your words to be clearly understood and you have to express complex thoughts on a more basic level," he said.

From the perspective of a multinational crewmember, working at the wing is an interesting challenge that gives perspective into the Air Force and the way we do things in America.
"It's quite interesting and together it's a good mix I think," said Capt. Frederik Nilsson, a Swedish airman who previously worked as a crew chief and loadmaster on a 32-passenger aircraft that operated at a base located near the Arctic Circle.

"It's a give and take also. The Americans have their regulations and we have our regulations (in Sweden) and together we have to create something that works for us here at the Heavy Airlift Wing. That's a challenge but very interesting."

One thing that everybody at the wing seems to agree upon is that the multinational experience Airmen get at Papa AB is more than just a novelty; it's a career changing event that has both personal and professional rewards.

"Coming here and experiencing something outside the mainstream Air Force is so valuable to your career. You become a more well-rounded person ... and you bring a lot more value back to the Air Force," said Capt. Boyer.

18th AMXS keeps Eagles airborne during inspection

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- In the event of a contingency in the region, Kadena's Airmen and various air frames must be capable and ready to deploy to support operations at any given time.

It's this capability as the Keystone of the Pacific that has been under meticulous scrutiny by inspectors since last week to ensure the base's combat readiness and compliance - one major piece being the demonstration of combat air power by Kadena's F-15 Eagles.

When it comes to showcasing air superiority the F-15 is the perfect example of aircraft dominance, said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Martin, 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant aircraft maintenance superintendant and 20-year Air Force veteran.

"I feel as though the F-15 on this base provides stability in this region of the world," Martin said. "It generates quickly, has a phenomenal record, and the radar is outstanding. It's nice to know you have a stable platform that can be generated quickly to demonstrate U.S. air power."

However, without the countless hours devoted by aircraft maintainers on the flightline day and night, it would be all but impossible to get the air combat assets off the ground and return them safely following each sortie.

"There is a great collective effort between the 67th AMU and 44th," Martin said. "We pull together during exercises and generate these air frames. It's truly impressive to see how quickly it's done and how much communication there is between the two."

Even with a fantastic working relationship, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Allison, 67th AMU F-15 crew chief, said each day working on the jets presents a different challenge.

"We come in and you never know what's going to be wrong with the aircraft," Allison said. "There's a multitude of different things that could go wrong - any (hydraulics) component, flight controls, landing gear. It's just getting in and making sure that we do the troubleshooting so that we get them ready for the next day."

Despite the daily challenges, however, Allison said it's worth seeing the jet's wheels leave the flightline.

"Nothing beats it after you put 10-12 hours in on the jet, then you go to run it, and everything's fixed," he said. "You fixed (the) leaks that you found, and you fixed (the) malfunctions you found, and then the next day you come in and see that aircraft in the air and know you did a good job the night before. It's an awesome feeling."

Though the inspection will push the limits of the Airmen, Allison said the inspection is just another way of ensuring mission readiness in the event of real-world operations.

"We have to make sure we provide safe, efficient aircraft for combat," said Allison. "This is just testing us out to see if we can do this if the real deal happens. We just make sure we can generate in time and that the aircraft are safe and the aircrew is safe and good to go."

Allison says the Eagle maintainers are more than ready to showcase their skills and professionalism under the magnifying glass and prove that the U.S. Air Force is the best in the world.

"The guys out here, the work ethic, the way we put these jets in the air - no one even comes close," Allison said. "We're definitely ready (for this inspection). We've been pushing through all night; we're going to keep pushing, and we're staying one step ahead."

West Coast Airmen Support Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts

62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Nov. 1, 2012 – A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing departed here early this morning in support of Superstorm Sandy response operations and a second C-17 is expected to depart today at approximately 9 p.m. PST.

Along with aircraft and crews from 12 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases across the nation, McChord Field airmen are flying to March Air Reserve Base, Calif., to pick up technicians, equipment and supplies to support relief efforts on the East Coast.

“McChord airmen are ready to answer our nation’s call with the most capable combat airlift aircraft,” said Col. Jeffrey Philippart, 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander. “Our C-17s and airmen have the ability to deliver rapid global mobility, which enables us to respond quickly to disasters and provide aide in the wake of humanitarian crises. We’re poised to respond.”

The passengers and cargo, including 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company, are en route to arrive at Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, N.Y., after which they will support efforts to restore power and provide humanitarian assistance to the stricken region.

AF names DOD disability award nominees

by Gloria Kwizera
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

– Capt. Ryan P. McGuire, Air Mobility Command, and Christopher R. Randall, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, are the Air Force nominees for the 2012 Outstanding Department of Defense Employee/Service Member with a Disability Award, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

Capt. Ryan P. McGuire
McGuire faced tremendous adversity during his Air Force career as the service’s first amputee to earn a pilot rating.

“His achievements prove hard work and dedication make anything possible,” said Senior Master Sgt. Diana Gonzalez, AF Evaluation and Recognitions Programs Branch Superintendent. He completed the 26.2 mile Bataan Memorial Death March, earned three medals at the 2010 Warrior Games, and even ran the full Air Force marathon in under five hours, earning honors as the 2010 Air Education and Training Command Athlete of the Year.

When deemed as medically unsuited for continued service, McGuire appealed to the Air Force medical continuation board, and was allowed to resume pilot training. He is the first amputee to complete water survival and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training.

“McGuire is an inspiration for others, illustrating what someone can achieve, regardless of physical disabilities,” said Gonzalez.

Christopher R. Randall
Randall made significant contributions to the Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance community, directing operational testing of the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft.

“He dramatically increased the system capabilities, supporting assets employed in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Gonzalez.

He led a 21-member team and managed the cost, schedule, and performance of the MQ-9’s $2.9 million operational test program. His team integrated developmental and operational test resources to evaluate Reaper’s effectiveness, suitability, and mission capability. His test data provided critical information leading to the DOD Acquisition Board’s $774 million buy decision, and helped achieve a Secretary of Defense top priorities: more ISR on the battlefield.

McGuire and Randall will be honored at the 32nd Annual DOD Disability Award Ceremony, slated for later this year

Chaplains MOPP up during Exercise Beverly Bearcat

by Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins
18th Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- The 18th Wing chaplains participate in a Pacific Air Forces Operational Readiness Inspection, called Exercise Beverly Bearcat 12-1 on Kadena.

While the wing is being evaluated on its mobilization procedures, aircraft generation and employment procedures, and the ability of their Airmen to operate in crisis conditions, Kadena's chaplains visit various squadrons across the base lifting spirits and boosting morale.

"People are serious because (this is) a very serious inspection. One thing (the chaplains are) here to do is let the (Airmen) know, yes we want them to do well and excel, but we are here to encourage them and lift them up," said Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin Humphrey, a Kadena's Protestant chaplain. "As we encourage them and lift their spirits, it helps them to perform their mission and continue (doing well)."

The chaplains had to prepare for this inspection as well. They are being inspected on their ability to provide emotional and spiritual resources to the Airmen to make sure they are ready to help them complete the mission.

With making sure they are ready to give spiritual and emotional guidance, the chapel team also received a self-aid buddy care scenario where they had to show their knowledge of how to treat a leg and head injury.

Humphrey said while they are here to listen to the Airmen and boost them up during the exercise, they also are there to help with real-world problems that may arise.

"Sometimes, just because there's an exercise going on doesn't mean problems at home go away," Humphrey explained. "We, as chaplains, try to help them cope with those things while they're trying to do their best for the readiness inspection."

While giving spiritual guidance, the chaplains are in the trenches with the Airmen in Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear when required.

Staff Sgt. Charles White, 18th Wing NCO in-charge of chapel resources, said he knows it is hot being in MOPP gear so they go out to provide Airmen across the base with Gatorade and water.

"When we go out to visit (the Airmen), we're not just visiting for exercise purposes," Humphrey said. "We're going out there to say 'hey, how are you doing?' or  'Do you need me to make you laugh?' (Things) to show them we care."

U.S. ROKAF Air Force demonstrate capabilities

8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/30/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE Republic of Korea -- The 8th Fighter Wing hosted Max Thunder 12-2 on Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Max Thunder is a combined exercise with the ROK Air Force and features numerous aircraft including F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-15K Slam Eagles. The exercise is a chance for U.S. and ROK air forces to work side by side and to test the combat capabilities of the participating units, which included aircraft and crew from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, in various wartime and combat scenarios.

Deployed F-15 unit keeps Alaskan, Canadian skies safe

by Master Sgt. Mikal Canfield
Alaskan NORAD Region Public Affairs

10/31/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Every service member knows being ready at a moment's notice is part of the job. However, not every service member mans a combat alert cell, ready for the call requiring them to launch a fighter aircraft in minutes. For Airmen of the 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, that's all part of 24/7 duty executing the alert mission.

The unit of Airmen, F-15C Eagle aircraft and equipment from Kadena Air Base, Japan, are deployed to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson supporting the Alaskan NORAD Region, part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command mission providing aerospace warning and control for North America.

"The 44th EFS is responsible for protecting the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone and intercepting any aircraft attempting to enter U.S. or Canada airspace," said Capt. Joshua Gunderson, 44th EFS electronic combat officer. "We are also responsible for intercepting any aircraft that originate within the U.S. not following their flight plan and/or showing signs of suspicious activity."

The ANR mission, now in its 54th year of operation, requires the aircraft, pilots and maintenance personnel to be ready whenever the call comes indicating a potential threat. It's a responsibility the Airmen take seriously and train and prepare for every day.

"After periods of inactivity, both equipment and personnel must be ready to instantly perform at their best when the phone call comes," said Gunderson. "All members of the 44th team, both maintainers and pilots, stay focused on the task at hand and realize the unacceptable consequences of failure."

This responsibility to have the aircraft ready to go also has a major impact on the way maintenance is conducted, a mission that comes with some unique challenges.

"The most challenging aspect is maintaining a readiness posture 24 hours a day, seven days a week with zero down time," said Master Sgt. Matthew Veit, 44th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit production superintendent. "Most of our maintainers are used to the concept of available spares. In a simplified definition that means that if an aircraft breaks, it is replaced with another aircraft that is fully mission-capable and we have time to fix the broken aircraft."

Without the same resources at JBER, conducting repairs and other routine maintenance has an added sense of urgency, Veit added. This also results in maintenance personnel getting valuable experience in other areas.

"Some examples include having an engine mechanic assist with radar troubleshooting, or an electrician assisting with the installation of an external fuel tank," Veit said. "The teamwork this mission fosters develops a very strong esprit de corps with a high sense of pride for each maintenance task completed."

The aircrew flying these missions have also taken advantage of some of the unique opportunities to train while deployed to Alaska. Specifically, taking advantage of Alaska's vast training ranges.

"The training ranges in Alaska provide us the opportunity to conduct low-altitude training in a mountainous region, which we cannot do while in Okinawa," Gunderson said. "From both the flying and maintenance perspectives, flying over the Alaska range and operating in harsh winter climates will allow for increased flexibility and knowledge for future operations."

A lot of this training is conducted alongside F-22 Raptor aircrews assigned to the 3rd Wing at JBER.

"We've been able to do some integration sorties with the F-22s and gained a better understanding of each other's capabilities," Gunderson added. "This is beneficial because both platforms play a vital role in maintaining the air dominance mission."

Even though the training opportunities are great, the aircrew and maintenance personnel all have a solid grasp on the real reason they're here.

"When the horn goes off at two in the morning, each Airman has a critical job to do and must be counted on, from the youngest maintainer to the most experienced pilot," said Veit. "The sense that this is real and there is no room for error causes a real change to occur in each Airman. You can see it on their faces and there's nothing like the feeling of a real-world scramble."

With each successful mission comes an increased sense of pride, especially toward younger Airmen who are able to get experience unlike many of their peers.

"It's especially rewarding when an 18-year-old Airman who's on his or her first deployment performs a flawless alert launch. They get a real sense of pride when they see their jet light two burners and blast down the runway," Veit added.

Wolf Pack welcomes 'Fighting Fuujins'

by Senior Airman Adam Borgman
8th Logistics Readiness Squadron

11/1/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Last month, the 8th Fighter Wing gained more than 200 Airmen from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, who will be here for about six months as the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

These members comprise a TSP, or theater security package. Many people at Kunsan have encountered a TSP Airman at one time or another, and many have asked, "Why are they here, and what is their purpose?"

The answer is simple -- to demonstrate the 8th FW's mission to "Defend the base, accept follow-on forces and take the fight north."

"Our purpose is to show support for the Wolf Pack's mission," said 1st Lt. Dominique Masters, 4th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge. "With the high turnover at Kunsan, it has been challenging to let people know what we're here for.

"There were so many moving pieces that had to come together," she added. "No matter what we needed, Kunsan took care of it."

With less than four weeks' notice, members of the 4th EFS were notified they would spend six months at Kunsan Air Base.

Not only did the TSP members have a short time to notify their husbands, wives, sons and daughters, the Wolf Pack had a short time to prepare for their arrival.

The 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight ensured more than 50 vehicles were on station, inspected and distributed. The 8th Force Support Squadron military personnel flight ensured each member was in-processed without a hitch. FSS lodging guaranteed all 200 members had a bed to sleep in and food to eat.

Without all the additional man-hours and effort put into preparing, the TSP's arrival would have been much more difficult. Some compared it to a real-world exercise.

"What better way to test your system in all aspects, from personnel to logistics, than during a short notice arrival like this one?" asked Tech. Sgt. Ayana Hodges, O'Malley Dining Facility manager. "Everyone came in to work extra hours without missing a step. We were all working overtime but it was just another day at work."

The time and teamwork that went into preparing for the TSP's arrival highlighted the Wolf Pack's abilities to accept the follow-on forces that will help defend the base and take the fight north.

"Planning, receiving and integrating the TSP is an outstanding training opportunity for the Wolf Pack as we prepare for our 'accept follow-on forces' mission," said Col. John Pearse, 8th FW commander. "We are glad to have the TSP forces on-board as part of the Wolf Pack."

Coast Guard Responds to Superstorm Sandy Damage

From a Coast Guard Atlantic Area Public Affairs News Release

PORTSMOUTH, Va., Nov. 1, 2012 – Coast Guard leaders Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, Atlantic Area commander, and Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich, director of Operational Logistics, conducted an aerial survey of the New Jersey coastline, New York Harbor and Long Island yesterday to assess the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, Atlantic Area commander, assesses the area along the New Jersey coastline on Oct. 31, 2012. Parker and Coast Guard Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich, director of Operational Logistics, conducted an aerial survey of the New Jersey coastline, New York Harbor and Long Island to assess the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Frederick

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Currently, the Coast Guard's top priority is to get the port of New York and New Jersey back to full operations. Their assessment included evaluating impacts to the maritime transportation system and Coast Guard facilities.

"The United States is a maritime nation and we rely heavily on the ports for commerce. Ninety-five percent of our goods come to us by way of [the] sea. Just about everything you purchase ... most likely came through a seaport somewhere at some time,” Parker said.

“The port of New York and New Jersey is vital to our nation's economy and we are doing everything humanly possible to get the port back to full operations. This is an all-hands-on-deck evolution," he added.

The Coast Guard's priorities are safety of life, to restore the local maritime transportation system -- specifically in New York and New Jersey -- and to effect rapid reconstitution of operations in the affected areas. Coast Guard crews continue to conduct assessments to ensure ports are safe and ready for business.

Coast Guard operations continue despite some service shore infrastructures sustaining flood damage, limited communications capacity and power outages.

As the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander, Parker serves as the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions within a geographic region that ranges from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf and spans across five Coast Guard Districts and 40 states.

Rescue wing hosts Atlanta-area civic leaders

by Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

11/1/2012 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 920th Rescue Wing showcased the rescue mission to Atlanta-based businessmen and women during a civic leader tour here Oct. 24.

The 94th Airlift Wing, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., transported the group to Patrick AFB aboard one if its C-130 Hercules aircraft.

"That was a great flight," said Dr. Debra Boureau, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "This is the first time I have flown on a military airplane, we were allowed up on the flight deck, it was cool."

The group toured Cape Canaveral Air Station and visited several historical sites while at Patrick. One such stop was at Launch Pad 34, where it stands today as a memorial to the crew of Apollo 1, U.S. Air Force Lt. Commander Roger B. Chaffee, Lt. Col. Virgil I. Grissom, and Lt. Col. Edward H. White II, all perished in a cabin fire during a launch pad test.

Col. Jeffrey Macrander, 920th RQW commander, gave the civic leaders a mission brief then led them out to the flight line for tour of a HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter.

During lunch, the civic leaders were able to observe 920th pararescuemen performing a water rescue training exercise in the nearby Banana River. Civic leaders witnessed as PJs parachuted from a C-130P/N king personal recovery aircraft and landed in the Banana River. Once in the river, Pave Hawk rescue helicopters swooped in to recover the PJs using the hoist capabilities on the Pave Hawk.

"This is a great program," said Chris Rideout, transportation manager, Croy Engineering. "As an honorary commander, I have had the opportunity to experience many aspects of the military. It has provided me with a greater knowledge, understanding and the role our military."

Airmen Support Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts

From an 18th Air Force Public Affairs News Release

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Nov. 1, 2012 – Following President Obama’s directive for the federal government to “lean forward” in response to the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, airmen from across the country are answering the call.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
New York Air National Guard Tech. Sgts. Robert Spaulding and Daryl McKinnon, 105th Airlift Wing, arrive at the 105th Force Support Squadron Personnel Deployment Function as part of the New York State response to Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012. The airmen are among more than 1,100 Army and Air National Guard soldiers and airmen deployed at the order of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to respond to the storm. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael OHalloran

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Aircraft and crews from 12 active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve bases across the nation were mobilized to arrive at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., where they are slated to pick up approximately 10 passengers and 632 short tons of equipment and supplies to support relief efforts on the East Coast.

The passengers and cargo, including 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company, are slated to arrive at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., at around 2:30 p.m. EST, after which they will support efforts to restore power and provide humanitarian assistance to the region. Media reports have stated that more than two million people still remain without power in the aftermath of the superstorm.

The movement is expected to require the use of five C-5 Galaxy aircraft and approximately 12 C-17 Globemasters. A C-5B from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and a C-17 from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., were among the first aircraft scheduled to depart March this morning.

The rapid response was made possible through the combined efforts of planners at U.S Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command’s 18th Air Force and the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center), operating as part of the U.S. Northern Command-led effort supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s storm response efforts.

Days before the storm made landfall, these same planners had already begun preparations to move personnel and aircraft out of harm’s way -- preserving their readiness to respond after the storm had passed.

Since then, America’s total force mobility team has turned its attention to supporting recovery efforts. To that end, and in response to a Northcom tasking, airmen quickly put together the plan to move personnel and supplies to stabilize and improve conditions in the region.

DOD Launches ‘Airlift Event’ to Support Sandy Relief

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 – The Defense Department launched “a significant airlift event” to quickly get power restoration equipment to New York, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked DOD to airlift equipment from Southern California to New York, he said. The Air Mobility Command responded and some of the needed equipment is already in the air.

“Aircraft and crews from 12 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases across the nation are rotating through March Air Reserve Base in Southern California, where they will pick up 10 civilian power experts, 637 short tons of supplies and equipment to support relief efforts on the East Coast,” Little said.

The personnel and equipment are from the Southern California Edison Utility Company and will arrive at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., on 12 C-17 Globemasters and five C-5 Galaxy aircraft later this afternoon, Little said.

The cargo includes 10 cherry picker trucks, four line trucks, a flat-bed digger, eight “trouble trucks” and a mobile command center, he said. There are also a number of support trucks, maintenance trucks and all the equipment needed to operate as soon as they roll off the planes, Little added.

Most of the crews manning the trucks arrived in New York via commercial air, he said.

The Navy is moving three ships -- the USS Wasp, the USS San Antonio and the USS Carter Hall -- toward the Northeast, Little said. There has been no request for the capabilities of the ships, but DOD considers this a prudent move, to ensure the ships will be available if needed, he said.

The military is also providing generators and pumping equipment to New York and New Jersey, Little said.
The National Guard remains busy in response to recovery efforts throughout New York and New Jersey, he noted.

“The New Jersey National Guard was very busy yesterday rescuing the people of Hoboken who are still stranded due to flooding,” Little said. “Throughout the state, the New Jersey National Guard has rescued more than 2,000 residents from flooded areas.”

In addition, the New York National Guard responded to Bellevue Hospital, where more than 700 patients needed to be evacuated, he said.

“I can’t say enough about the selfless soldiers and airmen throughout the Northeast, and I’d like to commend FEMA and other government agencies for their response to this devastating natural disaster,” Little said.

107th AW Airmen aid fellow New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy

by Capt. Elaine J. Nowak
107th Airlift Wing

10/31/2012 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. (10/31/12) -- Seventy-five Air National Guard members from the 107th Airlift Wing here
deployed downstate Tuesday to aid in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

The all-volunteer group of Airmen is part of the 2,290-member force from
across the state ordered to duty by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to respond to the

The group boarded two C-130 Hercules aircraft that departed to Stewart ANG Base Tuesday. Once at Stewart they were bused to the Camp Smith Training Site just north of Peekskill. Camp Smith will be the group's base of operations during relief efforts.

"It really gives me a great sense of pride that we can help the citizens of New York state," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Kieliszek, 107th Medical Group administrator, who volunteered to deploy. "When people need help we are going to be able to be there, to give them whatever support they need."

Leadership from the 107th AW was tasked Sunday to prepare a team to deploy if called upon for Hurricane Sandy response. Volunteers were put on a one-hour standby recall. Tuesday afternoon the 107th AW was notified of the deployment and was able to take off just a few hours later.

"The 107th is always ready, willing and able to perform our domestic operations mission when civil authorities request our help," said Col. Jim McCready, the 107th AW commander. "It's particularly rewarding when we can go to the aid of fellow New Yorkers, just like we did last year after Hurricane Irene and after the 9/11 attacks."

It is not known at this time how long the group will be activated. They will give assistance until local authorities can handle the scope of operations.

Baylor University Scientist Receives Major Grants for Health Research on 1991 Gulf War Veterans

WACO, Texas (Nov. 1, 2012) - Baylor University has been awarded two new federal grants for research on Gulf War illness, the complex medical condition that affects veterans of the 1991 war. The grants, from the Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the U.S. Department of Defense, total nearly $1.6 million, and bring current federal funding for Baylor’s Gulf War research program to over $2.3 million. 

“These grants will support our intensive effort to find answers for the many thousands of veterans still suffering from Gulf War Illness,” said Lea Steele, Ph.D., the Baylor University epidemiologist who directs the program.  The funding supports projects to address multiple aspects of the problem, including studies on the biological processes causing veterans’ symptoms and development of a nationwide network to advance health research, particularly studies leading to effective treatments, for Gulf War illness. 

Gulf War illness is the term commonly used for the symptomatic condition that affects military personnel who served in the 1990-1991 Gulf War.  Symptoms typically include some combination of chronic headache, widespread pain, memory and concentration difficulties, and digestive and other abnormalities - problems that are not explained by medical or psychiatric diagnoses or by routine laboratory tests.  

Studies indicate at least one in four of the 700,000 military personnel who served in the 1990-1991 war are affected, and that few have recovered over time. 

“Gulf War illness may no longer be as high profile as health issues from more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it remains a very serious problem for many thousands of ill veterans,” said Steele, who is research professor in the Baylor Institute of Biomedical Studies. “This work is especially important here in Central Texas, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of 1991 Gulf War veterans in the country.”   

The federal grants awarded to Baylor support three separate projects.  For the first study, funded in 2011, Baylor is partnering with Scott & White Healthcare to provide clinical assessments, including an in-depth look at the brain, the immune system, and diverse other measures in Gulf War veterans. “This project should give us a clearer picture of the complex biological processes that drive veterans’ symptoms,” Steele said.  “This is an essential step for improving the care provided for ill veterans.”

The second project will focus on developing a blood test to improve the diagnosis of Gulf War illness.  According to Steele, “Gulf War illness is currently defined only on the basis of veterans’ symptoms.  An objective test to assist in diagnosing this condition would be immensely beneficial to veterans and their healthcare providers, and can also provide an important tool to better understand and treat this condition.”
The third project includes a national study to determine the current health status of veterans across the U.S. who served in the 1991 Gulf War.  It will also establish an information and research network for veterans to receive periodic updates on health issues, and connect veterans with scientists who are conducting health studies of 1991 Gulf War veterans. 

Steele has conducted research on the health of Gulf War veterans since 1998.  Before joining the Baylor Institute of Biomedical Studies in 2010, she served as scientific director for the federal Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses.

“After years of false starts,” she said, “research has now provided progress in our understanding of Gulf War illness.”  She emphasized, however, that despite this progress, many veterans remain ill, since doctors still lack effective methods for diagnosing and treating Gulf War illness.  She added that “We believe these answers can be found, and are especially pleased to be partnering with Scott & White to address this problem, given its importance for veterans in Central Texas.”   

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.