Saturday, November 03, 2012

Winnefeld Honors Military Spouses, Caregivers

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2012 – As part of Operation Home Cooking today at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, the nation’s No. 2 military officer hailed the strength of military spouses and shared his favorite Spanish rice dish, paella.

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Mary welcomed military spouses and wounded warrior caregivers who were honored by Operation Home Cooking with a day of food, entertainment and fellowship.

The initiative recognizes military spouses for their commitment and sacrifices, and the event was free for those who attended.

“Last year I think we had 400 tickets for military spouses,” Winnefeld said, “and this year [Operation Home Cooking founder Denise Medved] was so generous in giving us 1,100 tickets. That’s why all of you are out in the audience.”

Mary Winnefeld added, “Today I am with the most -wonderful group of people I could be with and that’s military families, military spouses, be they male or female.”

Military families “are the most resilient, most caring, most compassionate, most fun group I’ve ever been with,” she said, “so it’s really neat to be able to do something special with you today.”

Medved said this is the third year of Operation Home Cooking, which invites military spouses to the cooking show for the day, “just to have a break and enjoy themselves because you’re really the unsung heroes of the military.”

She added, “I can’t tell you how important the military families are to the top brass in the military. We’ve done this the last two years [and} I knew that people had a fun time … but it really didn’t resonate with me until a couple of weeks ago how critical an event like this is for you all.”

Medved said she was contacted by “all of the top people in the military, [who asked], ‘Are you doing Operation Home Cooking again? What can we do to help you? This is really important to us, it’s really important to the spouses.’”

Tickets are distributed by the host committee, which represents all branches of the military. The inaugural event, held Nov. 13, 2010, in Washington, D.C., included a surprise visit from Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and celebrity chef Paula Deen.

On stage, because the admiral didn’t have time to cook the entire paella, he used a slide show of the process, featuring himself and four chefs on his staff, to show the audience how it was done.

Pulling a white chef jacket on over his service dress blues, Winnefeld called in turn for audience responses from Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard spouses, who answered enthusiastically.

“There’s a really important group of people here that I want to give a special shoutout to,” Winnefeld said.
In the last 10 years of war, many men and women have been injured in combat, he added.

“We call them wounded warriors and we have a special group of people here today who have given up so much of their personal lives to be with their wounded warriors,” the admiral said, inviting caregivers in the audience to the stage for the first taste of his favorite dish.

“I can’t even begin to express how much we appreciate what you guys have done for the wonderful men and women wearing the cloth of our nation, who have sacrificed so much for our country,” Winnefeld said.

DOD Provides Hurricane Sandy Response, Relief Update

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2012 – The Department of Defense continues to flow forces, capabilities, and logistical supplies to the New York/New Jersey region in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to Hurricane Sandy, DOD officials said.

In addition to the provision of unique engineering equipment and personnel, officials said, the department is particularly focused on the distribution of fuel.

Here is today’s update on DOD’s response to Hurricane Sandy as of 9 a.m. EDT:

Today, the Defense Logistics Agency, National Guard, and the New York/New Jersey State Police will cooperate in the distribution of more than 250,000 gallons of fuel to New York/New Jersey residents, first responders, and emergency vehicles to support the ongoing recovery effort. This fuel will be distributed evenly at 10 FEMA-identified distribution points -- five in New York, five in New Jersey -- and additional fuel will be distributed Sunday, Nov. 4,as needed.

DLA is meeting FEMA’s requirement for 200,000 gallons of fuel per day and is increasing current fuel stores through the purchase of 12 million gallons of gasoline, and 12 million gallons of diesel. DLA is also filling a 300,000 gallon FEMA order for points of distribution in Egg Harbor, West Orange, and Freehold, N.J.; and 200,000 gallons to support three New York/New Jersey airfields. Meanwhile, a DLA vendor has 440,000 gallons of fuel available with 160,000 gallons en route and 100,000 gallons of gasoline on order for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Despite the resumption of power in Manhattan, DOD remains engaged in supporting FEMA through the deployment of temporary emergency power throughout the affected areas. Currently DOD has installed 39 generators in the New York/New Jersey area, with 322 generators on-hand and 56 more en route.
DOD continues to support FEMA’s request for food via DLA. Yesterday, more than 1.5 million meals were delivered to FEMA facilities in West Virginia and today more than 1 million total meals will be provided at Bennett Field in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, and Lakehurst, New Jersey. An additional 1 million meals are expected to arrive in New York City on Nov. 5.

The National Guard is working at the local, state, and federal level to assist FEMA in their response to this hurricane.

Approximately 7,400 National Guard forces are supporting the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. These forces continue to provide critical assistance to local first responders and FEMA with damage assessments, route clearance, power generation, fuel distribution, debris reduction and removal, search and rescue, delivery of essential equipment and supplies, support at evacuation shelters/first responder bed-down locations, and the employment of unique engineering capabilities.

Here are the National Guard highlights over the last 24 hours:
-- New York, with2,811 troops; New Jersey, with 2,054 troops; Pennsylvania, with 645 troops; West Virginia, with 598 troops; and Connecticut, with 567 troops currently have the highest number of Guard members responding to the storm’s aftermath.
-- Eight Army Guard helicopters from North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia are providing six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters to assist search-and-rescue movements from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
-- The Air National Guard is providing several aircraft, including one C-17, from Mississippi; two C-17s from New York; one C-17 from Alaska; one C-5 from Tennessee; and three C-5s from West Virginia to support Tanker Airlift Control Center flying missions. Seven additional C-17s and C-5s will be added.
-- National Guard members continue to clear debris so that local power and transportation teams can restore power to millions.
-- New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and West Virginia Guard forces are providing power generation to restore essential services.
-- The National Guard Bureau continues to reach across to federal partners to better-coordinate emergency response efforts.
-- The Connecticut National Guard trucked FEMA emergency supplies from Rentschler Field in East Hartford to affected towns throughout the state.
-- New York National Guard members continue to go door-to-door in New York City high rises to deliver food and check on citizens needing extra assistance.
-- The New York National Guard is assisting FEMA in delivering one million meals and bottled water to citizens in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
-- New York National Guard distributed meals-ready-to-eat to residents at a staging area in lower Manhattan.
-- More than 500 New York National Guard members are supporting crews to repair an electrical grid in Westchester and Rockland counties.
-- New York National Guard members are currently involved in equipment staging, debris clearance, communications support, transportation, security and traffic control operations, aerial survey and reconnaissance, evacuations, and points of distribution.
-- An aerial port of debarkation for critical power repair assets has been established at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y.
-- The New Jersey National Guard has rescued more than 3,000 people and 200 pets by searching door to door in flooded areas.
-- The New Jersey National Guard has assisted civil authorities with establishing shelters in Vineland, Freehold, West Orange, Glen Gardner and at the Jersey City armory.
-- The New Jersey National Guard has established three fuel distribution points throughout the state and is providing mobile fuel support for first responders and vehicles supporting critical infrastructure.
-- The New Jersey National Guard’s 21st Civil Support Team has deployed to Brick Township to help local law enforcement enhance their communications system.
-- The West Virginia National Guard is rescuing elderly and sick citizens who are without power in remote parts of the state where snow accumulation was more than 18 inches.
-- The West Virginia National Guard is delivering critical supplies across 16 counties.
-- West Virginia National Guard assessment teams continue to identify and assess high risk structures and augment state active duty health and welfare teams.
-- West Virginia National Guard teams conducted roof assessments at ten schools, several private businesses and one senior center.
-- Eight West Virginia National Guard helicopters and crews flew various missions yesterday to include assessments and welfare checks on people in areas unreachable by vehicle due to snowfall.
-- The West Virginia National Guard has 12 power teams, eight grader teams, six loader dump teams, four chainsaw teams and three search-and-extraction teams working throughout several counties.
Other DOD Operations:
-- U.S. Transportation Command delivered 61 power restoration vehicles and 65 technical personnel from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., to Stewart ANGB, N.Y. U.S. Transportation Command is in the process of delivering 63 power restoration vehicles and 132 technical personnel from Phoenix, Ariz. to Stewart ANGB, N.Y., and is expected to complete this mission today.
-- Transcom is scheduled to deliver four vehicles and technical personnel from Seattle, Wash., to Stewart ANGB, N.Y., today.
-- The secretary of defense approved FEMA’s request for DOD to provide 100 engineering teams with high-capacity pumps and personnel to support FEMA operations.
-- The secretary of defense approved FEMA’s request for DOD to transport approximately 120 medical personnel to serve as augmentation for hospitals and nursing homes from various pick-up locations to Kennedy International Airport in New York. Teams are now in place.
-- Four medium rotary-wing utility aircraft and four medium rotary-wing search and air rescue aircraft are staged at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and available for tasking.
-- The following public health/medical forces are staged at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.: one medical logistics management center companies/early entry team, two preventive medicine teams, one veterinarian team.
-- Navy/Marine forces are currently anchored near Breezy Point, N.Y., in support of U.S. Coast Guard small boat operations in nearby waterways, recovery efforts in Sandy Hook, N.J., and the resumption of normal transit service via the Hoboken Ferry terminal. They also have the capability to perform refueling operations and provide forces to the New York/New Jersey area when requested by civil authorities.
-- The Training Ship (TS) Empire State is in New York and in use with 266 first responders being berthed and fed. The TS Kennedy is en route from Massachusetts and is scheduled to arrive on Nov. 5. The Ready Reserve Fleet Vessel SS Wright is en route from Baltimore and is scheduled to arrive on Nov. 4.

Carter Praises Minot Airmen’s Service, Dedication

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Thomas L. Dow
5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D., Nov. 3, 2012 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter received a briefing about ballistic missile readiness capabilities and met with airmen during his visit here yesterday.

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Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter speaks to airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Nov. 2, 2012. Carter thanked the service members for their hard work and dedication. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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Carter received briefings on the B-52 bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile readiness capabilities. Leadership from the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing showcased the effectiveness of the dual-wing mission here.
Following the joint mission briefings, Carter was taken to the weapons storage area for a tour of the facilities. During the tour, he discussed the importance of ensuring that the nation’s nuclear capabilities are safe, secure and effective.

The deputy defense secretary next visited the 91st Missile Wing's missile training facilities. These included a training launch facility, a payload transporter and a missile procedures trainer where missile crews demonstrated procedures that they use in the field on a daily basis.

Carter was then taken to a hangar for a tour of a B-52H Stratofortress. He was given a briefing on the strategic deterrence capabilities of the bomber and shown the multiple weapons the aircraft can employ for combat operations.

After the visit to hangar, Carter talked with more than 200 airmen to thank them for their service and let them know the importance of their mission.

Speaking to the airmen in attendance, Carter said, "I've spent the day learning what you do, appreciating what you do and being amazed at what you do here. The first thing I want to say is thank you."

"When you wake up in the morning and you go to bed at night, you know that you are part of something bigger than yourself," he added.

During his discussion with the airmen, Carter stressed how Minot's role is paramount to America's security.

"What you do here, particularly the nuclear mission, is the bedrock of our security. It is what stands in the background and looms over every action this country takes on the world stage," Carter said. "It is the foundation for everything we do."

Following his speech, Carter presented coins to the airmen to show his appreciation for the hard work and dedication to the mission they show on a daily basis.

"I want you to go home and tell your loved ones that you were thanked by your country for what you do," Carter told the airmen.

Airmen respond to 'Sandy' relief efforts

by Staff Sgt. Frances Kriss
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/1/2012 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- A C-17 Globemaster III departed early morning Nov. 1 in support of Hurricane Sandy response operations.

Along with aircraft and crews from 11 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases across the nation, McChord Airmen are flying to March Air Reserve Base, Calif., to pick-up 10 passengers and 632 short tons of equipment and supplies supporting 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 slated to arrive at Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, N.Y. at around 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, after which they will move out to support efforts to restore power and provide humanitarian assistance to the stricken region.

Historically, McChord Airmen have been on the lead of many humanitarian efforts. Most recently, a McChord C-17 was the first heavy aircraft to provide aid in Operation Tomodachi, the Japanese tsunami relief efforts, by being airborne within 19 hours of notification. In addition, the 62nd AW propelled Operation Pacific Passage, repatriating 2,600 family members stationed at military bases throughout Japan to safe-haven locations in the U.S.

Federal hurricane relief ops stage at Westover

by Lt. Col. James Bishop
439th Airlift Wing

11/2/2012 - WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- The morning before "Superstorm" Sandy was due to ravage the East Coast, maintenance and crews were hustling to evacuate all but four of Westover's 16 C-5s MacDill AFB, Fla. At the same time, dozens of tractor-trailer trucks rolled down a remote taxiway on the base's north end.

By Oct. 30, 75 trailers filled with emergency supplies stood along Taxiway R, ready to be delivered anywhere in New England.

Drivers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Army Corps of Engineers brought trailers loaded with bottled water, tarps, meals, fuel, generators, and other emergency supplies to hurricane-stricken sites across New England and into New York City.

Trucks continued to rumble into and out of the base through early November as FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers sent relief supplies and generators to disaster sites across New England.

In response to President Obama's call for the government to "lean forward" to support East Coast relief efforts, a Westover C-5B flew to March Air Reserve Base, Calif., picked up 76 electrical workers and two utility trucks, and dropped them off at Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y., near New York City, hours later.

Aircraft and crews from 12 total force bases across the nation were mobilized to pick up 632 short tons of equipment supporting relief efforts, including 69 large utility vehicles, according to an Air Force news release.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall Oct. 29, obliterating the New Jersey shore and leaving much of Manhattan underwater with a 13-foot storm surge. The massive Category I hurricane crept north/northeast at 14 mph, according to the National Weather Service, killing at least 170 people in the Caribbean, Bahamas, United States and Canada. The storm left 8.5 million without power and caused more than $20 billion in damage, according to multiple reports.

Sandy became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, with wind spans of 1,100 miles, the Washington Post reported.

The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical cyclone by the time it reached Massachusetts Oct. 29. Base meteorologists said the maximum wind gusts here were 51 mph. The rainfall that day was .8 inches. Last year's rainfall during Tropical Storm Irene of 3.2 inches set a new one-day record, more than tripling the previous record of .92 inches set in 1970.

On Oct. 30, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) visited Westover to assess federal recovery operations. "It is a reminder for people who live here how important Westover is as a staging area," Neal told reporters after his visit.

Westover serves as a FEMA Incident Support Base for emergencies such as this. In September 2010, in preparation for Hurricane Earl, the base debuted as a staging point for FEMA Region I, which encompasses all of New England, said Bob Perreault, chief of emergency management at Westover.

Last year, FEMA teams and trucks staged at Westover for nearly two months, staging recovery operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

"Airmen offer unique capabilities to the federal effort, including airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation support," said Maj. Michael Meredith, an Air Force spokesman at Scott AFB, Il. "Those capabilities delivered hope to those in need overseas after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and last year's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan as well as here at home in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav."

Air Force flies relief supplies, power vehicles into New York

Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

11/2/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Yesterday hundreds of Air Force active-duty, Reservists and Guardsmen worked day and night loading and flying 12 C-5 and C-17 airlift, bringing 636 short tons of badly-needed equipment and power support vehicles to areas of the East Coast ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Airmen from more than 12 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases came together at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., to send support, including 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company, to Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y. The last mission will take off from March ARB today.

"I have a brother who lives in Long Island, N.Y., and when I called him yesterday he didn't have any power," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Healy, March ARB. "It's good that we're able to get our people from California out there to help them."

Raymond F. Hicks, Southern California Edison region manager, said, " [Southern California Edison vehicles were] loaded to go back east to Consolidated Edison service territory.

We're quite excited about this opportunity between Edison and the military joining together to get the vehicles back there."

Today, members of the 621st Contingency Response Element at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., arrived at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Ariz., to continue relief support operations.
Working with members of the Arizona National Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing, the Airmen will send approximately 40 bucket, boom and digger relief vehicles from the greater Phoenix area to aid in the hurricane relief efforts. The C-5 Galaxy's and C-17 Globemaster IIIs are bound for Stewart ANGB, N.Y.

The 621st Contingency Response Element is highly-specialized in training and rapidly deploying personnel to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain, and coordinate air mobility operations.

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) here operating as part of the U.S. Northern Command-led effort supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's storm response efforts.

"These missions are very important because we are helping more than 5 million people without electricity get back up on their feet," said Capt. June Chung, 618th TACC channel cargo systems director. "Much like the Haiti and Japanese relief operations, Mobility Airmen are providing hope and supplies as quickly as we can to those in need."

FEMA Employs Air Guard Base for Storm Relief

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Sherree Grebenstein
167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard

MARTINSBURG, Nov. 2, 2012 – The Federal Emergency Management Agency is using the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing base here as a staging area to push out much-needed storm relief supplies to Mountain State residents hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

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Staff Sgt. Joshua Wishmyer signals to his brother Staff Sgt. John Wishmyer as he moves a pallet of boxed meals at the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing based in Martinsburg W.Va., Nov. 1, 2012. The 167th is serving as a staging area for disaster relief supplies which will then be transported throughout West Virginia as needed. The West Virginia National Guard has over 200 members aiding in recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. The storm blanketed the state with heavy snow and rains and also had severe winds that left homes and properties damaged. Guardsmen are involved in numerous aspects of the operations from search-and-rescue missions to debris removal. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle

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Airmen and soldiers from the West Virginia National Guard are working in tandem to ensure the emergency supplies trucked in from around the country will be distributed to those in need. Operations spun up yesterday morning at the base with approximately three-and-a-half million liters of water and 600,000 self-heating emergency meals, as well as infant and toddler supplies slated to be delivered in the coming days.
“We will maintain 80 to 100 truckloads [of supplies] here at all times,” said Joe D’Angelo, FEMA’s Incident Management Assistance Team logistics chief for Region III.

D’Angelo said he expects the base to be used as a staging area through at least next week.

Two companies from the West Virginia Army National Guard’s 77th Brigade are tasked with distributing the needed supplies to Mountain State residents. Citizen soldiers from the 1201st Forward Support Company and Delta 230th FSC will take to the roadways to drop off the supplies.

“We’re going to turn them into ice truckers,” said Army Master Sgt. Keith Bibb, property book officer for the 77th Brigade.

As of yesterday evening, the 120 citizen soldiers assigned to the mission were awaiting their first marching orders to begin distribution of the supplies.

“We’re loaded, cocked and ready to go,” Bibb said. “We are staged waiting for our mission.”

Quartermaster Soldiers New York-bound to Aid Citizens

By Stephen Baker
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee

FORT LEE, Va., Nov. 2, 2012 – Soldiers from an Army unit based here are on their way to New York City today to help pump water from flooded areas in support of recovery operations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

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Army Pfcs. 1st Class John Lopez and Kyle Lamb check the instrument panel of a fuel pump at the unit's motor pool on Fort Lee, Va., Nov. 1, 2012. The soldiers are assigned to the 108th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, which is preparing to deploy to New York to aid Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. U.S. Army photo by Terrance Bell

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Twenty-four men and women from the 108th Quartermaster Company were called to action Nov. 1, and mobilized immediately.
The soldiers spent the day preparing and loading gear and supplies, including a half-dozen 350-gallon-per-minute pumps, fuel, food, cots and other items needed to keep the equipment and troops operational.

Army 1st Lt. Melanie Wells, the soldiers’ platoon leader for the deployment, said her unit is always ready for a humanitarian mission.

“They’re ready to help their fellow man,” Wells said of her soldiers. “They’re ready to get up there and see what they can contribute to help people get back in their homes.”

While the soldiers are scheduled to be deployed for one or two weeks, Wells said they are bringing enough supplies for up to two months of operations.

The 108th Quartermaster Company is organized under the 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade.

PACAF command chief reflects on 30-year career

by Tech. Sgt. Jerome Tayborn
PACAF Public Affairs

11/2/2012 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM  -- Pacific Air Forces' top enlisted Airman will end his military career effective Mar. 31, 2013, bringing to a close 30 years of faithful service.

Chief Master Sgt. Brooke McLean, PACAF command chief, will say farewell during a retirement ceremony at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Officer's Club Nov. 16. Retired Gen. Gary North, former PACAF commander, will preside over the ceremony.

Following is the transcript of an Oct. 29 interview with McLean. The chief served as the Command Chief for PACAF from October 2009 until November 2012.

1. What has been the highlight of your career? Well, it's hard to pick one. I've had many great assignments and tours -- three times in PACAF, three times in Air Force Special Operations Command, and three assignments in Europe -- those are highlights by themselves! I certainly will relish the memories of serving my final three years on active duty at PACAF. It's been an incredible time to be stationed in this region, and we've seen a dramatic shift in the power and balance of where we live. We have a great mission with strong leaders and a focus on where we need to be ... being part of a focused organization like that is a highlight in any career.

2. What will you miss most about the Air Force and the military? I will miss the camaraderie and cohesion of being in a very selective organization that serves our great nation and has relevance in the future of the world. Some may think that's a bit over the top, but really, that's what we do every day. We produce airpower that impacts the world, whether it's via kinetic firepower or humanitarian aid -- our Airman impact the world.

3. What are your plans for retirement? I'm going to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and will work for the Air Force Enlisted Village. It's going to be a way to "give back" to the Air Force for everything I have received over the years. The Air Force Enlisted Village provides a home for hundreds of Air Force military retirees and spouses, some of which would have nowhere else to live if not for the AFEV. I really believe it's a natural extension of our Air Force Family, and I'm honored to be a part of it.

4. Tell us about the moment you found out you were going to make chief? What a relief! I was assigned to Headquarters PACAF and it was about two months after the attacks on 9/11. We had all been working hard, and the response in the command was critical to the nation's efforts and military responses. There were long periods of hectic work and some periods of anxious waiting as we dealt with the uncertainty of the time. The promotion was a grounding point for me, and I was humbled to be honored when so much was going on around us.

5. Why did you join the military/Air Force? I've told this story countless times over the years ... I joined because I didn't have anything else to do. I know that sounds weak but it's true. In high school, I was an athlete and after graduating, I tried college but wasn't mature enough at the time. I needed direction, and I needed to change the way I was living my life. So, a family friend recommended the Air Force and here I sit 30 years later. I'm smiling because, in hindsight, I know what a HUGE decision it was and I've been blessed to serve around the globe, complete my education, and be part of something much bigger than me.

6. What goals did you have when you joined the Air Force and how did it compare to everything you have achieved/experienced? My goals were meager. As I mentioned, I was looking to change the direction of my life and the Air Force seemed like a great way to do it. When I joined in 1983, the military wasn't exactly viewed as a big move or a prestigious path to take. Many people still looked down on military service. We were less than 10 years beyond Vietnam and a few years after the Desert One tragedy. Confidence in the military wasn't high and therefore many citizens didn't have high expectations of the people or capabilities. That has been one of the biggest changes I have seen and it's tough to compare that time to our force today. The reality is the military today doesn't compare to the military I joined nearly three decades ago. I'm not sure I would make it in today's Air Force!

7. What do you think the Air Force does great? What could it do better? We fly, fight, and win for our nation, and we do it better than anyone. It's not easy but we make it look easy. In fact, we make it look too easy and some don't appreciate the complexities of the global missions we execute. Additionally, the Air Force takes care of its people. It's not always perfect and as a large organization with over 332,000 people, we deal with many challenges, but we take care of our people and their families. We do it with quality work environments, excellent training, professional development opportunities, healthy living conditions, and outstanding support systems for our families. What could the Air Force do better? Communicate more with people and not rely on computers as much. We need to get out from behind the screen, put down our smart phones, pull-out our head phones, and communicate.

8. Who or what motivated you to go above and beyond during your career? I was motivated by "ownership" of the Air Force. I didn't expect anyone to do the mission for me and I didn't want to be the person on the sidelines when the action happened. I wanted to be the "go to" guy who would answer the call. I wanted to be like the biblical prophet Jeremiah and, when called upon, respond with a firm, "Here am I, send me." I have a great experience of when I answered the call, and ironically, it was during that phone call when I realized I had to take ownership of the deployment of some special operations helicopters. We needed airlift and I had the plans and abilities to execute the mission. When asked who was available to validate the movement of these critical assets, I literally looked around the office and knew it was me. Everyone else, my boss, my commander, was deployed and the answer had to be provided then or we risked a delay. So, I confirmed the airlift plan and took ownership of the Air Force.

9. What's been the highlight of your time at PACAF and why? There are too many answers to that question! In short, the highlight has been serving the people of this great command. Serving with the quality of Airmen we have in today's Air Force and in PACAF is humbling. I haven't specifically counted the days, but I'm relatively certain I spent over half of my time in the command traveling to visit Airmen at our bases or meeting with our partner nations. Being on the road is hard but it's where our Airmen are serving. I can't say I achieved all I wanted to do, but I can say I didn't leave anything on the table. I needed more hours in the day!

10. Any last words for PACAF Airmen? Run hard, make every day count, watch out for your wingman, call your family, and take pride in the fact that you're doing something most people aren't able or willing to do. You serve our Nation, and I'm proud of our team.

Dempsey Lauds USO’s Service, Support to ‘America's Finest’

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

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2012 – The United Service Organizations has earned its reputation for taking care of service members and their families through 71 years of unbelievable service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

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Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised the USO for its continuing support of service members and their families at the annual USO Gala in Washington, D.C., Nov. 2, 2012. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

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During his remarks at the 2012 USO Gala, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey used anecdotes and quotes from prominent baseball players as he praised the USO for its committed support of America's troops for over seven decades.

Dempsey used an example of Ted Williams, a former U.S. Marine, and Major League Baseball player with a reputation for hitting, as he explained the USO's legacy of serving troops.

“He was incredible. He interrupted his career to serve both in World War II and later in Korea ... [an] incredible patriot,” the chairman said. “Ted Williams had a certain reputation. And you know what, so does the USO.”

“Seventy-one years of service has created a reputation in which they and we should be very proud,” Dempsey said. “Unbelievable.”

The chairman also used quotes from former New York Yankee player and manager, Yogi Berra, who said, “Little things are big.”

“Little things are big,” Dempsey said. “But think about that and what the USO does. Young men and women deploying, redeploying, families, wounded warriors, this event. All of the things they do.”

“They're not really big things when you really confront them,” he said. “They're just little things -- a smile, a place to feel at home, a place to make a phone call. Yogi was right. Little things can really be big. And we're awful proud of what the USO does to make little things big.”

The chairman noted there were representatives of the Joint Chiefs and service secretaries also attending the USO Gala to present honors to the USO's Service Member of the Year.

“Now tonight we're going to honor six of America's finest,” Dempsey said. “Young men and women who have served their countries and distinguished themselves in ways that I know all of the service chiefs and representatives here should be proud.”

Dempsey, again quoting Yogi Berra, said, “The future ain't what it used to be.”

“We've all heard that one,” he said. “But you know that's the truth in many ways. In fact, I'm absolutely convinced the future ain't what it used to be.”

“But the future is bright, and it is bright because we've got young men and women of the kind you're going to see here standing on the stage tonight,” Dempsey said.

Following the chairman and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's remarks, the six service members were honored by a representative from their respective branches of service.

Army Lt. Gen. William J. Troy, director of the Army staff, presented Army Staff Sgt. Jacob Perkins his award; Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, recognized Marine Corps Sgt. Clifford Wooldridge; and Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of Naval Operations, honored Navy Petty Officer Second Class Gregory Gaylor.

Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff, recognized Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Beversdorf; Coast Guard Vice Adm. Manson Brown, deputy commandant for mission support, honored Petty Officer Second Class Nicholas Beane; and Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, presented Senior Airman Evan Stevens his award during the gala.

Dempsey reminded the audience that as they enjoy their dinners, a new day is just beginning for “young men and women in Afghanistan.”

“And they're going to strap it on,” he said. “They're going to put on their rucksacks, they're going to leave their forward operating bases and they're going to do what we've asked them to do. And so I'd just ask that you keep them in your prayers.”

Additionally, Dempsey said, America's men and women, mostly members of the National Guard and reserves, are helping citizens recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The chairman ended his remarks with the revelation that his own son is redeploying and will likely use the services of a USO along the way.

“Right now, while Deanie and I are sitting here, my son is coming back from Afghanistan,” Dempsey said. “And I know that somewhere along the way the USO will help him make it home.”

Support rolls onto Travis jets

by 2nd Lt. Jessica Clark
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/3/2012 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Six Department of Energy vehicles from Western Area Power Administration in the Sacramento area arrived at Travis Air Force Base Nov. 2 to start their journey towards New Jersey.

The group is part of the growing number of utility vehicles being airlifted from the western regions of the United States and are tasked to assist in power restoration efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Col. Dwight Sones, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, said it takes an immense level of coordination to make these types of airlift missions happen and to start moving needed equipment quickly.

"From understanding requirements on FEMA's side of the house to the Department of Energy with their equipment to the capabilities the military can provide, it takes close coordination in order to make it happen flawlessly," he said.

Airmen from the 60th Aerial Port Squadron inspected the six large power utility vehicles to prepare them for the flight to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

"This is our job. We load cargo every day, but when natural disasters happen, we switch roles and go to mobility," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Greenwood, 60th APS NCO in charge of special handling. "It's a one stop shop. We'll be able to process, load, plan, manifest and get this stuff out within just a few hours."

While loading a variety of equipment may seem the norm for the aerial porters, this was an unexpected mission for WAPA personnel.

"We do a lot of mutual aid assistance but it's always on the West coast. This is actually history making for Western Area Power Administration," said Brian Adams, WAPA director of line maintenance. "We have never mobilized so many people and so many units and vehicles and equipment to go assist in a disaster like this."

Upon arrival at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the loaded vehicles will be ready to roll off the plane and start working on reestablishing power throughout New Jersey.

"It's our main goal to make sure power is running all the time," said Joel Carrillo of WAPA. "I've never done anything this massive, but it's always nice to see if we can help people in need."

62nd AW Airmen 'answer the call'

by Staff Sgt. Frances Kriss
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/2/2012 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- When our East Coast neighbors needed resources to restore power, they asked for help and Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing were among the first to "answer the call" and provide the assistance they needed.

Within three hours of notification, the first 62nd AW crew departed McChord Field in the early morning hours, Nov. 1 to pick up equipment and passengers from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and deliver them to Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.

After 19 hours, another 62nd AW crew left to do the same thing...all in the effort to assist fellow Americans.

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.

"This is my first time supporting a humanitarian relief mission and I'm pretty excited," said Capt. Mike Perry, 4th Airlift Squadron pilot and aircraft commander of the second mission. "It's great to be able to help out our fellow Americans, even as far away as the West Coast. I'm proud of what we do and I'll never forget this."

It was also the first time for Airman 1st Class Magen Bowles, 4th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, and she feels the same way.

"I'm enriched with honor," said the San Francisco, Calif., native. "I joined the Air Force to help support my fellow Americans and it is missions like these that make my job fulfilling. It makes me proud when I open the cargo doors and ramp to see people happy with smiles because I was able to deliver much needed equipment."

These trips were part of a total force initiative that includes Airmen from more than 12 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases providing support by transporting 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company.

These vehicles will be used to support efforts in restoring power and provide humanitarian assistance to the damaged areas of the East Coast.

Although the second mission is now complete, the U.S. Air Force will continue to support our East Coast neighbors in getting back to a normal way of life.