Thursday, November 08, 2012

Cody named next Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force

11/9/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III has named Chief Master Sgt. James A. Cody to serve as the 17th chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

Cody will assume his new position on Feb. 1, following the Jan. 31 retirement of current Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy. Roy's retirement will culminate more than 30 years of service to the Air Force.

"Chief Roy and his wife, Paula, have been a blessing for our Air Force. They have worked tirelessly for the past three-plus years as phenomenal advocates for our Airmen and families. Betty and I wish them all the best as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives," Welsh said.

"The quality and professionalism of our enlisted force is unrivaled due in great part to the remarkable commitment and dedication of Chief Roy and Paula to take care of Airmen and their families," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. "The Air Force must continue to develop the quality Airmen the service needs and we look forward to the experience that Chief Cody and his wife, Athena, herself a retired chief master sergeant, will bring to this effort."

Cody, who joined the Air Force in 1984, is currently the command chief master sergeant for Air Education and Training Command. His career includes various assignments in air traffic control and as the command chief master sergeant, 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; and 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

"We are excited to welcome Chief Cody and Athena to the team as they take the baton from the Roys," Welsh said. "The next few years will be filled with many opportunities and challenges and our Air Force will greatly benefit from the leadership, experience and wisdom they bring."

"Chief Cody will do a fantastic job of representing the enlisted force," said Roy. "I have every confidence that he and Athena are prepared to handle the challenges that face our Airmen and their families in the years to come."

The office of the chief master sergeant of the Air Force represents the highest enlisted level of leadership, provides direction for the enlisted corps and represents their interests to the American public and all levels of government. The CMSAF serves as a personal advisor to the Air Force Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, proper utilization, and progress of the enlisted force and their families.

Locklear, Regional Military Leaders Seek Closer Cooperation

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2012 – Renewed logistics cooperation agreements between the U.S. and the New Zealand and Philippine militaries were among the takeaways from the 15th Pacific Commanders Chiefs of Defense Conference in Sydney, where the senior U.S. officer in the region and his counterparts from 26 nations explored ways to work together more collaboratively to face future challenges.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, right, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Chief of Defense of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa shake hands after signing the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement at the Chiefs of Defense Conference in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 6, 2012. The Chiefs of Defense conference provided a forum for senior military leaders from around the Asia-Pacific region to discuss shared security challenges, improve bilateral and multilateral relationships and build upon our mutual defense objectives. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Danny Hayes

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“We had a broad range of discussions about what are the likely threats in the Indo-Pacific region for the coming years and what we will have to do together as nations to be able to address [them],” Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters at a news conference yesterday.
Locklear listed three key areas for enhanced regional cooperation: disaster response, counterterrorism and protection of sea, air and cyber lines of communication.
Noting the region’s propensity for natural disasters, the admiral said it’s vital that all regional militaries are able to work together to respond.

He cited the cooperation demonstrated during the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster last year. During the vital first weeks, militaries provided the vital support needed to relieve suffering and help Japan begin the process of recovery.

“We didn’t solve the problems,” he said. “What we were able to do was … come together and to bring military equipment that had been built for military needs and apply it to a humanitarian disaster scenario that basically [devastated] the Japanese people.”

Locklear called that response a model for regional responses to future natural disasters throughout the Asia/Indo-Pacific region.

“They’re the types of things we need to be talking about and be prepared for,” he said.
Another keystone of regional security, Locklear said, is an “agreed-upon perspective of how terrorism is moving around the world,” and the ability to identify how it impacts the Asia-Pacific security environment and to respond.

The admiral also noted the link between open and secure global commons and the global economic and security environment. The ability of regional nations to work together to “ensure that those … global commons and those lines of communications are well protected for the use of all” is key to a secure, prosperous future, he said.

Recognizing the fiscal pressures all nations are facing, Locklear said coming together as a region helps nations identify overlapping priorities where they can collaborate and, when feasible, pool their resources.

During the conference, for example, the United States renewed its logistics cooperation agreements with the Philippines and New Zealand. Both agreements are designed to allow the militaries to work together more closely by enhancing their cooperation during exercises, training, deployments, port calls and other operations, officials said.

Locklear and Chief of Defense of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa signed the U.S.-Philippines agreement, extending the original agreement made in 2002 and renewed in 2007. The original U.S.-New Zealand agreement was signed 12 years ago.

In a statement issued after signing the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement with New Zealand Defense Force Chief Lt. Gen. Rhys Jones, Locklear said the agreement is important to the long-term bilateral partnership.

“This agreement, at an important time in our relationship, will increase capability and interoperability and help us provide more affordable support for humanitarian relief, disaster assistance, counterterrorism, capacity building and collective defense throughout the Pacific region,” Locklear said.

Asked during yesterday’s news conference about the role of China in the future regional security environment, the admiral said he looks forward to increased engagement, including welcoming China to regional forums and Chiefs of Defense Conferences.

“Our hope is that our Chinese counterparts in the [People’s Liberation Army] will become an element of these talks and discussions every year,” he said. As it rises as a regional and global economic power, China and its “thoughts and perspectives on how to work together to maintain a secure and stable Asia Indo-Pacific region is critical,” Locklear said. “And we look forward to having those discussions with them as we go forward.”

The conference included plenary sessions as well as bilateral and multilateral discussions with nations from the Maldives to the west to the French representation in Tahiti in the east and from Korea and Japan in the North and south to Australia and New Zealand.

Locklear praised Australia, which hosted the conference for the first time and has stood as a staunch U.S. ally.

“We’ve been allies for a long time and we have worked together cooperatively throughout almost every major conflict and operation that … the U.S. and Australians have been involved in,” he said. “We continue to look for opportunities where we can strengthen that alliance and work together.”
With U.S. Marines now serving rotational deployments to Darwin, Australia, Locklear said “a range of options” are under discussion to expand that cooperation. He emphasized, however, that nothing has been formalized.

Airmen winterize homes with Rebuilding Together

by Steve Berry
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Volunteers from Scott Air Force Base worked in Belleville, Ill., Saturday improving homes and painting the Illinois Center for Autism.

Nearly 40 Airmen joined other volunteers with Rebuilding Together for the nonprofit's Fall Project. The home improvement portion centered on winterization and safety upgrades for eligible low-income homeowners. For winterization, volunteers sealed the area around windows and doors, installed storm doors, wrapped water heaters with insulation blankets, and changed furnace filters. For safety, volunteers installed "grab bars" in bathrooms, installed carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors, and also provided each home with a fire extinguisher.

Scott Airmen worked on six separate houses. One of the homes was owned by Marc Joplin, a former Air Force member. Joplin was appreciative of the work being done on his house and said the winterization and safety upgrades were more than he expected.

"It's kind of overwhelming," said Joplin, who planned to help serve lunch to the volunteers.

Senior Master Sgt. Roman Jaye, Air Mobility Command headquarters, was improving the seal around Joplin's front door.

"You need to give back to the community," said Jaye. "I feel it's important."

Two houses down another group of Scott members made similar repairs and cleaned out gutters.

Rebuilding Together Southwest Illinois' executive director, Scott Peery, described the volunteer effort Saturday as the organization's "first-ever neighborhood build," because most of the sites were in the Meadowdale Heights neighborhood, including the Illinois Center for Autism. At the center's new site, volunteers chipped adhesive off walls where chalkboards once hung and painted walls.

Peery said he is "very proud" that the local chapter of Rebuilding Together has a connection with military volunteers, and said Scott members have been "a huge support for many years."

Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit that provides repairs to homes and community centers, including efficiency and safety upgrades. The organization provides its service to low-income and disabled homeowners at no cost to the homeowner.

SEAC brings inspiration to Scott AFB

by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/6/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Scott AFB Oct. 28-Oct. 31.

The SEAC, who is the principle advisor to the CJCS and the Secretary of Defense on all joint and combined total force matters, toured Team Scott and the community.

The SEAC said touring Scott and meeting its people was a memorable experience.

"The monumental piece was visiting all the units," Battaglia said. "It was a pleasure to hear the Airmen and young noncommissioned officers talk about their job, their contribution and the impact they bring to the overall mission."

From his office in the Pentagon as the top enlisted person in the entire U.S. military, he's spent the last year visiting bases and combat zones meeting and listening to Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen.

"Regardless of time served, regardless of someone's AFSC, you and I are all members of this profession," Battaglia said. "This profession is so much larger than just a job."

The SEAC also held an all call Oct. 29 in the base theater to underscore the four priorities of the CJCS: Achieve national objectives in current conflicts, develop Joint Force 2020, keep faith with the military family and renew service members' commitment to the profession of arms.

Battaglia said one of his personal priorities is renewing the commitment to the profession of arms.

"It is time to recommit to the profession of arms, no matter if the person has been in for four years or 40. You all took (an oath) when you joined your branch of service," said the 33-year serviceman. "The oath that I take as the most senior NCO in the Armed Forces is the same identical oath as the most junior service member in this building right now."

The SEAC also emphasized the importance to build up an inner toughness to effectively handle adversity.

"We hit challenges every day of our life," he said. "When you hit that barricade, you have some choices to make. You can either go through it, around it or turn around and go the other way.

"The military teaches to access the problem, develop some courses of action, select a course of action, and accomplish and overcome," he said. "Resiliency is having a lifestyle of building toughness in those domains and being able to overcome adversity with less agony and resistance for when you hit that barricade."

Battaglia also visited Jefferson Barracks where he met with wounded service members, vets and toured the new post-traumatic stress disorder facility.

"Our veterans are as much a part of the family as our active duty, reserve and guard members," he said. "A veteran's recovery is important to us and that's the connection we have in the Armed Forces as one big family."

Rock Airmen shine during 18th Air Force Commander's visit

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2012 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, the 18th Air Force commander, recently visited with Airmen and leaders here to express his thanks and admiration.

"This wing has a culture of getting things done. You do more than is expected of you every day and you do it well." said McDew.

McDew, along with his wife, Evelyn, attended numerous briefs, facility tours and ceremonies during their visit. The two saw Team Little Rock's mission firsthand and applauded the hard work of the team's Airmen, civilians, and families who contribute to keep the mission of the world's largest C-130 base soaring.

"Little Rock has exceptional leaders," said McDew. "I was impressed with all of the commanders, the chiefs, and first sergeants that I had a chance to engage with, but that was just the beginning. I was blown away by the everyday Airman and when the commanders put me in front of them - they left me speechless."

During an all call with base Airmen, McDew talked about the future of mobility forces. "The only thing I can tell you for certain is, the next five years will be different than the last five years," he said, adding that the one constant in coming years would be the exceptionalism of America's Airmen.

"Airmen are bold innovators," he said. "They're risk takers, our founding fathers were too. Airmen bring a different mindset to the fight, one that's invaluable to the joint team."
McDew also noted the importance of resiliency for today's Airmen.

"Find some way in your life to stay connected to your personal morals and values. Believe that tomorrow is always going to be better than yesterday. Don't be afraid to get to know your wingman, and don't be afraid to be a bit interested in their lives. Sometimes, just asking the question, 'hey, how are you doing?' and waiting to hear the response is important," he said.

McDew also explained that one of the great strengths of Team Little Rock was its relationship with the surrounding community. The base's history is rooted in a strong bond with local citizens, who purchased the land for the base from the government in the 1950s.

"This community sets the standard for how well they treat service members." he said. "They care about you; they respect you greatly. I think they do an exceptional job of thinking about ways they could help you before you even ask."

McDew said his visit to Little Rock was important because it gave him the opportunity to say "thank you" to his Airmen and he summed up his and his wife's visit with one word: "phenomenal."

Panetta Aims to Fortify Alliances on Asia-Pacific Tour

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2012 – To strengthen alliances with partners in the Asia-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will prepare for a three-country trip across two continents, Press Secretary George Little said in a briefing today.

“We look forward to this opportunity to further advance our long-term strategy of rebalancing with the Asia-Pacific [region],” Little said.

The first stop on the trip, he said, will be Perth, Australia.

There, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III will join Panetta for the annual U.S.-Australian Ministerial.

Panetta’s first trip to Australia as Defense Secretary will enable him to thank Australia for their contribution to efforts in Afghanistan, Little noted.

“This year’s Australia Ministerial will also provide an opportunity to review the alliance’s progress on the successful Marine Corps and Air Force deployments to Northern Australia and to discuss the next steps in this important cooperation,” he said.

From Australia, the secretary will travel to Thailand.

“The important U.S.-Thailand alliance has served both our countries well for nearly 60 years and our two governments are eager to establish a forward-looking strategic vision … that builds on our already close cooperation,” Little said.

The final stop, he said, will be Cambodia, where the secretary will join 10 other defense chiefs from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at their annual retreat in Siem-Reap.

“Secretary Panetta will emphasize the importance of ASEAN unity for regional stability and will communicate U.S. support for ASEAN-led defense cooperation,” Little said.

The secretary’s visit to the region, along with that of Secretary Clinton, reflects the commitment of the U.S. to the rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific, Little noted.

“Secretary Panetta has made this one of his highest priorities because he believes that it is the right strategy for the future, security and prosperity of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

IAF teams with Charleston for C-17 maintenance training

by Senior Airman William O'Brien
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

11/8/2012 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Indian air force has begun sending about 100 airmen to Joint Base Charleston to receive instruction from the 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 5, on how to operate the 10 C-17 Globemaster IIIs they recently purchased.

"The Indian air force purchased the C-17s and they need the training because these Indian airmen are going to be the ones standing up the initial C-17 unit (in India) and we were nominated to be the school house that teaches them," said Tech. Sgt. Paul Higgins, 373rd TRS Detachment 5 electrical environmental instructor.

The 373rd TRS Detachment 5's mission is to provide aircraft maintenance to the Department of Defense and its allies.

"We are learning the basics of the aircraft as well as the technical manual, which is quite helpful in learning the part numbers and other technical aspects of the C-17," said Indian air force Junior Warrant Officer Prakash Chand.

Each specialty-specific class has four students. The length of the course varies by specialty, but usually lasts about four to six weeks.

"We teach across the board" said Higgins. "Every specialty we have on the C-17, we are teaching here. We have electrical environmental, communication, navigation and general crew chief functions, just to name a few."

The training includes classroom time as well as hands on work where the new maintainers apply the skills they learned in the classroom on simulation training aircraft.

"What we're learning here is going to help us to be able to maintain the C-17 aircraft in India," said IAF Junior Warrant Officer Ranbir Singh Rana. "We have very good and experienced instructors and very good communication with them. We are catching on very quickly and when we have questions, they are able to clear up things quickly."

The IAF expects to receive their 10 C-17s in June 2013. India paid $4.1 billion for the aircraft, which is expected to replace their IL-76 fleet.

The C-17 provides the Indian air force with a payload of 164,900 pounds and can take off from a 7,000-foot airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles, and land on a small, austere airfield with runways of 3,000 feet or less. The C-17 is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings.

The first group of students is slated to graduate Nov. 8.

Pentagon Provides Storm Response Update

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2012 – The Department of Defense is a fully integrated partner in the federal, state, and local response to Hurricane Sandy and is appropriately postured to provide additional assistance to civilian authorities, as a result of the northeaster currently sweeping through the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States, defense officials reported today.

To address potential issues from resulting this northeaster, the release said, DOD has retained significant capacity in the region to provide emergency temporary power and pumping capability and to distribute fuel, food, cold-weather clothing, and other comfort items as requested by civil authorities.

DOD's response to Hurricane Sandy continues, officials said. Significant updates over the past 24 hours, as of 11 a.m. EST, include:

-- The Army Reserve's 401st Quartermaster Team pumped approximately seven feet of water out of Long Beach High School and a significant amount of flood water from the Long Beach Recreation Center and Long Beach Development Center on Staten Island. They are currently working to pump water from a submerged housing area in the coastal area of Brooklyn. The Army Reserve’s 431st Quartermaster Team is scheduled to begin water pumping in flooded locations around the city today.
-- Air Force teams completed unwatering operations at the Rockaway Waste Water Treatment facility and East School in Long Beach, N.Y. Army divers conducted repairs to the pier system at Caven Point, N.J. A Navy dive detachment continues to support unwatering operations at the World Trade Center site.
-- A Marine detachment continues assessments with Army engineers in Far Rockaway, N.Y. They also pumped 90,000 gallons of water from area apartment buildings and approximately 750,000 gallons of water from homes and parks in Breezy Point, N.Y.
Defense Logistics Agency:
-- In total, more than 6.2 million meals have been shipped or are en route to FEMA facilities in West Virginia, New York and New Jersey. Another 7 million are in production. DLA delivered 48 pallets of bottled water to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. DLA also delivered two portable x-ray machines to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, with four more en route.
-- Nearly a million-and-a-half gallons of fuel have been delivered to Federal Emergency Management Agency distribution locations in New Jersey and New York.
-- Six-hundred thousand meals and 600 cases of water have been delivered to 11 American Red Cross mobile kitchens in New Jersey and New York. 350 pounds of propane per day and 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day have also been delivered to the kitchens.
-- Two 1,000-kilowatt generators have been delivered from Lakehurst, N.J., to the Carteret Fuel Terminal, N.J.

Army Corps of Engineers:
The Corps of Engineers continued its support to response operations focusing on unwatering and power generation missions and the transition to recovery operations with the initiation of debris, temporary housing, roofing and infrastructure assessments.
-- Ten of the 14 sites USACE was tasked to unwater have been cleared. Brooklyn Battery Tunnel has been unwatered and maintenance pumping is ongoing. In New York, USACE pumping operations at the Montague Street Tunnel continue. In New Jersey, pumping operations continue at Amtrak’s Kearney Rail Substation, the Jersey City PATH train tunnel and the Passaic Valley Waste Water Treatment Plant.
-- USACE continues to support emergency power restoration efforts. USACE has 483 generators staged at forward locations, with an additional 116 en route. USACE has received 500 power restoration actions. 460 assessments have been completed, three are in progress and 37 are not yet started. Currently, 105 generators are installed and 39 are being installed, with 144 installations projected.
National Guard:
-- Nearly 6,000 Army and Air National Guard soldiers and sirmen from 14 states are distributing food, water and fuel throughout the affected area as well as conducting communications, security, sheltering, debris removal and transportation missions in support of recovery efforts.
-- New York National Guard personnel have distributed almost 1.5 million meals from 21 sites since Nov 1. Fifty personnel are supporting Red Cross shelters at six sites in Nassau County. Guardsmen are also sorting and distributing donated goods from the Javits Center and delivering them to three points of distribution.
-- New Jersey National Guard personnel distributed 12,590 blankets, 1,740 cots and 3,648 towels since Nov. 1. Since Nov. 2, they also have distributed 93,229 gallons of fuel to emergency responders from four distribution points in support of FEMA and DLA. The New Jersey National Guard is providing tents and mobile kitchen trailers to shelter and feed emergency management personnel. Guardsmen continue to assist civil authorities at state-run shelters with transportation, meals, water and power generation in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, at the Jersey City Armory, and in Glen Gardner borough. Unarmed Guardsmen are providing safety and security support to law enforcement agencies in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Two Former U.S. Soldiers Sentenced for Roles in Fraudulent Military Recruiting Referral Bonus Scheme

WASHINGTON – Two former members of the U.S. military were sentenced today for their participation in a conspiracy to obtain approximately $244,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses from various U.S. military components and their contractor, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Grant E. Bibb, 41, of Eagle Pass, Texas, and Paul Escobar, 32, of San Antonio, were sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery in the Western District of Texas.  Judge Biery sentenced Bibb to serve one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release.  Escobar was sentenced to six months in prison, six months of community confinement and three years of supervised release.  Judge Biery also held Bibb and Escobar jointly and severally liable for $244,000 in restitution.

Bibb pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Jan. 30, 2012.  Escobar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on July 19, 2012.

According to court documents, Bibb served in the Texas National Guard between January 2003 and July 2007 and in the U.S. Army Reserves from October 2007 until November 2010.  In addition, from December 2007 until April 2009, Bibb worked as a contract military recruiter in Katy, Texas.

Escobar served in the U.S. Army Reserves from November 2005 until February 2007.  Escobar then served in the U.S. Army from November 2007 to January 2010.

According to court documents, between 2005 and 2008, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Reserves and the National Guard Bureau entered into contracts with Document and Packaging Broker Inc. (Docupak) to administer recruiting bonus programs designed to offer monetary incentives to soldiers who referred others to join the U.S. military.   In addition, the Army managed its own recruiting bonus programs, which offered bonuses to soldiers who referred other individuals to join the Army or the Army Reserves after registering online as recruiting assistants (RA) or sponsors.  Through these recruiting programs, a participating soldier could receive up to $2,000 in bonus payments for every person he referred to serve in the U.S. military.

Bibb and Escobar admitted that they participated in a fraud scheme whereby active duty and civilian contract recruiters provided RAs and sponsors with the names and Social Security numbers of “walk-in” soldiers, which are individuals who decided to join the military without being referred by anyone.  Using this information, the RAs and sponsors claimed credit for referring these potential soldiers to join the military, when in fact they did not refer them.  As part of the fraud scheme, the RAs and sponsors split the bonus payments with the recruiters and others who provided the potential soldiers’ personal identifying information.

According to court documents, Bibb, Escobar and their co-conspirators received at least $244,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses in total.  Bibb personally received $35,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses using RA accounts in his name and an RA account in a relative’s name.  Bibb also worked with other soldiers and active duty recruiters to set up RA accounts in those soldiers’ names for the purpose of claiming fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses.  Bibb, the recruiters and at least four soldiers split a total of at least $4,000 in fraudulent bonuses.  Escobar permitted a co-conspirator to receive $6,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses using Escobar’s RA account and made fraudulent representations to Docupak to carry out the scheme.

This case arose from an investigation concerning allegations that former and current soldiers and military and civilian contract recruiters in the San Antonio area engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to obtain fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses.  To date, 9 individuals have been charged, all of whom have pleaded guilty.  The investigation is ongoing.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Edward J. Loya Jr., Brian A. Lichter and Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.  The case is being investigated by agents from the San Antonio Fraud Resident Agency of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.

McConnell Reservists deploy to Southwest Asia

by 1st Lt. Zach Anderson
931st Air Refueling Group Publc Affairs

11/7/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Air Force Reservists assigned to the 931st Air Refueling Group here have deployed to Southwest Asia as part of an Air Expeditionary Force in support of ongoing U.S. operations overseas.

While deployed, aircrews, maintainers and support staff from the 931st will be assigned to the 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron under the 385th Air Expeditionary Group in the theater of operations. The 90th EARS is a total-force team consisting active-duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard Airmen.

The squadron's primary duty is to fly refueling missions supporting C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft coming in and out of the area of operations. The air refueling mission acts as a "force multiplier" by allowing the cargo aircraft to land and offload at locations down range without having to land for refueling.

Iranians Attacked U.S. Drone Over International Waters

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

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2012 – A recent Iranian attack on a U.S. drone occurred over international waters, but the aircraft suffered no damage and returned safely to base, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Little said the Iranian aircraft fired on the drone and followed it as it flew over the Arabian Gulf last week.

“I can confirm that on November 1, at approximately 4:50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, an unarmed, unmanned MQ-1 U.S. military aircraft conducting routine surveillance over the Arabian Gulf, was intercepted by an Iranian SU-25 Frog-foot aircraft and was fired upon with guns,” he said.

“The incident occurred over international waters, approximately 16 nautical miles off of the Iranian coastline,” Little said. “The MQ-1 was not hit, and returned to its base safely.”

Little provided further details regarding the Iranian attack.

“The aircraft, once it came under fire at approximately the 16 nautical mile range, moved further out,” he said. “The Iranian aircraft continued to pursue the MQ-1 for some period of time before letting it return to base.”

“We believe they fired at least twice and made at least two passes,” Little added.

The press secretary confirmed both Congress and the White House were notified of the incident, and the U.S. responded to Iran through the “Swiss protective powers.”

 “The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters, over the Arabian Gulf, consistent with longstanding practices and our commitment to the security of the region,” Little said.

Little emphasized the U.S. can respond using a “wide range of options -- from diplomatic to military -- to protect our military assets and our forces in the region, and will do so when necessary.”

“Our aircraft was never in Iranian airspace. It was always flying in international airspace,” he said. “The internationally recognized territorial limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast, and we never entered the 12 nautical-mile limit.”

Little said Defense Department officials believe this is the first time an unmanned aircraft has been shot at over international waters in the Arabian Gulf.

“There is absolutely no question that the aircraft fired on the U.S. military aircraft,” he said.

Air Force senior leaders approve service doctrine restructuring

by Phil Berube
Air University Public Affairs

11/7/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Officials at the LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., announce that by next fall, Air Force doctrine will be restructured, streamlined and accessible to anyone with an e-reader, smartphone or tablet.

Dubbed "Doctrine Next," the initiative overhauls doctrine development processes to better reflect Air Force and Joint "best practices" in a much timelier manner while reducing subject matter redundancy and repetitive content.

In early October, the LeMay Center presented Doctrine Next to senior Air Force leaders at the annual Doctrine Summit held at the Air Force Academy. The leaders unanimously supported the initiative and tasked the Center to proceed with immediate implementation.

"Doctrine Next is a totally new way we will develop and present our doctrine," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. "Any opportunity we have to streamline and improve the timeliness of Air Force doctrine will have an immediate impact on the way we team with Joint and Coalition partners."

Currently, the complete list of Air Force doctrine includes 32 singularly focused publications that amass more than 2,600 pages. Doctrine Next dramatically reduces that page count and aligns the doctrine into five unifying volumes and 28 supporting annexes. The five volumes will be Air Force Basic Doctrine; Leadership and Force Development; Commanding and Organizing Air Force Forces; Operations; and Support.
Each annex will be derived from the current library of doctrine publications and rewritten to focus on the five unifying documents.

"The annexes will be all doctrine, no filler," said Lt. Col. Brian Thompson, LeMay Center's Doctrine Development Directorate. "One of the immediate effects of eliminating non-doctrinal text is a 30 percent word-count reduction across the entire Air Force doctrine library."

"Doctrine Next fundamentally improves the alignment, currency, accessibility, readability and ultimately the relevance of our Air Force Doctrine ... our service's best practices," said Maj. Gen. Tom Andersen, commander of the LeMay Center.

Airmen should start seeing newly formatted annexes by May 2013, with full implementation not later than Oct. 1, 2013.

Face of Defense: Air Guard Dentist Leaves Patients Smiling

By Air Force 2nd Lt. Matthew Lucht
184th Intelligence Wing

WICHITA, Kan., Nov. 8, 2012 – For the first time in five years, the 184th Intelligence Wing dental office has a traditional Guard dentist, Air Force Maj. Mark Sheils.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Maj. Mark Sheils, a Kansas Air National Guardsman and dentist for the 184th Intelligence Wing based in Wichita, Kan., is the first dentist the wing has had for five years. Sheils travels from Fargo, N.D., to attend monthly unit training assemblies. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The dentist said he knew when he joined the unit there would be some challenges ahead.
“The 184th Medical [Group] had a health services inspection coming up and I was aware of that,” Sheils said. “I got wind that they needed a dentist and I heard that it was a good unit, so that is how I got down here.”

“It is nice to have someone in-house that if you have issues that you can come over and get your questions answered,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Delaney, a radiology technician with the 184th IW. “Instead of having to go to the dentist across base or off base, we have someone in-house that can explain the situation.”

With not having a Guard dentist for five years and preparing for a health services inspection, the dental office has been busy seeing patients. Since Sheils arrived, he and his staff have ensured that everyone in the wing has a dental chart that is up to military standards.

“We have to be at a certain deployable strength and it was a challenge of getting everyone up to snuff or up to that standard, and I think that we did that well,” Sheils said.

“It is a madhouse down here, now that they are trying to get the five-year medical and dental exams on the same month, I would say that we see 40 to 50 patients here on Sundays,” Delaney said.

Even though the 184th IW now has its own dentist, Guardsmen can’t use that service in place of their private dentist. An Active Duty/Reserve Forces Dental Examination form -- DD Form 2813 -- is still required to be turned in to the medical group.

“I am only doing a military dental exam here, I am not their primary dentist,” Sheils said. “What we are looking for is someone that can be deployed and not have an immediate problem with their teeth or oral health.”

One thing that is very evident after talking with Sheils for a couple minutes, his accent indicates that he isn’t from Kansas.

“I have a private practice up in Fargo, N.D., I have been in practice there for about 15 to 20 years now,” Sheils said. This means that, like many other Guard members, Sheils travels a great distance every drill weekend to be a part of the 184th IW.

“I am a homebody and this was a major step for me to come down here but it has been good though. It is fun to come down here and meet people,” he said.

“I have to give him props because that takes a lot of dedication and a lot of service before self,” Delaney said. “You know, he isn’t here to make the money but he is here to make sure that the people of the 184th are taken care of.”

Scott weather unit aided coastal bases hurricane preparation

by Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Several East Coast bases were well prepared for Hurricane Sandy's landfall Oct. 29 thanks to the efforts of the 15th Operational Weather Squadron at Scott AFB and the 26th Operational Weather Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The 15th OWS' 98 percent accuracy rate helped these bases well in advance of the storm and they continue to provide weather updates to pilots who are aiding with the relief efforts.

"As we started watching the storm, we had to try to predict where the storm was going to go," said Maj. Jeremy Alexander, 15th OWS director of operations. "The models were very uncertain. There were different ways it could go."

The 15th OWS does all the resource protection and forecasting for the northeast Unites States from the northern plains, the Midwest and half of the Atlantic coast, from Virginia and up. They provide 150 locations in that area with warnings and guidance.

"Our flight commander for the east region emailed the bases that have weather units on the Tuesday prior to landfall telling them that the National Hurricane Center still had the hurricane going out to sea, but we were still looking at the possibility that it could turn back into the coast," Alexander said.

The responsibility of tracking the hurricane and providing warnings for other bases rests on the shoulders of Airmen. The three parts of the United States that the Scott weather forecasters watch over are divided into three sections within the 15th OWS. Each section has roughly five Airmen and one supervisor.

"It was a bit overwhelming," said Senior Airman Brittney Ervin, 15 OWS forecaster and the main forecaster during the hurricane. "There is a lot to pay attention to when you work with the systems we work with."

The senior airman alone put out over 100 warnings and recommendations to approximately 56 sites along the East Coast.

"I have family in the Baltimore and Philadelphia area, so they were on my mind, but I knew I had a job to do," she said. "I had to go into it with a clear head and do my job to the best of my ability."

The forecasters got through the storm with a 98 percent accuracy rating.

"A lot of bases wouldn't have been prepared for the extent of the storm if we had not reacted, "said Alexander. "A lot of the locations have weather personnel on base, but they get their information from the major media outlets, so we were able to provide them with more information a couple days in advance, which helped them prepare faster."

621st CRW supports AZANG with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

11/6/2012 - PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, ARIZ. -- -- The 621st Contingency Response Wing sent a Contingency Response Element to work closely with Arizona Air National Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing to support them in their efforts to help restore power to the East Coast since Nov. 2.

The Travis Air Force Base, Calif., CRE from helped launch 16 aircraft in support of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The C-5 Galaxy's and C-17 Globemaster III's contained utility vehicles, equipment and personnel from Arizona's Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service bound for New York. SRP and APS will support local utility companies and work to restore power to more than two million New Yorkers who have been without electricity since Monday.

Chief Master Sgt. Charles Monk, 621st CRW Command Chief was present to witness the CRE in action.

"I am really impressed with all of you," Monk said. "Everyone I've talked to has a great attitude and is enthused about the mission here to help support the Arizona Air National Guard in their hurricane relief efforts."

The CRE provides the command and control functions required to support Air Mobility Command's worldwide mobility operations. CREs normally conduct autonomous operations from austere locations but can also augment the infrastructure at established civilian or military airfields. CREs also provide minimum cargo loading and quick turn en route AMC mission support during mobility operations.

The CRE has been working 24-hour operations since arriving.

Through Airmen's Eyes: Chief discusses how family, pet help PTSD issues

by Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

11/8/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Coming back from deployment, Airmen face the home-station work environment, reintegrating with family and settling back into day-to-day life.

What happens when an Airman is diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and mild Traumatic Brain Injury upon return?

For one Airman, his path to recovery has been slow, but he's overcome the challenges he's faced.

"I gave myself permission to let my traumatic brain injury and PTSD be there," said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling senior enlisted leader. "Then, I gave myself permission to reset everything and not be embarrassed by it."

Simonsen's last deployment was as a Public Affairs officer with a provincial reconstructive team in both Nuristan and Kandahar Provinces in Afghanistan. He completed 66 outside-the-wire missions with five attacks on their team. Due to the attacks, he was hospitalized for back and hip injuries and again for head injuries.

Upon return, he said he felt depressed and anxious, and he had difficulty being in crowds.

"The toughest thing is feeling you cannot be as productive as you used to be," Simonsen said. "Concentration was more difficult; writing e-mails was more difficult; composing my thoughts and expressing myself was more difficult."

A big piece of the recovery process for Simonsen has been his service dog.

"Yoko is a wonderful addition to my life," said the wounded warrior. "I say she's a resiliency tool of the first order. My recovery was really, really slow - it still is. Physically, I'm broken. And, the emotional, mental part was recovering slowly as well."

While at the TBI clinic one day, he interacted so positively with the facility dog that it was suggested he look into getting a service dog for himself.

"Once they placed her with me, the change was almost immediate," Simonsen said. "I'm not the old Rich Simonsen - I never will be. But, I'm a lot closer, because of her. She's an unobtrusive companion; she provides a calming influence. She's a good wingman for me."

Yoko also enables him to be in crowds and speak in public, like when he speaks to Airmen at Right Start briefings or Airmen Professional Enhancement Courses. And, although Yoko is noticeable, she doesn't detract from the chief's message.

"A lot of his focus I felt was on ways to deal with people," said U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Ceremonial Guardsman Airman 1st Class Nicholas Priest at an APE Course. "I thought he had a lot of valuable information on how to deal with what we may have issues with. If you have a positive work environment, it helps people work a lot harder. Look out for people, especially where sexual assault prevention and suicide awareness are concerned. We're one force, so we need to work as a team."

Though Simonsen said he has a tendency to isolate himself and has a hard time dealing with the physical pain from his injuries, he tries not to focus solely on the negative.

"The biggest difference on a positive side is I take a little more time to think about things before I respond," the senior enlisted leader said. "That gives me a little more contemplative way of being."

Aside from the resources of mental health and the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, Simonsen said his family and church have been a huge source of support for him.

"My wife has followed me around the world for going on 25 years," he said. "She loves me no matter what. But, she knew I was suffering when I came home. She pushed me to get help. Everyone has a support system they can tap into. We need to use them in our recovery, but we also have to remember they're there working hard and taking a lot of the stress."

For those who may be suffering silently with PTSD, Simonsen offers this piece of advice.

"Coming forward shows courage and strength and is in line with our core values. You can go get help and still succeed in your career."

Though there are many programs out there for wounded warriors, November helps shed light on issues facing wounded veterans as it is Wounded Warrior Month.

Postal Service Ceremony Pays Tribute to Veterans

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2012 – An episode of the television show “Cheers” depicts the ties between the Defense Department and the U.S. Postal Service, ties that were highlighted during the Veterans Day ceremony at Postal Service headquarters today.

In that 1989 episode, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. appeared on the show and sat at the eponymous bar next to Cliff Claven -- the mail carrier played by John Ratzenberger.

Ratzenberger’s character told the admiral: “Us guys in uniform have to stick together.”

That “Cheers” scene was good for a laugh, but many employees at the U.S. Postal Service are veterans or are serving in the reserve components, said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.

More than 200 veterans attended the ceremony at the Hall of Flags at the Postal Service’s headquarters here. The postmaster general thanked veterans for their service and sacrifices. He noted that on any given day about 1,000 U.S. Postal Service employees are on active duty with the military around the world.

Veterans comprise about 20 percent of the Postal Service’s workforce, the postmaster general said. “We are the largest employer of veterans in government after the Department of Defense,” he said. “That’s more than 100,000 people.”

Hiring veterans is the right thing to do, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman said, but it also makes business sense. He praised veterans for their work ethic and their ability to adapt to new conditions and to work with people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs.

Both men spoke of the historic connections between the Postal Service and the armed forces, stretching back to the founding of the republic. George Washington depended on the colonial post office to deliver messages from the field to the Congress, they said. And the U.S. Postal Service has continued its service to the military, keeping those on the front lines connected with the homefront.

That service was the theme of retired Army Maj. Gen. Ronald G. Young. The general serves as the executive director for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Young praised the Postal Service for its work in peace and war.

“Thank you for your commitment to bringing people together,” he said.

Young discussed the importance of the Postal Service in his own life. In 1966, as a 19-year-old private in basic training at Fort Bragg, N.C., he received a letter each day from the woman that eventually became his wife.

He said it’s no wonder that many veterans are attracted to the Postal Service as “they are used to public service” and the organization is focused on people.

RCC, 167th TSC sustain hurricane relief assets

by AIrman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

11/6/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The Reception Control Center along with the 167th Theater Support Command, are collaborating to track, care for and sustain all incoming federal, state and local hurricane relief assets currently on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

The RCC portion of the collaboration organizes all incoming units either staying or passing through the joint base as part of the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. This includes any federal, state, Department of Defense or local units.

"All of these assets need to be inprocessed to ensure accountability so we can care for our temporary tenants," said 2nd Lt. Madison Scaccia, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron plans and integration officer in charge. "Who are they? Where are they coming from? How many people are in the unit? What cargo are they bringing? Where are they going and when they are getting here? What do they need? - These are all the questions we need to ask make sure that happens."

The accountability procedure breaks down into four joint pieces: reception, staging, onward movement and integration, or JRSOI. Reception includes taking initial accountability of the unit members, providing food and shelter. Staging involves making sure the unit has a proper space to set up operations. Onward movement ensures the unit can leave the installation and do its job once its been successfully prepared. The final stage, integration, allows the individual unit to integrate with a larger service agency if need be.

The 167th TSC portion of the collaboration is focused purely on traditional guardsmen, Title 32, transitioning into an active duty status, Title 10, as seamlessly as possible while also maintaining accountability. This process is initiated by the president in such instances as a natural disaster like Sandy. The 167th TSC also uses the JRSOI to streamline reception efforts.

"We've been working hand-in-hand with the RCC," said Army Chief Warrant Officer Mark Mackey, 167th Theater Support Command supply systems analyst chief. "Accountability is extremely important and giving our guys a place to stay and food to eat while they're here is obviously critical. That's what the RCC has helped us do."

The 167th TSC and RCC have coordinated the reception of every asset which came to JB MDL to assist in the relief effort which, in turn, have helped a countless number of people. This is in no small part thanks to the people working at the RCC and 167th.

"The best feeling in the world right now is to watch the news and see a convoy that recently left JB MDL rolling through Manhattan," said Scaccia. "You say to yourself, 'they were just here and my team made sure they were able to get the assistance they need to do their job."

Dover's port dawgs head downrange

by Airman 1st Class Samuel Taylor
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/6/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Twenty Port Dawgs from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron completed Combat Airman Skills Training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Oct. 26 in preparation for a deployment.

The 10-day course teaches Airmen how to navigate unfamiliar terrain, perform life-saving techniques while under fire, engage enemy targets, operate tactical vehicles, detect roadside bombs and survive in hostile conditions. Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Spain, air freight superintendant with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, said the training did more than that.

"[CAST] increases one's ability to critically think and adapt under pressure," said Spain. "It brought us together as a team too. We ate breakfast and dinner as a team, and really got to know one another."

During the training the Port Dawgs endured simulated bullets, bombs and attacks, and some very real action. Brooklyn, N.Y., native Tech. Sgt. William Lonergan, NCO in charge of CAST, said that is the goal of the course.

"This course is designed to give Airmen the basic skills they may need on a deployment, so that if they have a bad day, they know how to keep it from becoming a worse day," said Lonergan.

These skills were put to the test when the Port Dawgs tackled the field training exercise, the culminating event of CAST, where the techniques taught in classroom settings days prior were put into application.

Hopefully, the tools the Port Dawgs gained from CAST will never have to leave the toolbox, but the point is they are there, said Lonergan.

"Though I hope these Airmen never have to use the skills they learn here, the truth is that some will - we make sure they are ready," he said. "The training is challenging - we train to objective, not to time - but the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war."

JB MDL hosts engineers clearing flood waters

by U.S. Air Force Capt. Sybil Taunton
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center public affairs

11/6/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.  -- A team of nearly 50 Air Force civil engineers from duty locations across the country pulled together to form the 331st Air Expeditionary Group this week, to pump flood waters affecting New York coastal communities following Hurricane Sandy.

The 331st AEG assembled here Saturday, with engineers from Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Joint Base Andrews, Md.; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; and Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; led by a command team from Nellis AFB, Nev. The team received additional equipment contributed by Offutt AFB, Neb., and Holloman AFB, N.M. and staged out of JB MDL facilities to support relief operations.

"The whole Joint Base MDL community has been extremely responsive and helpful in facilitating our support mission currently taking place in the New York City area where flood waters have devastated communities," said Col. Darren Bishop, 331st AEG commander and the 99th Mission Support Group commander from Nellis AFB. "The Resource Control Center equipped us with extra cots and sleeping bags for forward deployment, the 305th Air Mobility Wing gave us hangar space to stage assets, the87th Civil Engineer Squadron gave us trailer hitches and fixed office heat for us, the Logistics Readiness Squadron cut emergency fuel keys for us, and the list goes on and on."

According to Bishop, the 331st AEG is part of a joint service mission supplying forces to "Task Force Pump" to ensure Department of Defense pumping assets are pooled and utilized effectively and efficiently to support relief efforts. The task force has partnered with the New York Fire Department to determine the priority in which locations should receive pumping support to remove flood waters from critical areas.

"This team is a combination of Red Horse and Prime BEEF engineers from several locations, and we were all eager to respond and help out in any way we can to provide relief to these communities that have lost so much during this disaster," said Capt. Eric Rosenlof, Officer in Charge of the 331st AEG engineers sent to Fort Hamilton, N.Y., originally assigned to the 823rd Red Horse Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Fla.

The 331st AEG split up into several teams in order to provide pump support in various locations at once. The first team arrived at the Rockaway, N.Y., Wastewater Treatment Facility and learned quickly how important their mission was going to be.

"We were told that we need to help clear water from one tank to another so that each tank can be cleaned of sludge and debris, one at a time," said Staff Sgt. Paul Clayborn, originally of the 823rd Red Horse Squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fla. "Each of the four tanks being cleared holds 500,000 gallons of water and blockages in these tanks forces sewage water back into the bay, so we need to help get them cleared out as soon as possible."

Another team removed water from a parking lot down the road in Rockaway, then made their way to Breezy Point to help families clear flood waters from their homes.

"Breezy Point is one of many hard hit areas and is still without power and water as most of the homes are badly damaged or destroyed," said Master Sgt. Steven Rector, team lead originally of the 366th CES from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. "Our team helped local residents pump out driveways and submerged areas so residents could salvage and recover personal property."

Eleven miles away, the next team arrived in Coney Island to pump water from basements ravaged by the storm, while a fourth team cleared water from a parking garage in Brooklyn.

"Local residents have tried for the last week to pump the parking garage out with little success," said Tech.l Sgt. James Duhon, team lead originally of the 633rd CES from JBLE, Va. "Our team had it pumped half way down in the first couple hours before identifying a water main break inside the garage keeping it from being emptied. The water break was isolated and shut-off and pumping operations resumed. By late afternoon the basement parking garage was drained and our task was completed."

After the first day of pumping operations, with more to be done, a timeline for how long these efforts will continue is unclear.

"I can't offer a forecast as to how long the 331st AEG will be here," Bishop said. "But I can tell you that we are honored to be doing this mission and will stay as long as we can to support relief operations."

Pentagon Ceremony Marks Marine Corps’ 237th Birthday

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2012 – As the U.S. Marine Corps approaches its 237th birthday Nov. 10, military officials gathered at the Pentagon today to enjoy a slice of both the service’s storied history and its ceremonial cake.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were on hand, along with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos.

An excerpt of the annual birthday message written in 1921 by Gen. John A. Lejeune, the service’s 13th commandant, reads, “Generation after generation of Marines have grown grey in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas so that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.”
Amos explained the message’s enduring relevance.

“One of the things we really never … want to atrophy is our history in the minds and hearts and souls of everybody that wears the eagle, globe and anchor,” Amos said.

In August, Amos said, he and his wife visited Guadalcanal, site of the 1942-1943 campaign that marked the first major offensive in World War II’s Pacific theater.

“That was a spiritual experience for us, and we were mindful of all those 1,300 Marines that give their lives there,” Amos said of wading into the waters there.

The general noted that 70 years earlier, on Nov. 10, the Marines engaged at Guadalcanal had been fully involved in battle since Aug. 7, and many could not pause to celebrate the Corps’ birthday.

“They were staying proactive, working to improve their defense, resetting their heavy weapons and patrolling,” Amos said.

He read the account of a young Marine from George Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, who said a noncommissioned officer at Guadalcanal did manage to read Lejeune’s birthday message to some platoons, while cooks prepared a cake from rice flour for the birthday celebration.

“As each man went through the chow line, besides a thin slice of Spam with a hard biscuit, we all received a thin portion of cake,” Amos quoted from the Marine’s account.

The 28th Marine Corps commandant, retired Gen. P.X. Kelley, described during today’s ceremony how his experiences in Vietnam and the loss of his father in World War II still inspire his frequent visits to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial here. He imparted advice to spectators.

“Go at night,” he said. “That’s where you see the real hard-core people with their hand on a name or a bended knee, there for hour after hour.”

Kelley, who will celebrate his 84th birthday Nov. 11, then partook in the traditional cake-cutting ceremony by sharing a piece with the youngest Marine in attendance, Lance Cpl. Alexandria Smith, from Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Barracks Washington, who was born Nov. 12, 1993.

Iron Chef visits Kadena

by Airman 1st Class Hailey Davis
18th Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The world famous Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto visited the 18th Wing for a few days, where he demonstrated how to prepare sushi and sashimi dishes, met service members and their families and even helped judge the final round of Kadena's cooking competition.

"It was exciting to see him and to watch him work," said Jamie Scearcy, an audience member at the Rocker who won a raffle to meet Morimoto. "He's very skillful and funny."

The NCO Rocker Club was one of the first places to host one of Morimoto's live demonstrations that included cutting an 80 pound yellow-fin tuna into fillets that would then be used in sushi rolls for the audience.

This was Morimoto's first ever visit to a U.S. military installation and he said he was very impressed with the people at Kadena.

Team Kadena was excited to see him as well. Hundreds of people stood in line to get autographs and photos during his meet and greet at the Kadena Base Exchange.

"You don't ever think you'll be able to go up and shake his hand," Scearcy said. "He's very kind, humble and personable."

The Iron Chef was also very impressed with Kadena's dining facilities and kitchens, such as the Emery Lanes Bowling Complex.

During one of his demonstrations he even added a shrimp tempura dish to Emery Lanes menu and worked with 18th Force Support Squadron chefs.

"I was supposed to do a regular demo of sushi and sashimi, but most of the people were Japanese chefs, and they weren't interested in sashimi; so I changed the game plan. I did Iron Chef (presentations)," Morimoto said.

"When I was little I had two dreams, one was about baseball and one was a chef," Morimoto said. "Unfortunately I had to give up baseball because of a shoulder injury, so I decided for myself I was going to be a chef."

He explained how his family would go out to a restaurant every few months and how the sushi chef inspired him and made him want to be just like them.

"The sushi man was very cool, white hat and white jacket," Morimoto described. "The movements were very cool, and I wanted to be a chef ever since I was very little. Also, I like to eat."

Morimoto began his career as a chef right after he graduated high school.

"I started this job when I was 18 years old," explained the Iron Chef. "I've been doing this for 37 years, and I'm still running."

Morimoto said that despite the difficulties of becoming a chef, he loves what he does and that people have to love what they do if they want to pursue their dreams.

"Becoming a chef is not hard but also not easy," the Iron Chef said. "You have to love to cook all the time, and you can't be afraid to touch anything or to try many different styles."

From coast to coast, the Contingency Response Wing answers Sandy's call

by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
621st Contingency Response Wing

11/7/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The mobility Airmen in the 621st Contingency Response Wing are no strangers to the chaos of a disaster area, nor the destruction of a flood; it is the siren song of their role as Air Mobility Command's 9-1-1 force.

But when Hurricane Sandy came to the New Jersey Shore Oct. 29, it brought that peril to their own homes. The specialized air mobility rapid-response unit was faced with the challenge of both helping others and preparing themselves.

The CRW is like no other wing in the Air Force, explained Col. Marty Chapin, 621st commander. It consists of small teams of highly trained Airmen who specialize in deploying to remote or disaster-stricken areas and establishing air mobility operating locations to accept cargo, process passengers, or operate air mobility planning cells. It provides its own security, communication, lodging and power and is able to operate without any additional resupply for up to five days. It has groups split evenly between Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in central New Jersey, and Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

"When it became clear Sandy would threaten our East Coast operations, our first priority was to ensure the continued readiness of our United States Transportation Command Joint Task Force - Port Opening alert team," explained Chapin. "The JTF-PO alert was currently held by the 818th Contingency Response Group here at JB-MDL. If they were unable to respond, it could have degraded the Air Force's ability to respond to the hurricane or other contingency requirements."

With forces on both coasts, CRW, 18th Air Force, Air Mobility Command and U.S. Transportation Command quickly worked together to create a plan that addressed both the safety and security of the CRW mission.

The majority of the CRW on the east coast needed to take shelter and prepare for the approaching storm. Meanwhile, the Travis AFB-based 571st Contingency Response Group quickly assumed the duties of the JTF-PO alert force that was unable to reposition itself.

With the majority of the JTF-PO alert now taken up by teams at Travis, a smaller Contingency Response Element of 65 Airmen with critical skills evacuated with some of the last C-17 Globemaster IIIs out of JB MDL.

They waited in Tampa, Fla. while their coworkers on the East Coast battened the hatches and prepared for the worst.

"We planned to return as soon as JB-MDL was able to launch us into the fight anywhere in the world," said Lt. Col Shawn Underwood, 818th CRE commander. "But as we watched live reports of flooded homes and neighborhoods on fire, we became keenly aware the next mission could very well be in New Jersey."

As reports of the destruction began coming in from areas as close as thirty miles from JB-MDL, it became obvious the CRW was the right unit, in the right place, at the very worst time for the people of New Jersey.

From both coasts, Airmen in the CRW switched gears and prepared to immediately deploy and assist with the relief efforts.

"The 570th Contingency Response Group had recently returned from a major exercise at Fort Polk, La.," explained Col. Darren Sprunk, 570th CRG commander. "Our Airmen teamed with our 615th Global Support Squadron members to work around the clock to inspect and repack a huge amount of equipment as returned from the field. Thanks to the tireless efforts of all involved, we were able to quickly stand up response teams to augment the nation's response."

It was clear there was work to be done, explained Chapin, the next question was where they would need to employ CRW expertise.

"At our core, what the CRW does best is move large amounts of critical cargo into or out of locations that may have the real estate, but don't have the capability or capacity to handle it," he said. "We are trained and equipped to establish a cargo reception, processing and loading facility on an established ramp anywhere in the world within hours of notification."

And the calls did come. Immediately after the passing of hurricane Sandy, two 621st teams from Travis AFB deployed as part of a National Power Generation Task Force to March AFB, Calif. and Phoenix, Ariz. Their mission was to load relief supplies and generators onto AMC aircraft for urgent flights to the east coast.

The Phoenix-based team plans to move to airfields in Texas and then Louisiana as the staged stock of generators in each location is exhausted.

Tanker and airlift planners from the 615th Air Mobility Operations Squadron at Travis AFB also deployed to support Northern Command planning operations at Peterson AFB, Colo.

A ten-man crew of aerial transportation specialists deployed with cargo handling equipment from the 817th CRG at JB MDL to JFK Airport in New York City. They are beefing-up cargo offloading operations at JFK in the face of a massive influx of relief supplies and emergency equipment.

"It is remarkable how the versatile, mobility Airmen of the CRW were ready to answer the call and move to multiple locations just hours after Sandy made landfall," said Chapin. "I am proud of every single member of the CRW family for all of their hard work and dedication. They truly represent the best the Air Force has to offer in a crisis like this."

Air Force leaders issue Veterans Day message

11/8/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy send the following Veterans Day message to the Airmen of the U.S. Air Force:

"Our Air Force's success is founded in the sacrifice of generations who served before. This Veterans Day, we honor and thank more than 22 million American veterans, including four million veterans of the United States Air Force.

"Every veteran, past and present, has a story. Some served in wartime, others during moments of peace; many were volunteers, others were called; some served a matter of days, while others gave their life's work to the profession of arms. All deserve our deepest gratitude.

"The men and women of our Armed Forces fought for and some gave their lives to secure the freedoms we enjoy today. For their sacrifice in service to America, our Nation owes a debt of appreciation that can never be repaid. Our veterans' families also deserve our collective thanks -- their support makes the service of their loved ones possible, and their presence strengthens every man and woman in uniform.

"Standing on the shoulders of veterans past, today's Airmen -- YOU -- continue to reach beyond what was once thought possible to discover and employ innovative airpower solutions for America. Every day you answer the Nation's call, whether in the skies or combat theaters abroad, in space or cyberspace, on the ground delivering relief and hope to families in need, or here at home protecting America's airspace. Your continued commitment to defend and preserve the cause of freedom will ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the liberties we cherish today.

"For all you have given to America and to its great Air Force, and for your service yet to come, you have earned our Nation's thanks. On this Veterans Day, take time to thank those in your families, communities and workplaces who have served America and defended her ideals."