Monday, November 19, 2012

Panetta Praises Outgoing, Incoming Southcom Commanders

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

MIAMI, Nov. 19, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta commended the lasting accomplishments of the former commander of U.S. Southern Command today and welcomed a new, but familiar, officer to lead the combatant command here.

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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Air Force Gen. William Fraser III applaud Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly after he took command of U.S. Southern Command during a ceremony in Miami, Fla., Nov 19, 2012. Kelly took over the command from Fraser. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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Panetta presided over the Southcom ceremony as Air Force Gen. Douglas M. Fraser retired, relinquished his command to Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly.
“This afternoon, we pay tribute to two very extraordinary officers, to their families, and to the service members and civilians that they have led,” Panetta said. “We celebrate General Fraser’s nearly four decades of selfless service to our country, his strong leadership in a number of key positions, and his many lasting accomplishments as Southcom commander.”

The secretary highlighted some of Fraser's early years as he came “full circle” from high school where he, fittingly, graduated in Bogota, Colombia, to his rise to SOUTHCOM commander as the last active-duty member of his Air Force Academy class of 1975.

“Thanks to his extraordinary record of accomplishment, Doug was an excellent pick to be the first-ever U.S. Air Force officer to lead this command,” Panetta said.

“Shortly after taking command, General Fraser was faced with one of the most significant operational challenges that SOUTHCOM has ever faced when it had to face the devastating earthquake in Haiti,” he said.

The secretary described Fraser's “immediate” actions leading Southcom's disaster relief efforts during Operation Unified Response, “the largest humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission this command has ever undertaken.”

“In total, Southcom delivered 2.3 million meals, 17 million pounds of bulk food, 2.6 million bottles of water, [and] 150,000 pounds of medical supplies, among many, many other services,” Panetta said.

The defense secretary noted the devastation caused by Haiti's earthquake “underscores the fact that the key security challenges in this hemisphere are … transnational.”

“Natural disasters, sometimes horrendous, in their impact on people and their countries, illicit trafficking, organized crime, narco-terrorism, the threats to security in the Americas are not contained by political boundaries,” he said.

One of General Fraser’s most significant and enduring contributions, Panetta said, has been rallying support across the U.S. government in order to focus more attention on Central America as it confronts illicit drug trafficking.

“[This command] has helped galvanize U.S. and Western Hemisphere support for enhanced engagement in this region,” he said. “We’ve made significant progress in partnering with the militaries of Central American nations, and they are now taking greater responsibility for their own security.”
Panetta also noted that Fraser's efforts with Southcom’s Joint Interagency Task Force South brought interagency and international cooperation to new levels, with Operation “Martillo” taking “152 metric tons of cocaine – worth almost $3 billion – off the market” in 2012.

“All of these accomplishments are the direct result of Doug's steady, but sure, leadership,” he said. “I want to [personally] thank everyone at SOUTHCOM for all you do to keep America safe.”
Panetta also welcomed another “dedicated” leader to assume Fraser's position leading SOUTHCOM – Kelly, Panetta’s own former Pentagon staff member.

“He's been my senior military assistant since I came to the Pentagon last year,” he said. “He’s always been at my side as a trusted confidant and a trusted friend.”

“More than anyone, he has ensured that the daily reality of those serving on the front lines informs and guides every decision that I've made,” Panetta said. “I could not have done my job without his judgment and blunt, honest counsel.”

The defense secretary called Kelly “the true embodiment of a warrior” and said he felt honored to promote the officer to four-star general prior to the change of command ceremony.

“I will be eternally grateful to him, and to be honest, while I will miss him, he will be a great commander here at Southcom,” Panetta said. “I, very much, look forward to relying on his perspective and forthright advice as he leads our military efforts in this region.”

Panetta used an “old Air Force metaphor” as he expressed his confidence in Kelly as Southcom's new commander.

“The Frasers have taken this command to a higher altitude and, with today’s change of command, I’m confident that, in [the]extraordinarily capable hands of John Kelly, it will soar even higher in the future,” he said.

Kadena's Airman shines during Tops in Blue

by Staff Sgt. Laszlo Babocsi
18th Wing Public Affairs

11/19/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- As the premiere U.S. Air Force entertainment group, Tops in Blue, performs for service members stationed around the world, they bring music, dance and just good old American spirit, but for this trip to Kadena, they brought something a little extra.

The group brought home one of Kadena's very own, Airman 1st Class Wynton Warren, who worked as a cyber systems operations journeyman with the 18th Communication Squadron for two years before becoming a Tops in Blue cast member.

Warren and his cast mates put on three shows at Kadena, Nov. 16 - 18 at the Keystone Theater.

"Landing at the terminal it was like flying into home," said Warren, an alto saxophone player with Tops in Blue.

"I really missed this place," he said, as he continued to explain how many things brought back memories like seeing familiar things or turning down certain roads.

Most artists never really know their crowds, but for Warren being at his home away from home this show means a little more as a musician.

"It's a little different playing here," Warren said. "When I was in the desert, a few of my friends were deployed there so I had people I knew in the audience, and I knew their lives. So it becomes more personal and more emotional for me, to be able to put a smile on their face."

When Warren was younger, he said listening to his mother play the saxophone around the house is what inspired him to play music. At age 9, when it was time to try out for band, his mother urged him to try out to be a sax player, and since then he said he has "loved every moment of it""

As life progressed, Warren came to a crossroad, college or the military.

"When I was in high school, I was either going to go to college or join the military," Warren explained. "The three things I really wanted though, was to go to college, travel the world and play the saxophone."

Warren's father, who serves in the U.S. Army, told him the Air Force could give the chance to do all three. So Warren's choice then became very easy.

Though Warren wasn't selected for the Air Force Band, he showed dedication to his mission in the 18th CS.

"I only worked with Airman Warren for two months before he left, but I realized the potential he showed on tasks and projects he's assigned," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Riggs, 18th CS Non-Commissioned Officer in-charge of client health. "His work ethic is relentless, he did not settle for mediocrity. The mission came first as he spent many long hours ensuring attention to detail."

Last year a door opened up for Warren to play the saxophone while staying on active duty, that opportunity was Tops in Blue.

"The best part of Tops in Blue is that we get to do what we love, be it singing, dancing or playing our instruments," Warren said. "That is what really drove it home for me to try out, the ability to play on stage."

This chance wasn't just given to Warren. Not only has he practiced playing the saxophone for 11 years, he also had to try out and compete against Airmen from around the Air Force for a coveted spot in Tops in Blue.

All that work, time and dedication paid off. The show ended as a success, and Warren's friends and fellow service members said they enjoyed the production.

"It was absolutely exciting to see him play," Riggs said. "He is making the team proud."

With the tour ending in February, Warren will return to his career field, but said he will always have the memories of performing all around the world to the sounds of applause and cheers.

Dempsey Praises Old, New Southern Command Commanders

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 – In presiding at the change of command ceremony at U.S. Southern Command in Miami, today, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said he thought of the words he saw on a monument at the Antietam battlefield, ““Not for themselves, but for their country.”

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Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. William Fraser III, center, and Marine Gen. John Kelly salute during the national anthem at the Southern Command Change of Command in Miami, Nov 19, 2012. Kelly is the incoming commander and Fraser is the outgoing. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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Antietam was the bloodiest day of the American Civil War. On September 17, 1862, more than 23,000 Americans became casualties.
“What you see here today is that spirit played out yet again,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. “Where two great military leaders have given their lives … as families for this country. ‘Not for themselves, but for their country.’”

Dempsey presided at the change of command that saw Marine Gen. John Kelly assume command from Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser. He praised both men and their families for their willingness to serve.

Southern Command is a true partnership among American agencies and with international partners, Dempsey said, thanking the international partners who attended the ceremony. He also thanked the interagency partners who are integral parts of the command.

Building trust was a large part of the chairman’s speech at the ceremony. He said one reason Fraser traveled so much during his command was “because he knows the importance of building trust,” Dempsey said. “He understands that trust is how we turn relationships into partnerships, and how we turn partnerships into friendships.”

 Fraser has built an impressive interagency team at Southern Command, Dempsey said.

“It reflects the reality of our complex world,” he said. “Tragedies like the earthquake in Haiti, or challenges like illicit trafficking, all require us to collaborate in new ways and with new partners.”
Fraser has shown what can happen when organizations break down barriers between them and build on the strengths of each organization, the chairman said.

Demspey said Kelly is the right man to succeed Fraser at Southern Command. Kelly, who was promoted to full general just before the ceremony, served as the senior military advisor to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

“He’s direct and tough,” Dempsey said. “He’s a thinker and a learner, and one of the most experienced leaders we have in the military today.”

Kelly is well placed to get the friends and neighbors of the region working together to solve common problems. The general will have a full plate with transnational crime, terrorism, natural disasters, and many other challenges awaiting him, Dempsey said.

“Achieving together as friends and neighbors is what SouthCom is all about,” he said.

First combat ready HC-130J arrives at D-M

by Senior Airman Michael Washburn
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/19/2012 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Making its Air Force debut, the first combat ready HC-130J Combat King II touched down on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 15.

The new plane was welcomed by a formation of 21 Airmen who, upon arrival of the HC-130J, rendered salutes, and a crowd waiting for the induction ceremony for the aircraft. The advanced HC-130J is specifically designed for the use of combat search and rescue missions.

Davis-Monthan was honored to receive the very first combat ready J model, as this marks a significant milestone in the rescue and Air Force community.

"This aircraft means enhanced survivability for our HH-60s and our guardian angels," said Col. Jason Hanover, 563rd Rescue Group commander, while addressing the crowd on the implementation and advantages of the HC-130J. "It means enhanced effectiveness and speed when getting to our isolated personnel when providing lifesaving medical care and support. It is a C-130 variant, but the differences make it an entirely different aircraft. I wish we could give it a different number because it is so radically advanced."

The upgrades present on the HC-130J that make it so advanced include improved navigation, threat detection and countermeasures systems. The aircraft fleet has a fully-integrated inertial navigation and global positioning system, and interior and exterior lighting that are compatible with night vision goggles. It also has forward-looking infrared, radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers, satellite and data-burst communications, and the ability to receive fuel inflight via a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation.

The HC-130J replaces the HC-130P model that the 79th Rescue Squadron currently uses.

"This aircraft allows us to update our personal rescue force," said Staff Sgt. Derek Ruud, 923rd AMXS crew chief. "We'll have better capabilities which will allow us to get our mission done quicker and more effectively."

With D-M receiving the new HC-130Js, the mission ability of the 79th RQS will improve.

"We'll be able to deploy anytime, anywhere and provide 24-hour coverage," Ruud said. "The C-130s we had before were from the 1960s, so we would have problems with them breaking. We won't have that issue now. We'll be able to launch the aircraft quicker."

NDU Honors Special Operations Community

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

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 – During a dinner gala here Nov. 15, the National Defense University Foundation honored members of U.S. Special Operations Command for their service and sacrifice in the war against terrorism.

The American Patriot Award, according to the NDU foundation, recognizes exceptional Americans who have demonstrated a profound and abiding love of country. The award also honors those who have provided inspirational leadership and selfless dedication to national security and world peace, significantly advancing national ideals, values and democratic principles.

Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of Socom, accepted the 2012 award on behalf of the men and women he leads, as his unit celebrates its 25th birthday. The command was established by an act of U.S. Congress in 1987.

“What an honor it is to be here this evening representing the men and women of the special operations force,” he said, before introducing each service's top officer and enlisted leader.

“These men represent the 66,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that make up the U.S. Special Operations Command,” McRaven said.

The admiral also acknowledged former Socom commander, Army Gen. Bryan “Doug” Brown, as well as five recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross, five Navy Cross recipients and one Air Force Cross recipient as “modern-day SOF heroes.”

“In addition to these men, since 9/11, SOF warriors have been the recipients of another 10 service crosses and four Medals of Honor, including Ranger [Army] Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and three posthumous awards, to Green Beret [Army] Staff Sgt. Rob Miller and [Navy] SEALs Mike Murphy and Mike Monsoor,” McRaven said.

The SOCOM commander noted the years since 9/11 have highlighted the “unique nature” of special operations, citing events ranging from the capture of Saddam Hussein to current efforts of troops assisting Afghan Local Police.

“From the jungles of the Philippines and Colombia, to the mountains of Yemen, to the deserts of North Africa, to waters off Somalia,” McRaven said, “our special operations forces have been instrumental in protecting American lives abroad and keeping violence from our shores.”

“These operations have captured the imagination of the American public and the attention of the world,” he said.

A theme throughout McRaven's remarks was a question he said he's often asked: “What makes special operations so special?”

“Well I can tell you that, as good as they are, the men and women of special operations are no more courageous, no more patriotic, no smarter or no more committed than any other man or woman in uniform,” he said.

“All of us who have served have been inspired by the uncommon valor of Medal of Honor recipients Sal Giunta, of the U.S. Army, and Marine Staff Sgt. Dakota Meyer,” McRaven said. “We are all moved by the young men and women of all the services who re-enlist at a time when the fighting is the toughest and their sacrifice the greatest.”

The admiral also credited young service members who are “wickedly smart” for their skills and technical abilities.

“We are the sum of the parts of the greatest military the world has ever seen,” McRaven said. “As SOF warriors, we are shaped by our services, forged in the crucibles of training posts like Parris Island, the Great Lakes, Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Benning.”

“It is from the services that we gain our heritage, our tradition, our creeds,” he said. “It is from the long lineage of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that came before us that drive our sense of duty.”
McRaven said special operations forces are a “microcosm of America,” drawing strength from every corner of the United States and the world.

“Not only do we benefit from the strength of our parent services, but we are blessed to be part of a larger interagency organization,” he said, citing the State Department, Central Intelligence Agency and others.
“We have achieved a unity of purpose -- an action that is unparalleled in the history of warfare,” McRaven said.

“So what is it that makes special operations so special?” McRaven asked again. “It is men and women who are steeped in the heritage of their service, bonded by a common purpose, inspired by the nation and who are willing to fight and die for the American people that they love so much.”

Jill Biden Sponsors New Attack Sub USS Delaware

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 – Wherever the USS Delaware goes after she is launched in 2018, a “piece of my heart will go with her,” said Dr. Jill Biden, who will sponsor the Navy’s newest Virginia-class fast-attack submarine.

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The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS California is photographed during sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean, June 30, 2011. The Navy’s newest submarine, USS Delaware, will be the same class as the California. U.S. Navy photo by Chris Oxley

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Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden and a native of Delaware, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the name of the nuclear-powered submarine during a ceremony at the Pentagon today.

“I am honored to sponsor the USS Delaware,” Biden said. “One of the best parts of serving as second lady is the chance to meet so many members of our military. I am always inspired by their strength and resilience. No matter what challenges they face, our men and women in uniform serve with courage and distinction. They are the reason we have the best, most-powerful military in the world.

“It’s our duty to make sure they have everything they need to stay safe and do their jobs,” she continued. “They need the very best equipment and technology that we can provide them with and soon that will include the USS Delaware.”
Delaware’s Sen. Tom Carper and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn also attended the ceremony announcing the submarine’s name.

Vice President Joe Biden also attended the ceremony and donned a blue ball cap bearing the name of the submarine.

This is the seventh U.S. Navy ship named Delaware, Mabus said. The last USS Delaware was a coal-burning dreadnought that was decommissioned in 1923. The newest Delaware is designed to handle traditional submarine missions -- finding and sinking enemy submarines and surface ships and launching missiles at targets on land, the secretary said.

“But, Delaware will have some non-traditional capabilities as well -- gathering intelligence and delivering Navy SEALs, undetected, to their missions,” he added.

Construction of the USS Delaware will begin next year and will be shared by two shipyards -- Huntington Ingalls in Virginia and General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut.

The submarine is designed to operate decades, Mabus said.

“There will be sailors who serve on Delaware who are not yet born,” he added.

CSAF addresses Airmen

by Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff

11/19/2012 - WASHINGTON -- To the Airmen of the United States Air Force,

November is a proud month! Betty and I stood at the Tomb of the Unknown on Veterans Day as President Obama laid a wreath honoring not just our Fallen, but all our Nation's veterans, for everything they (and you) have done to defend American citizens and interests for the past 236 years. During the week before that ceremony, the spirit of the citizen-Airman was on display in grand scale as your Air Force carried hope and comfort to thousands of citizens affected by Hurricane Sandy. C-5s and C-17s carried utility trucks, cherry-pickers, and thousands of blankets from places like California and Arizona to New York and New Jersey. Air Force civil engineers, personnel recovery specialists, medical professionals, firefighters, and many others from Active Duty, the Air National Guard and Air Reserve Bases converged on the affected area to rescue over 250 storm victims. Working beside many other great organizations, the Air Force family answered our Nation's call during a time of need. Seeing President Obama holding a picture of an Air Mobility Command C-5 downloading a utility truck and thanking Defense Secretary Panetta is great stuff! We're all part of something bigger...I hope you're as proud of who you are and what you do, as I am of you.

It's been a humbling experience to serve as your Chief these first three months. But I've been surprised by some of the issues that have required the most attention. First and foremost, dealing with the intolerable number of sexual assaults and unprofessional relationships has been both time-consuming and heart-breaking. The Air Force succeeds because of the professionalism and discipline of our Airmen. Sexual assault undermines that professionalism and discipline, harming not only the individuals involved, but also their unit, their mission, and our Service. When a fellow Airmen is sexually assaulted, it is devastating. It destroys trust. It demoralizes families. And we're doing it to ourselves. We MUST do more to protect one another from this crime by reporting unprofessional relationships, strengthening our support of victims, and making a culture of trust and respect a reality for everyone in our Air Force. I need your help...please take care of each other.

Betty and I hit the road later today to visit some of the 36,000 Airmen who do the Nation's nuclear deterrent mission each and every day. We can't wait to meet em! F.E. Warren, Malmstrom and Minot are just the beginning--we'll get to all of you as soon as we can. I just wish we could visit every base every week...although you might think that's not such a great idea!

These first three months have been a whirlwind. Thank you for the overwhelming expressions of support you've given to me and Betty. Everywhere we travel, you welcome us as one of your own. This is just an incredible Air Force family! During this month of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you and your family for your service, your sacrifice, and your incredible dedication to the profession of arms. I'm incredibly proud to be an American Airman, not because of the cool toys, but because I have the honor of standing next to you.

Face of Defense: Marine Donates Bone Marrow for Stranger

By Marine Corps Pfc. Kasey Peacock
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 19, 2012 – In the midst of recruit training, Pvt. Enrique Gallardo was given a form to sign in January of 2010 -- a form that, while similar in appearance to countless others that had passed in front of Gallardo, would be very significant in the Marine's future.

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Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Enrique Gallardo sets up a communication interface system at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 6, 2012. In May, Gallardo flew to San Diego to donate bone marrow to a woman suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Gallardo volunteered to be a donor during recruit training and was contacted as a potential match two years later. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Kasey Peacock

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By checking a box on this form, Gallardo elected to be a potential bone marrow donor, setting events into motion that would possibly save the life of a complete stranger.

Two years later, Lance Cpl. Gallardo, an aviation systems radio technician with Marine Air Support Squadron 2, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, received an email stating he was a potential bone marrow match for a 23-year-old female patient in need of a transplant.

The patient, whose identity remains anonymous to the donor until one year after the procedure is completed, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a fast-growing cancer affecting white blood cells.

"When they contacted me, I had forgotten that I chose to be a potential donor," Gallardo said. "I have always lived by the idea that if you can help out someone in need, you should. If the temporary pain I [had] to endure during the process could prevent someone from a lifetime of pain, it was worth it."

After further testing confirmed Gallardo was a match for the patient, he received approval to continue with the procedure in either California or New York.

"I chose San Diego because I'm from Los Angeles and my parents and wife were able to meet up with me during the procedure," Gallardo said. "Their support definitely helped me through the process because they were behind my decision to help someone in need."

The procedure, known as a peripheral blood stem cell donation, began the day after Gallardo arrived at the hospital. The first phase of the procedure consists of a five-day series of shots designed to expand the bone marrow in the donor's body to assist with its withdrawal.

"The first two days of the injections, I remember feeling a minor headache with a few aches and pains in my hips," Gallardo said. "By the fourth and fifth day, I could feel extreme pain throughout my body."

Gallardo was ready for the marrow extraction a few hours after the fifth injection. His blood was removed through a hypodermic needle in one arm and passed through a machine to separate out blood stem cells. The remaining blood, minus the stem cells, was returned to Gallardo through the other arm.

"Throughout the process, I would think about what my staff sergeant told me back when I was contemplating carrying on with the process," Gallardo said. "It was a morning after we had just run a [physical] fitness test. I was bent over feeling a little tired and she came up to me and [asked if I was] in pain. I said that I was and she responded that whoever is in need of this procedure probably wishes they could run a PFT to feel that pain in their legs."

After the procedure, Gallardo was cleared to leave the hospital and took leave to spend time with his family and recover.

"I did my best to be there for him for whatever he needed," said Vannia Gallardo, Enrique's wife. "Even though he never complained about the side effects from the shots, I could see that he was going through some pain. When the day of the donation arrived, we were a little nervous, but the hospital personnel took very good care of him. After lying on the hospital bed with [intravenous fluids] in him for more than four hours, we were relieved to be told everything went well."

Following his leave, Gallardo was back into the swing of things, carrying out his daily duties with no issues.
"I was impressed that, without hesitation, Gallardo was willing to help someone he didn't even know who was in an extreme situation," said Sgt. Eric J. Hansen, an aviation systems radio technician with MASS-2. "As Marines, we are expected to go above and beyond what is expected in everything we do. Gallardo showed that with his selfless sacrifice."

While Gallardo continues on in his Marine Corps career, he says he eagerly awaits the day he will get an update on the condition of the recipient of his donation, hoping he was able to make a difference in her life.

Niagara students pen letters from home for deployed Airmen

by Master Sgt. Kevin Nichols
914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/16/2012 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Students in Mary Graber's Niagara Wheatfield Senior High School classroom wrote letters of appreciation and encouragement to a local serviceman who will be away from home this Thanksgiving.

The students and their teacher along with Katie Orr, school intern, created a dozen hand written letters.  These letters were addressed to Tech. Sgt. Joe, an Airman from the 914th Airlift Wing, who is currently deployed to Djibouti, Africa.

These caring students decided as a group to write a serviceman and show their gratitude for protecting our country through their letters.

Two members from the 914th visited the classroom November 15 to accept the letters and forward to Tech. Sgt. Joe and also to answer questions from the students.

Thousands turn out for Kadena Special Olympics

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

11/19/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Thousands of volunteers, supporters and special-needs athletes and artists from all over Japan, came to Kadena's Risner Fitness Center, Nov. 17 to participate in or support the 13th annual Kadena Special Olympics.

"This is an opportunity for the two communities to meet in joint service to the athletes and build a brother and sister hood like the ancient Okinawa proverb that says 'once we meet we are brothers and sisters forever'," said Brig. Gen. Matt Molloy, 18th Wing commander.

The start of the events kicked off with an opening ceremony where the commander and other distinguished guests including a representative from the Okinawa Prefectural Government gave words of encouragement to the athletes.

One mother of a repeat athlete said even though this is her second time coming to KSO, her son, Keni Maeshiro, is excited to participate in the events and even wakes up earlier than normal to get ready.

With the opening ceremony complete, the athletes were able to explore the field with their 'hugger' and compete in their respected events.

'Huggers' are service members from around the base who volunteered to help and encourage special-needs athletes both young and old from Okinawa and the United States throughout the event.

Even though it began to rain, the Olympians kept high spirits and continued to compete in their various events such as, softball, hockey, basketball, and track and field.

Kadena Special Olympics began in 2000 with approximately 400 athletes and 600 volunteers as an 18th Wing community goodwill initiative to strengthen U.S. - Okinawa relationships. After 13 years, the event has more than tripled in size and participation and even caught the attention of Dave Lenox, vice president of leadership development and education for the Special Olympics.

"(The KSO) is a really unique model," said Lenox, who traveled to Okinawa to check out the KSO in person. "It's community building at its core, and that's something that the rest of the Special Olympics is just now beginning to make as a priority. That's why I'm here, because it's one of the models we really want to try and replicate around the world."

Kadena Special Olympics brings the Okinawan and military communities together, said Lenox. It helps to build both communities by working together for a common goal: the experience of the athletes.

While the commander presented medals to the athletes and visited events, he said this is not a Kadena thing; this is an Okinawa service thing, and everyone was charged to help.

"This was an opportunity for us to open the gates and send out an invitation of celebration to the local community," Molloy said.

You and your wingman matter...a lot!

by Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward
Air Force Safety Center

11/19/2012 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- As we approach year-end, I invite every force, civilian and Air Force consider the extraordinary accomplishments of our Air Force over the last year. Together with the Joint Force, we've defended America's interests from every corner of the world, meeting incredible challenges with courage, commitment and innovation.

Today, our Air Force remains history's most capable and respected, and despite the inevitable uncertainty that lies in the future, there is no doubt we will continue to be the greatest fighting force on the planet for decades to come. This optimism comes from you, each and every Airman. As our most important and valuable resource, it is your energy, your strength and your resilience that will take our Air Force to the next level in terms of combat effectiveness, efficiency, and capability.

To be part of the solution, part of the answer...part of the future of the greatest Air Force in history, not only must you commit yourself to Integrity, Service, and Excellence, you must commit yourself to Safety as well. An operationally focused and fully combat capable unit, organized, trained and equipped to defend America, can be crippled by the loss of just one Airman. You and your wingman matter...a lot...and you owe your family and your country a commitment to value your safety and the safety of those around you, with the same intensity that you hold for our other core values.

I urge you to consider all that you've learned about risk management and use those lessons in your decision-making every day. Losing an Airman to a preventable accident is the most tragic thing any unit can endure. You know what to do....make responsible choices and avoid a lapse in judgment that could jeopardize your safety or that of others, today, tomorrow, throughout the holidays and the New Year.

I wish you all happy holidays and a winter season filled with great memories.

KSO holds special meaning for Kadena family

by Airman 1st Class Brooke P. Beers
18th Wing Public Affairs

11/17/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Every year hundreds of athletes and artists with special needs gather at Kadena Air Base to enjoy the sports and art they love.

For a young, smiling, Marlee McDaniel, daughter of the 18th Wing vice commander, this is her first year competing in the Kadena Special Olympics.

"This is emotional for us. We've shied away in the past to protect her," said Col. Brain McDaniel, Marlee's dad. "But they say, 'If I can't win let me be brave.'"

Marlee has Down syndrome, a genetic condition where a person has an extra chromosome; this causes problems with the way the body and brain develop.

"This does not affect my military career," the father said. "We are part of an exceptional family member program and before every (permanent change of duty station) we make sure we have everything we need for Marlee. "

The 7 year old loves to swim and run everywhere. She also takes tennis and ballet lessons and during KSO she competed in the 30 meter dash, tennis skills and the softball throw, even through the rain.

"I think people have a misconception about special needs kids," said Deborah McDaniel, Marlee's mom. "They are just like any other child, and they just want to be part of a group or part of a team. People just need to give them that chance."

Throughout the years, Special Olympic events have done just that, give special-needs children a chance to be a part of something with others they can relate to.

As Marlee competed in events throughout the day she ran with enthusiasm, interacted with volunteers, athletes and artists with charm and demonstrated the courage to others that may be still too timid to participate in these types of events.

Her father spoke of his daughter proudly, "Marlee has taught us how to be a hero."

BULLY! 91st...Always First!

by Kiley Swopes
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

11/15/2012 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Airmen from the 91st Missile Wing returned home from the third annual Air Force Global Strike Command Global Strike Challenge score posting event, held at Barksdale AFB, LA., Nov. 5-7 after dominating the competition.

Global Strike Challenge events provide teams the opportunity to improve their knowledge, readiness and effectiveness through intense preparation and spirited competition.

Competition categories include bomber, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and helicopter operations, bomber and ICBM maintenance and security forces.

The 91st MW competed for the Blanchard Trophy, named after General William H. Blanchard, former U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff. The trophy was first presented in competition in 1967 and it is awarded to the missile wing achieving the highest combined score in the mission areas of operations, maintenance and security forces during the challenge.

"I felt our entire team really worked hard preparing for their individual competitions," Col. Robert Vercher, 91st MW commander, said. "Last year our Wing came really close to winning the Blanchard and this year they all seemed determined to go the extra mile preparing to win it all this year."

For the second consecutive year, the 54th Helicopter Squadron was awarded the Bourland Trophy for Best Helicopter Squadron and the Best Helo Tactical Crew award.

Also, for the second consecutive year, the 91st MW won the Best Security Forces Mental and Physical Challenge and the Charlie Fire Team Trophy for Best Overall Security Forces Team.

Staff Sgt. Steven Whaley, 91st Security Forces Group member, received the Security Forces Best M9 Shooter.

The 91st MW was also awarded Best ICBM Munitions Team and Best ICBM Electro Mechanical Team.

"I had very mixed emotions watching the score posting," Vercher said. "On one hand I knew that we had spent months working on our skills and getting our teams as ready as possible, so I was quite proud no matter how the scores came out. On the other hand, I was quite nervous watching the score go up. We kept winning major portions of the competitions and it seemed very possible that we could win the Blanchard."

The 91st MW received 3,819 out of 4,500 points overall making them the winner of the Blanchard Trophy for Best Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Wing.

"I am immensely proud of our team and especially their trainers who put their professional heart and souls into their team and got to see them win the Super Bowl of ICBMs," Vercher said. "Winning the Blanchard is the highest professional honor for an ICBM wing--it really means you are the best of the best!"

To conclude score posting events, the 91st MW was awarded the Spirit Bell award, given to the team who best represents Global Strike Challenge teamwork and esprit de corps.

This year's competition added in an ICBM Nuclear Munitions team with efforts contributing towards the Blanchard Trophy.

"The 705 MUNS from the 5th Bomb Wing dominated their counter parts from the other two ICBM bases," Vercher said. "Their team competed for the 91 MW and we could not have won the Blanchard without them winning 'Best ICBM Nuclear MUNS'."

Competitors included Airmen from Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command and the Air Force Reserve Command. Team participants included the "best of the best" missile crew, maintenance and security forces teams from Malmstrom AFB, MT.; Minot AFB, N.D.; F.E. Warren AFB, WY. Top Aircrew, maintenance and security forces teams from Whiteman AFB, MO.; Minot AFB, N.D.; Dyess AFB, TX.; Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; and Barksdale AFB, LA. also participated.

341st MXG shines in annual Global Strike Challenge

by Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

11/15/2012 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Team Malmstrom welcomed home their Global Strike Challenge competitors and celebrated their victories during a ceremony at the Grizzly Bend Nov. 8, following the score posting at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

Missileers, maintainers, security forces members and helicopter crews were among more than 400 Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen selected to compete in the 3rd annual GSC against Minot AFB, N.D., F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and Barksdale AFB., La. Other competitors were bomber aircrews, maintainers and defenders from Whiteman AFB., and Dyess AFB, Texas.

The 341st MW was awarded the Blackburn Trophy for best ICBM Maintenance Group; named the best ICBM Missile Communications Team; the Best ICBM Missile Handling Team; the Best ICBM Facilities Maintenance Section; and the 40th Helicopter Squadron was named the Best Tactical Response Force Crew.

"These guys [341st MXG] absolutely delivered and dominated the maintenance competition," said Col. H.B. Brual, 341st Missile Wing commander. "The Ops Group and security forces did extremely well too. They put their hearts into it and one of the things I told everyone from the very beginning was that it doesn't matter what the score is, it's the fact that you're out there competing and that's what this team did. I cannot be more proud of this team."

Although Minot took home the bulk of the awards, things the GSC always provides are lessons, training and a healthy competition for the Airmen serving in support of the nuclear deterrence mission.

"We had a great team this year," said 1st Lt. Lee Feldhausen, 341st Operations Support Squadron ICBM instructor combat crew commander. "Everyone represented Malmstrom Air Force Base well. They trained hard, did the best they could and next year the Blanchard Trophy is coming home to Malmstrom."

Awards were as follows:
  • Fairchild Trophy for Best Bomb Wing: 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
  • Blanchard Trophy for Best ICBM Wing: 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.
  • LeMay Trophy (Best Bomb Squadron): 7th Operations Support Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
  • Mitchell Trophy (Best Bomb): 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
  • Linebacker Trophy (Best B-52 Squadron): 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Barksdale.
  • Bartsch Trophy (Best electronic countermeasures): 23rd Bomb Squadron, Minot.
  • Eaker Trophy (Best B-1 Squadron): 7th Operations Support Squadron, Dyess.
  • Tibbets Trophy (Best B-2 Squadron): 110th Bomb Wing, Whiteman.
  • Best Security Forces M4 Shooter: 509th Security Forces Squadron, Whiteman.
  • Best Security Forces M9 Shooter: 91st Security Forces Group, Minot.
  • Best Security Forces M203 Shooter: 90th Security Forces Group, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.
  • Best Security Forces M240 Crew: 2nd Security Forces Squadron, Barksdale.
  • Best Security Forces Firing Team: 90th Security Forces Group, F.E. Warren.
  • Best Security Forces Tactics: 5th Security Forces Squadron, Minot.
  • Best Security Forces Mental and Physical Challenge: 91st Security Forces Group, Minot.
  • Charlie Fire Team (Best Security Forces Group): 91st Security Forces Group, Minot.
  • Best Bomber Nuclear Load Team: 5th Bomb Wing, Minot.
  • Best Bomber Conventional Load Team: 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale.
  • Best Bomber Crew Chief Team: 5th Bomb Wing, Minot.
  • Best Bomber Nuclear Crew Chief Team: 5th Bomb Wing, Minot.
  • Best Bomber Conventional Munitions Maintenance Team: 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale
  • Best Bomber Nuclear Munitions Maintenance Team: 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman.
  • Ellis Giant Sword (Best Bomber Maintenance Group): 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman.
  • Best Helicopter Search and Rescue Crew: 37th Helicopter Squadron, F.E. Warren.
  • Best Helicopter TRF Response Crew: 40th Helicopter Squadron, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.
  • Best Helicopter Tactical Crew: 54th Helicopter Squadron, Minot.
  • Best ICBM Missile Communications Team: 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom.
  • Best ICBM Missile Handling Team: 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom.
  • Best ICBM Facilities Maintenance Section: 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom.
  • Best ICBM Electro Mechanical Team: 91st Missile Wing, Minot.
  • Best ICBM Munitions Team: 91st Missile Wing, Minot.
  • Blackburn Trophy (Best ICBM Maintenance Group): 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom.
  • Klotz Trophy (Best ICBM Operations): 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren.
  • Linhard Trophy (Best ICBM Ops Crew): 320th Missile Squadron, F.E. Warren.
  • McMahon Trophy (Best Weapons System): 320th Missile Squadron, F.E. Warren.
  • Neary Trophy (Best EWO Crew): 320th Missile Squadron, F.E. Warren.

Enlisted aide to AFGSC commander represents Air Force in culinary showcase

by Kate Blais
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

11/19/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- To cook for 180 guests can be described as "intense" and "stressful," working to ensure that your food is enjoyed by all. For one Air Force Global Strike Airman, the opportunity to do so was an honor.

Tech. Sgt. Sarah Morgan, enlisted aide to the commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, represented the Air Force at the Salute to Military Chefs Nov. 14 at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, Va.

"I started my Air Force career as a missile field chef at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and never imagined I would have the opportunity to showcase my talents on the joint stage amongst such amazing chefs," Morgan said. "I'm truly humbled by the opportunity to represent the Air Force."

The annual dinner has been hosted by the USO of Metropolitan Washington since 1997 and is intended to showcase the culinary talents of military chefs representing culinary teams of the President of the United States; vice president; Secretary of Defense; each member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the United States Coast Guard and National Guard Bureau.

Morgan was named the 2011 Jr. Enlisted Aide of the Year and was nominated by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III to represent the service at this event.

"Chefs are never really seen, we're always behind the scenes," shared Morgan. "So this was a huge honor to be recognized."

Morgan, along with her Marine counterpart, drew the soup course as their part in the six-course meal, which served 180 guests and was designed from scratch weeks ahead of time.

"Together we presented a Butternut Squash soup, with 'Moscato' wine poached pear with Chipotle cream," Morgan described. "I think people really liked it."

On a typical day at the Command, Morgan carries out various tasks other than preparing meals.

"My typical day varies from day to day," Morgan said. "This is one of the best parts of the job."

Enlisted aide duties cover a vast area, she said, including administration; household management; uniforms; yard maintenance; official entertainment and culinary. Morgan recognizes that her work may have a bigger meaning.

"General officers interact daily with international, community and civic leaders who have an invested interest in our nation," she said. "When they are invited into the home of the general officer, greeted with exceptional hospitality and great food, previous barriers and perceptions are often lifted and allows for vital relationships to develop and open dialog to occur."

"Tech. Sgt. Morgan's hard work and attention to detail reflect her professionalism. She takes on every task with a positive attitude - we're lucky to have her on our team," said Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, AFGSC commander.

From the missile fields at F. E. Warren to the Ritz-Carlton, Morgan knew from the beginning that she wasn't going to be a normal chef.

"I went out there without knowing anything about's been neat to go from where I was to where I've gone," Morgan said, "and knowing that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it. I feel like I've accomplished something."

62nd AW pilot to be recognized at 32nd Annual DoD Disability Awards Ceremony

by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/16/2012 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Capt. Ryan McGuire, 4th Airlift Squadron pilot and McChord Field member, was recently notified of his selection as a recipient of the Department of Defense's Outstanding Employee and Service Members with a Disability award.

McGuire lost the lower portion of his right leg in a boating accident on Lake Amistad, Texas, in 2009 while attending pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base. He would continue on with his training and would become the first Air Force amputee to earn a pilot rating.

"This award has kind of been the culmination of my efforts and hard work over the past three years since my accident," said McGuire. "The Air Force has given me such great opportunities to excel and I am honored and humbled to be recognized for this.

"The Air Force's policy a few years ago was to not let service members with an amputation fly," he added. "I was the first to complete pilot training with an amputation, but I was only successful in that because of the few pilots who had amputations later in their careers after completing pilot training had already paved the way for me when they were reinstated."

Air Force history is full of first time accomplishments, like Esther Blake the "first woman in the Air Force," Sergeant Maynard Smith the "first Medal of Honor awarded to an enlisted man," and Chief Master Sgt. Paul Airey the "first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force." McGuire does not consider himself as one of those historic members, even though he is.

"The level of my accomplishments is paled in comparison to the amazing men and women I have read about and worked with in the Air Force," said McGuire. "Those men and women really inspired me to work hard during my rehabilitation and I owe some of my success to them.

"I am an example of the amazing support system that the military provides. I was surrounded by 'yes men' from day one of my accident. I was never told I couldn't do something; it was always 'yes you can achieve that and here's how.'

"From my physical therapist to my family, friends and now my fellow squadron mates in the 4th AS, the positive support I get every day is what drives me through the good times and the bad. I hope other Airmen will recognize how important that is and hopefully they can continue to provide that for others."

McGuire talked about how his family and friends were proud of his nomination for this award.

"My family and especially my parents are ecstatic that I won the award. They have been an incredible source of support for me since my accident and I would not have made it through the dark days in the hospital without them. They are accompanying me to accept the award and I am really excited."

"Captain McGuire is an exceptional officer and human being," said Lt. Col. Thomas O'Connell, 4th AS squadron commander. "He has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including the initial decision by the Air Force to medically retire him after the loss of his leg. He appealed that decision, and won, and has broken numerous barriers since then, such as the first amputee to complete pilot training, C-17 training, water survival and combat survival.

"He is now a fully qualified, combat ready C-17 pilot and has already successfully completed his first combat deployment. He is an inspirational person who doesn't want, nor require any special treatment; he is simply driven to be the best officer and pilot he can be."

Echoed by his commander's comments, McGuire never felt like he was deserving of this DoD award and was in shock when his commander notified him of it as he was walking out the door for a deployment.

"The award went through the 62nd Airlift Wing selection process, then to Air Mobility Command then to the AF level," said McGuire. "I honestly didn't think I would make it past the wing because I know there are so many outstanding candidates in the Air Force. It is an honor and very exciting to have made it this far."

McGuire will attend the 32nd Annual DoD Disability Awards Ceremony in Bethesda, Md., Dec. 4, where he will be recognized and will receive his award for Outstanding Employees and Service Members with a Disability.

Spouse Surveys Critical to Family Support, Official Says

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

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 – Defense Department officials are sending a new spouse survey to select active-duty families to assist in determining programs that best suit their needs.

During an interview with the Pentagon Channel, Cathy Flynn, a program analyst with the Pentagon’s military community and family policy office, discussed how these surveys affect future programs serving military families.

“The Active Duty Spouse Survey is a survey that’s sent out to a representative sample of active-duty spouses every two years,” she said. “It’s really a chance for spouses to give their feedback, their input, and their experiences … back to us here in the Department of Defense.”

The department’s first spouse survey was in 2006, and the first active-duty spouse survey was in 2008. The department now surveys active-duty spouses in even-numbered years and reserve-component spouses in odd-numbered years.

The new active-duty spouse survey launches today and will be in the field for about three months -- “as long as we get enough response,” Flynn said.

“The questions cover all areas of military life -- things that we hope are important to the spouses,” Flynn said. “Things like [permanent change-of-station] moves, your experiences with deployment, your experiences with your children, your experiences with military programs.”

Flynn said these results are analyzed and used to make decisions on policies and programs to continue to better serve military families.

“In 2010, we learned that 85 percent of spouses want or need to work,” she said. “Of our population of spouses, 57 percent are in the labor force; however, 26 percent of those spouses were unemployed. So using that data really helped us to boost employment and education support programs for spouses. So it was really critical to have that feedback to have the facts to use with our leaders.”

Flynn said the survey will help to guide decisions about family programs in an era of budget challenges.
“The government is trying to make decisions about what programs to keep,” she said. “It’s really important that we have the facts about what your experiences are like, what spouses lives are like, and what programs they’re using and what programs they’re benefitting from.”

DOD leaders want to make “really good choices” about what programs to keep and which programs to beef up to continue supporting military families, Flynn added, and responses to the survey will inform those decisions.

Each demographic is surveyed for all service branches, Flynn said, to provide officials with an understanding of spouses’ experiences in all services.

“In this survey, it’s all brought together so we can understand across the board what’s happening -- where services might look different and where they look the same,” Flynn said.

Flynn emphasized the importance of spouses participating in these surveys to improve or sustain support programs.

“It’s a random sample, … and about one in 10 -- 65,000 spouses -- will be invited to take this survey,” she said. “What’s really important about that is if you’re selected to participate in this survey, you’re representing, essentially, 10 spouses who have similar backgrounds as you do.”

Flynn explained selected families will be invited by mail to take the survey or can participate online. The survey takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete, she added.

“It takes a little bit of time, because there are a lot of areas to cover,” she explained. “We’re trying to cover the entire breadth of experiences of military life.

“It is really important that people take this survey seriously, and give us their feedback,” she continued. “The Active Duty Spouse Survey is really your opportunity to get your feedback all the way up to the leaders in the Department of Defense.”

Intergrated Air and Missile Intiial Qualification Training Course comes to 505th

505th Command and Control Wing

11/19/2012 -  HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- After years of need, discussion and planning, the future is here. On Nov. 5, the 505th Training Squadron, part of the 505th Training Group, and 505th Command and Control Wing, began teaching its first Air Operations Center Integrated Air and Missile Initial Qualification Training Course.

The course addresses the challenges of planning and synchronizing cross-combatant command IAMD operational command and control within an AOC. Upon completion of the course, students are certified as basic qualified in AOC weapon system IAMD planning and operations tasks and will return to their respective AOC able to integrate with, and articulate to, joint and coalition partners Air Force IAMD plans and operations.

The 505th TRS recognized the world-wide need to train operational-level integrated air and missile defense planners and operators, to include joint partners, to function with and within the command and control plans team and IAMD cell.

"As the air and missile threat from potential adversaries rapidly increases, we need to stay ahead of emerging rival capabilities across the globe," said David Connelly, IAMD course manager of 505th TRS. "With the introduction of the IAMD course, our goal at the 505th is to train warfighters at the operational level of war in countering these dangerous weapons. Understanding the concept of integrating offensive and defensive capabilities between military services and across geographic areas of responsibility is a primary objective of the five day IAMD course. I would not be surprised to see this curriculum expand in depth and breadth over the coming months and years to keep pace with the opposition."

The course has been in the making for almost a year, leveraging command and control expertise at the 505th TRS, AOCs across the world, and joint partners such as the Army's Air Defense Artillery and the Fires Center of Excellence, the Navy's Air and Missile Defense Command, and the Missile Defense Agency.

LTC Shana Peck, an Army Liaison Officer in the 505 TRS and one of the courses' lead developers said, "Aggressive IAMD education and training is crucial in order to prepare warfighters to meet the expanded proliferation of potential adversary air and missile threats," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Shana Peck, an liaison officer IAMD is inherently joint and interdependent, relying on synchronized planning and execution processes amongst service components for global ballistic missile defense, cross-area of responsibility operations, and Coalition/Allied IAMD integration. This new rigorous five day Joint IAMD Course fosters unity of command and effort in meeting this mission set."

The other lead developer, Chuck Charlton, an instructional systems design expert said, "This was an interesting course to develop from the ground up, especially with the limited documented joint tactics, techniques, and procedures available for this emerging mission."

The commander of the 505 TRS, Lt. Col. Francisco Gallei, stated, "Nobody does operational-level command and control like the Air Force. It is one of the most critical functions we bring to the joint force, and combatant commanders expect it without question. With increasing threats and the complexity of air and missile defense, it was logical for us to create a course to plan and execute the IAMD mission from an AOC. I wish I would have had this training when I was assigned to an AOC."

The 505 TRS is the Air Operations Center Formal Training Unit for the Air Force as well as joint and coalition partners. The unit teaches 15 initial qualification courses for the AOC weapon system, awarding nearly 1,400 graduates a basic qualification status. In addition, the squadron teaches the joint certified Joint Air Operations Command and Control Course (JAOC2C) to 400 students per year, ensuring complete transparency in the theater air planning process. It is comprised of C2 experts from across the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps active and reserve forces and government service employees.

Fit to fight perfection has no age limitation

by Senior Airman Mark Hybers
507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

11/16/2012 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- What could a Senior Master Sergeant, 16 months from retirement and a Senior Airman, barely two years into his career possibly have in common? Perfection.

Two members from the 507th Air Refueling Wing achieved something very few members of Air Force Reserves ever have, a perfect score on their fit to fight test.

Senior Master Sgt. Carol Suggs of the 465th Air Refueling Squadron and Senior Airman Krystopher Clarke of the 507th Civil Engineer Squadron both pulled off the lofty scores during their recent fit to fight tests this summer.

From first glance, these members appear to have very little in common. One is near the end of her career, the other just starting. But a common thread between them is the drive to achieve perfection.

Suggs, who has achieved this rare goal three times, remembers when she first came in the Air Force Reserves in 1985 at Charleston Air Force Base at the time there was no fitness testing.

"The only thing we did back then was get a weight measurement," said Suggs. "If you were under your weight limit, great, if not you went on a weight loss program until you lost enough weight to pass."

Some of the component minimums and maximums have changed over the years, but the overall fit to fight program has not changed and is not going away. For Clarke the time leading up to his fit to fight was well focused.

"I was on upgrade training orders for 10 months at Altus Air Force Base, so I got to work out with active duty members every day," Clarke said. "I think that time was very helpful because the guys I train with are very competitive."

Suggs also believes being on orders or active status makes staying physically fit easier. "I think it's tougher for us (reservists), we have to maintain our discipline in our personal lives rather than be on active duty and get to go to structured PT three times per week."

Clarke's time on active duty training and running with partners helped put him over the top. "There were five guys in that squadron that are really competitive and I'm really competitive. That helped me get faster." Clarke added "eventually I became faster than most of them."

Clarke knew he had a shot at a perfect score after his previous test in which he scored a 98.5. The only component lacking a perfect score is the run. Clarke's previous time was 9:30.
"I knew when I started I had to run a 9:12 to get to that 100. I paced myself pretty good until the last lap," he said. "I literally sprinted the entire last lap and was shocked when I hit a time of 8:46."

The run was a key focus for Suggs as well. "I'm not a runner by nature," Sgt. Suggs said. "I'm a bike rider. I like to get out and ride about 15 miles at least one day a week."

Suggs also considers pushups an area that requires a lot of training. She said talking to people that she works with and people around the gym gave her a good foundation for strength training.

"I can watch a tape that shows me how to do a push up, but talking to different people and getting different exercises is more beneficial." Suggs added different upper body strength routines to her workout such as dips and other chest and shoulder strength routines. In fact, Suggs has an entire workout program put together to help her maintain physical fitness while at her home in Altus. She also eats right and goes to the gym four days a week with one additional workout at home.  Monday's and Wednesday's Suggs works out 2 miles on the treadmill and nautilus with upper body added. Tuesday's and Thursday's it's the elliptical with other lower body workouts. One day a week she runs at the reservoir near her house.

"The outside run adds diversity to my workout. Running on a treadmill is great, but you are getting pushed along," she said. "Running two miles around the reservoir adds hills, turns, wind and other weather elements that you can't get on a treadmill. You never know what the weather is going to be on test day, so that's a crucial part of my training."

The workout program returned incredible results. Suggs turned in the best time of her 30 plus year career with a 12:53. That's over 2:30 better than her previous best.
"When I came across the line on my final lap, I looked over and thought there was one more to go, but they told me I was finished. I couldn't believe it, because I didn't think I had one more in me," an excited Suggs replied. "I then thought I was going to lose my breakfast!" she laughed.

Both Suggs and Clarke agree that working on your fitness is very important and also very difficult to maintain.

"The current fit to fight tempo is here to stay," said Suggs. "We are not the way we were 20 years ago. Just remember, it's your responsibility to maintain your fitness, how you do it is up to you. Find what works for you and go for it."

Suggs and Clarke, two highly competitive and self motivated Airman that prove fitness and perfection are not bound by age.

Chairman’s Corner: Recent Allegations Not a Distraction

By Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 – For good reason some of you have asked if we’re distracted by recent allegations against several senior military officers. We are not distracted, but we are concerned. We’re committed to learning and adapting. We’re committed to honoring the profession and protecting the nation.
We’re not distracted — we can’t afford to be. We have hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen deployed around the world standing watch for the nation.

Their well-being, and the well-being of their families, remains our top priority. The nation deserves our best effort and our attention to the security challenges we face. It will have it as we work through these challenges.

Tinker AWACS unit ends 6-month deployment

by Senior Airman Caleb Wanzer
513th Air Control Group Public Affairs

11/16/2012 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Eighty-nine Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group returned here Nov. 11 from a six month deployment to Southwest Asia supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Hundreds of family members, friends, coworkers, base leadership and even a high-school marching band awaited them as they cleared customs and entered an aircraft hangar.

"I've never had a welcoming like this," Staff Sgt. Nicole Singh said. This is her third deployment as an Air Surveillance Technician assigned to the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron. "We were all shocked at how many people were out there to support us."

This is only the third time the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System unit was activated. As reservists, the transition back to civilian life after a deployment can be a little tricky according to Sergeant Singh. "We loved the chance to serve next to our active duty partners. Now we are looking forward to getting back to our families and our civilian employers."

Friends and families, some who waited hours to see their Airmen, rushed in for hugs as the reservists stepped into the hangar on Sunday night. One family held a larger-than-life photo of a returning Airman above the crowd. The high school marching band from Carl Albert High School supported the event with patriotic music.

One mother of a six-month-old baby held another sign that read, 'I've been waiting my whole life to meet you daddy.' Candice Richardson, from Ardmore, Okla., gave birth to her son five days after her husband left on the deployment.

"I could see him and I was shaking like a leaf," Mrs. Richardson said after spotting her husband, Master Sgt. Gabriel Richardson, in the line of Airmen getting off the jet.

Richardson was able to keep in contact with his wife and newborn son through video chat while he was deployed overseas. "She sent numerous, thousands of pictures over," he said. "Skype is a beautiful thing."

The commander for the 970th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron, Lt. Col. Matthew Conrad was very pleased with the Airmen's job during their deployment.

"Everyone did a fantastic job, and we all did it together," Conrad said. The 970th EAACS, traditionally an Air Force Reserve squadron, contained a mix of active-duty and reserve Airmen.

"We know what we can do, we know what our capabilities are, and if we're ever called upon we know how to do it again," he said when asked what the unit learned during their deployment,

The reservists were a part of about 150 personnel returning to home station at Tinker. The rest of the Airmen are assigned to the 552nd Air Control Wing.

The 513th Air Control Group is an associate unit of the 552nd ACW, providing flight crews and maintenance personnel to help fly and maintain the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft owned by the active-duty wing.

The Reservists, members of the 513th Air Control Group, were assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and supported the AWACS command and control mission as a part of OEF.

McChord Reservists earn Aircrew Excellence Award

by Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/16/2012 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Air Force Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing here were awarded the 4th Air Force 2011 Aircrew Excellence Award during the annual Raincross Trophy Dinner at the Riverside Convention Center, Riverside, Calif., Nov. 7.

The award, which is given to the 4th Air Force aircrew who demonstrates notable dedication and commitment to the Air Force's air, space, and cyberspace mission, was presented as part of the 4th Air Force Commander's Conference events. The honorees were Lt. Col. Montgomery McDaniel, 728th Airlift Squadron, Maj. John Caplinger, 313th Airlift Squadron, Maj. Tim Davis, 728th AS, Chief Master Sgt. Jim Masura, 446th Operations Group, and Senior Master Sgt. Marshall Dellinger, 728th AS.

"(Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander) and I couldn't be more proud of the Team McChord crewmembers and their receipt of the 2011 Aircrew Excellence Award," said Col. Richard Grayson, 446th AW vice commander. "Their heroic efforts and superb performance are indicative of the outstanding Airmen we have in the 446th AW and the amazing work they do around the world, day in and day out."

In late June 2011, a civilian research contractor, working under the National Science Foundation at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, became ill. Due to the inability for the contractor to receive adequate care, the NSF, with help from U.S. Transportation Command, planned an aeromedical evacuation. Once the AE mission was cleared, TRANSCOM tasked McChord with performing the mission.

When the McChord crew, which was a combined crew of Reservists and active-duty aircrew members from the 62nd Airlift Wing here, was assembled, they were airborne less than 16 hours.

After landing at Christchurch, New Zealand, the crew prepared to embark for Antarctica immediately after the minimum flying weather conditions was met.

On June 30, the McChord crew departed for what turned out to be the first C-17 Globemaster III mid-winter Antarctic mission. After a night-vision-goggle landing at Pegasus Air Field, Antarctica, the loadmasters and critical care air transport team had the patient loaded in less than 45 minutes.

From the time the crew departed McChord Field for the 9,100-mile trip it took less than 48 hours to get the patient admitted into the hospital in Christchurch.

In addition to the AE mission, the crew also delivered supplies to the people at McMurdo Station. Mail, fruit, vegetables, and other goods were delivered in order to boost morale for the residents, who otherwise wouldn't have been resupplied until August.

Before departing back to McChord Field, the crew was also tasked to load a variety of equipment from the arctic environment and return it to the U.S.

The endeavor undertaken by the Team McChord crew proved, not only to be lifesaving, but also reiterated the TRANSCOM motto, "to deliver unrivaled, full-spectrum deployment and distribution solutions," according to Bowers.

Accepting the award at the dinner on behalf of the entire crew were Bowers and Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Mack, 446th AW command chief.