Military News

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alaska Air National Guard duo saves life of critically ill woman

By Air Force Maj. Guy Hayes
Alaska National Guard

Click photo for screen-resolution image
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  (11/20/12) - Jumping from the tail of an HC-130 into the frigid night, two elite pararescuemen of the Alaska Air National Guard felt their parachutes deploy before descending safely to frozen ground 160 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

A few hours earlier, pararescuemen Air Force Master Sgts. Roger Sparks and Brandon Stuemke were spending time with their families on what seemed to be a typical October Sunday night, when the phone rang.

On the other end was the weekend alert search-and-rescue duty officer, Air Force Maj. Russ Edwards. There was a mission request from the 11th Rescue Coordination Center and Sparks, Stuemke, and fellow alert crews from the 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons were needed at work now.

"Immediately you just stop what you're doing, kiss your wife and kids and start driving to work," Sparks said. "When you're on alert status, you have to be prepared to report within 30 minutes, and so as you drive to work, you're trying to get as much info as possible."

The mission was to perform a medical evacuation of a 58-year-old woman suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding. The patient, who lived 60 miles from the nearest neighbor, was suffering from extreme dehydration and loss of blood.

Sparks and Stuemke, who've also served multiple combat search-and-rescue tours in Afghanistan, spoke on the phone with each other, discussing what they hade heard and prepared themselves for the mission.
They would be flying on a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130 King aircraft, an extended-range search-and-rescue version of the C-130 Hercules, capable of providing command and control, airdrop and air refueling to the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter.

"The plan was to load the HC-130 with the HH-60 aircrew and the two other pararescuemen, before flying them an hour north to Eielson where we had a helo on standby," Sparks said. "So we flew those guys up to that location to get in the aircraft and affect the rescue, which was another two hour flight, if not more, by helicopter to the actual recovery site. So we knew we were in for the long haul."

After dropping off the helicopter crew and other pararescuemen at Eielson Air Force Base, Sparks and Stuemke continued on the HC-130 flight to get eyes on the cabin and provide a weather report to the pilots of the Pave Hawk.

"Shortly after we dropped off the PJs and crew, we were told the Pave Hawk was malfunctioning and needed a part," Sparks said. "At this point, Edwards believed the situation warranted us getting in there as soon as possible, so he approved Stuemke and me to jump in."

The next 20 minutes, according to Sparks, was chaotic. Instead of escorting the HH-60 crew, they were now preparing to jump into an extremely remote location to save a woman's life in the middle of the night.

"Stuemke took care of half the stuff, and I took care of the other half; we met in the middle, and we left the aircraft on a 2,000-foot static line square," Sparks said. "The crews we jump with are so extremely professional and skilled. They were right on top it, deploying flares before, during and after the jump from the HC-130 to help turn the night into day."

With parachutes deployed, the pararescuemen guided themselves toward the patient's husband, an extremely skilled and charismatic trapper, according to Sparks, who was waiting for them on a frozen pond in the 27-degrees-below-zero weather.

"We landed about five feet from him," Sparks said. "When I jumped out, I had a big survival ruck, probably 60 to 70 pounds, carrying survival equipment, and Brandon jumped in all the medical equipment with enough gear to sustain us for a few days."
Sparks checked in with the HC-130 crew to let them know they were safe on the ground and Stuemke followed the trapper to assess his wife.

"We immediately knew the gravity of the situation," Sparks said. "Her situation was very dire."

Stuemke conducted a patient assessment, asked questions about her background and previous medical conditions, then started an IV and medication to help stop the nausea, dehydration and gastrointestinal bleeding.

"We were very concerned and started talking with the RCC via satellite phone to find out when we could get air evacuation out of such a remote location," Stuemke said. "We were prepared, but being a parachute operation, we can only jump in a certain amount of supplies and she needed to get to a doctor soon."

Hundreds of miles from a hospital, Stuemke and Sparks continued to monitor, re-assess and build a long-term game plan for the health of their patient to include getting more medication and an IV dropped in if needed. They knew that without serious medical support, their patient was in a life-threatening situation.

"The RCC was looking at other options to get helicopters out of Fort Wainwright, whether it's a CH-47 (Chinook) or UH-60 (Black Hawk,)" Stuemke said. "Fortunately, the part required for the Pave Hawk arrived and the 210th was able to come pick us up later the next day."

After an 18-hour delay, continuously monitoring and providing care to their patient, Sparks and Stuemke welcomed the helicopter crew to the remote cabin, loaded the patient and accompanied her on the two-hour flight to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where she was released to hospital staff.

"There's something in a selfless act of putting yourself in danger and putting your life on the line to help others so that they can survive and have a future," Stuemke said. "We get paid to go and make the best of bad situations, but it takes all of us to accomplish a mission. The RCC, the pilots, maintenance crews, everyone – it's a total team concept. It's not about one individual, it's about everybody."

"Brandon and I have been here in Alaska for years together, and we've done some really bizarre, if not dangerous things through this job, even somewhat unexplainable," Sparks said. "We're a bit inoculated to it, but at night, we do sit and think about the gravity and intensity of things we are asked to do; it's just always in hindsight. Still, I do it because I think it's a very virtuous job. To use these skills to save other human beings, I think it gives back to you quite a bit."

Colorado aviators support Canadian brethren in major training exercise

By Staff Sgt. Jecca Geffre
Army National Guard

Click photo for screen-resolution image
WAINWRIGHT, Alberta (11/20/12) - Soldiers with Task Force Eagle endured frigid Canadian temperatures as they participated in high-readiness evaluation exercise, Maple Resolve, by providing heavy lift and medevac assets to the mission.


The exercise took place from Oct. 15-31, 2012 at the Canadian Manoeuver Training Center in Wainwright, Alberta.


The facility is designed for units to experience full immersion in replicated real-world conditions to maximize efficiency and quality of training.


The Canadian Manouver Training Center uses technology and imagination to present, as authentically as possible, the conditions found within modern operations. Personnel and vehicles are fitted with laser devices that objectively register kills, serious and light wounds and close calls.


Master Sgt. Greg Clancy, noncommissioned officer of TF-Eagle, said the mission provided significant support to the operations which resulted in improved interoperability between U.S. and Canadian forces.
Clancy said Colorado Army National Guard aviation resources worked with Royal Canadian Air Force Air Expeditionary Wing and worked hand-in-hand with an RCAF 430 Squadron in support of a mechanized infantry brigade.

Canadian aviators in Bell 412 utility helicopters flew escort missions for U.S. CH-47 Chinook crews in a disaster relief scenario as part of the validation process for the Canadian Battle Group's upcoming rapid deployment mission.

TF-Eagle provided delivery of troops, cargo, food and fuel, as well as air assault troops for flanking forces, Clancy said.

Lt. Col. Joshua Day, officer in charge of the task force, said the training is beneficial to both countries due to the realistic exercise and pooled resources.

“It’s an excellent experience -- particularly for pilots just getting out of flight school," Day said.

Colorado Army National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Berube and Command Chief Warrant Officer Matt Dorram were on site as two Chinook helicopter crews rigged and transported an old Sea King helicopter fuselage while carrying crews of Canadian Soldiers.

Members of Task Force Eagle included Colorado Army National Guard members from the High-altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Eagle, Colo., and Detachment 1, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation, at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo.

Multinational team of wingmen rescues downed pilot from Pacific Ocean

by Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs


11/20/2012 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii -- On July 22, a U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to Misawa Air Base, Japan, had to eject from an F-16 Fighting Falcon over the turbulent and cold waters of the North Pacific.

Over the next six hours, the pilot, JEST 73, focused on surviving in his small life raft - constantly using his helmet to bail water out to keep afloat.

While ejecting from an aircraft and landing in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean would probably not qualify as the man's best day, the pilot was fortunate in that an improbable, varied mix of different people and agencies were seamlessly partnering up to help out.

The traditional military definition of a "Wingman" refers to the flight pattern in which there is a lead aircraft and another which flies off the wing of and behind the lead. This second pilot is called the wingman because he or she primarily watches the lead's back. It turned out there were a lot of wingmen watching the downed Airman's back.

"While bailing water from my life raft, I was in constant communication with airborne rescue forces which helped ease my mind, but with each passing hour, I was growing more concerned that I would end up spending the night in my life raft," said JEST 73.

A KC-135 Stratotanker belonging to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and two others belonging to the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan, were among the first on scene in the wake of the late morning incident. The aircraft's pilots relayed news to the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center), Air Mobility Command's operational nerve center.

"When the call first came in from one of the KC-135 commanders we only knew that we had an F-16 pilot who had just ejected, thankfully wasn't injured, and was busy bailing out his raft," said Col. David Smith, TACC Director of Operations during the incident. "We told the aircraft to stay in radio contact and let the pilot know that help was on the way and that we were immediately commencing rescue operations. Our commitment was not to let him down."

That call put into motion the race to quickly recover the pilot. TACC immediately provided air traffic controllers at Fukuoka, Japan, and Anchorage, Alaska, with the incident's location. Those controllers quickly passed the information to the Japanese Rescue Coordination Center to begin search and rescue operations. Those efforts were bolstered by the rapid passing of information to the Rescue Coordination Center in Alameda, Calif., which shared it with ships in the area.

"We were about a day out of Japan, and I was on watch when a call came in from the Coast Guard on the satellite phone," said Jim Dowling, 2nd Mate and navigation officer for the Matson commercial container ship Manukai, which was on the return leg of a long journey from Long Beach, Calif., to China, Japan, and points between. "The call said a military aircraft went down about 100 miles behind (West of) our position."

Dowling called up the ship's captain, who confirmed the position. Then they called the Manukai's engine room to get more power (RPMs), turned the ship around, and headed back to help. The Manukai's crew maintained a constant dialogue with the air crews overhead as they raced to help.

As the minutes passed, TACC officials ensured regular communication with the pilot, with the KC-135 crews closely monitoring his condition and continuing to provide him reassurance that help was enroute.

A Japanese fishing vessel, the Hokko Maru, also responded to the call for help and was heading toward the pilot's position. As the Manukai and Hokku Maru approached at nearly the same time, the U.S. and Japanese crews worked together to develop a plan.

"As we talked to the Japanese fishing boat, we determined they had a more ideal life boat so they agreed to pick him up," Dowling explained. "Then they brought him alongside us - and we were lucky in that there was some light remaining and fairly calm seas at that time. We lowered the gangway to the life boat and he was able to climb up. It was an all-hands event, with all 21 of our crew lining the rails."

Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of a day full of ups and downs was waiting for the pilot as soon as he was safely on the Manukai. "They had patched his wife through to him by phone on our ship," Dowling said.

For approximately the next two days, the pilot was a guest of the Manukai's crew - Dowling said he was a "shipboard celebrity" to the sailors. The ship swung north of its normal intended course to meet up with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro, which transported the pilot to Alaska, where he would eventually be taken to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, near Anchorage.

"The entire shipboard combat information center was instrumental in coordinating the rendezvous, from over 800 nautical miles, to occur exactly on schedule," wrote U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Jacob Hauser, underway as the Munro's public affairs officer. Hauser also served as ship's deck and conning officer for the rendezvous. "Both ships were able to find one another in thick fog and maneuver safely to within 500 yards aboard. The (pilot) had to climb down a 20-30 foot ladder (from the Manukai) to reach the small boat, which was expertly maneuvered for a safe passenger transfer."

Hauser explained that the entire crew was piped topside as the pilot approached in the small boat, in order to render appropriate honors -- a way of welcoming him home. Once aboard, the pilot was received by applause before debriefing with the commanding officer and department heads.

"While the circumstances of losing an aircraft are certainly not ideal, we were absolutely thrilled to successfully recover our Airman - our most important asset," said Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander. "Additionally, it was truly heartwarming to see the dedicated teamwork and vigorous coordination between elements of the U.S. and Japanese military, search and rescue teams, and Japanese and U.S. civilian mariners - whose willingness to help was instrumental in our pilot eventually returning home to his family. We deeply appreciate this incredible partnership!"

On Nov. 19, Carlisle and Col. Stephen Williams, 35th Fighter Wing commander, presented a plaque shaped like an F-16's tail section, to the Manukai crew on behalf of the men and women of PACAF and the 35th FW.

The pilot also expressed his gratitude to the multiple rescue crews as his written thank-you note was read during the presentation.

"Had it not been for the selfless efforts of the Manukai crew, this story may have had a much different ending," said JEST 73. "My wife and two daughters join me in my heartfelt thanks to everyone who assisted in my rescue and subsequently reunited me with my family. Getting to hold my wife in my arms again and getting to read bedtime stories to my girls were made possible thanks to [their] heroic actions."

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

Air Mobility Command public affairs contributed to this report.

Staff College Offers New Joint Course in Tampa


American Forces Press Service

NORFOLK, Va., Nov. 20, 2012 – Officers and civilians will soon have an additional avenue to pursue professional education, thanks to a non-resident satellite Phase II Joint Professional Military Education course that will launch in January in Tampa, Fla.

The satellite JPME II format will be nearly identical to the in-residence program taught at National Defense University's Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. JFSC will oversee and conduct the 10-week satellite course, which will be offered up to four times annually.

This is a pilot initiative authorized by Congress to complement the current in-resident program at JFSC. Those eligible are officers in the grades of major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel, and a limited number of civilians in equivalent grades.

The program aims to supplement the current pipeline of students attending JPME II and prove the educational validity of completing JPME II in a non-resident format, according to Dr. Ken Pisel, JFSC non-resident satellite program director. It will not reduce the number of students attending JFSC in residence.
The satellite course will primarily look to fill slots from those assigned to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command; however, the military services can potentially look elsewhere to fill any vacant slots.

Centcom and Socom will nominate students and services will assign them to the course. Students will be in a local temporary duty status and engage full-time in the curriculum.

With Congressional approval, the long-term goal is to eventually offer this satellite program at other combatant command locations.

For more information about the course and class dates, prospective students can contact Dr. Pisel at 757-443-6229.

Military-to-Civilian Skills Credentialing Pilot Underway


By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2012 – After completing an analysis of industry and employment trends, the Defense Department has embarked on a pilot program to help service members obtain civilian professional credentials, the department’s director of training readiness and strategy told reporters today.

Frank C. DiGiovanni said five occupational areas were selected for the pilot program -- aircraft mechanic, automotive mechanic, health care, supply and logistics, and truck driver. A total of 17 military specialties are covered under these five areas, which align with Department of Labor’s standard occupational classifications, he noted.

To select the occupations, he said, the department looked at the private sector for areas where there would be average or better growth coinciding with high numbers of projected job openings.

“What we’ve asked the services to do … is to look at those five areas, look at their specific military occupational codes, marry them up and get some people into the pilot program,” DiGiovanni said.

The program began in October, he said, and as it progresses, officials will examine whether existing military training is sufficient to qualify service members for civilian credentials. Where the current training is found to be insufficient, DiGiovanni added, the department will determine if the program can be adjusted or if training from external sources is necessary.

Training is just part of career development, however. “Some of these licenses and credentials require a certain level of experience to qualify,” he said. So, the program will eventually assess service members at various stages in their military careers, he said.

Military officials will also assess the program’s success from the perspective of the three key participant groups, DiGiovanni said. “The first is the individual,” he said. “Did they feel they got what they needed to go out and compete?”

The second group, technical schools and supervisors, will be surveyed to determine whether meeting the requirements of a civilian certification program helped them or if it created additional challenges, DiGiovanni said.

As the service members involved in the pilot program transition from military service, a third group, employers, will be surveyed, he said.

“We’d have to go to some of the industry folks and say, ‘The fact that [service members] were able to get some of these licenses or credentials while on military service, did that help in your decision to hire an individual? What kind of employee are they?’” he said.

“For us, the objective really is honoring the service of our service members and helping them … while they’re in the service to professionalize and expand their knowledge in these occupational areas,” DiGiovanni said.

The program’s second aim is to determine whether conducting this type of training through the services is cost-effective, he said. Other options could include vocational training through the Department of Labor or Veterans Affairs, he added.

The pilot is one of several DOD Credentialing and Licensing Task Force initiatives, said Eileen Lainez, a spokesperson for the Defense Department.

“We’re looking at how we can better document and translate military training and experience so that civilian credentialing agencies and states can better understand the nature of military training and award appropriate credit,” she said.

“Industry has told us … that military members bring several advantages to the table,” DiGiovanni said. Employers consider service members and veterans to be diligent, efficient and reliable, he said.

Service members and veterans report that their military experience provided them with leadership and problem-solving skills, adaptability and the ability to work in teams, he added. “In many industries … the training and experience they have in the military gives them a jump start,” he said.

“However, civilian employers also report that translating military skills to civilian job experience is one of the biggest challenges of hiring employees with military experience,” Lainez said. “Civilian credentials provide a means of doing this translation.”

McConnell Reservist named Red Cross Military Hero

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


11/20/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A member of the Air Force Reserve 931st Air Refueling Group here has been named the Midway-Kansas Red Cross Military Hero for 2012.

1st Lt. Craig Van Praag, an aircraft maintenance officer assigned to the 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was named the Red Cross military hero for his life-saving actions while saving another Airman from choking while dining at the base food court on Oct. 3, 2012.

Shortly after entering the food court, Van Praag noticed an Airman who appeared to be choking.
"At first, it didn't appear to be very serious, and I just thought he had something go down the wrong pipe. But after a few seconds, it was obvious he was in real trouble," said Van Praag, a traditional Reservist who works on base during the week in a civilian capacity as manpower chief for the 22nd Force Support Squadron.

Acting quickly, Van Praag rushed across the food court to the victim.

"I asked him if he could breathe, and he gave me the sign for choking, with his hands on his throat and shook his head 'no'," said Van Praag. "So I decided to try the Heimlich maneuver."

Van Praag said he positioned himself behind the victim, wrapped his arms around him and thrust his fists upward into the victim's diaphragm in an attempt to clear the choking individual's windpipe.

"I gave him a couple of thrusts, and I asked him if he could breathe, and he again gave me the choking sign and shook his head 'no'," said Van Praag. "So I proceeded to give him several more thrusts and after about ten, the obstruction finally dislodged and came out and landed on the victim's tray on the table."

Van Praag said that he doesn't feel that his actions warrant the label of "hero," and maintains that he was simply doing the right thing and being a good "wingman."

"I saw an individual in trouble and I just tried to help him out. I'm just glad that I was able to help," he said. "I don't feel like I did anything that anyone else wouldn't have done. I'm just glad that it worked," he said. "I saw a fellow Airman in trouble and did what anyone else in my situation would have done."

Col. Donald C. Robison, 931st deputy commander for maintenance, said he wasn't surprised that Van Praag reacted to the situation in this manner.

"Since meeting Lt. Van Praag, I have been impressed with his situational awareness and decisiveness, something we look for in our company grade officers," said Robison. "His quick response is a testament to his character and leadership abilities."

Just a few weeks after his heroic actions, Van Praag deployed to Southwest Asia, where he is serving as a member of the 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. Due to his deployment, Van Praag will be unable to attend the scheduled Dec. 12 Midway-Kansas Red Cross Heroes Breakfast, during which all Red Cross heroes will be honored. A family member will be accepting the award in his behalf.

Osan hosts Toys for Tots softball tournament

by Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert
Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert


11/20/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Approximately 50 people stationed around the peninsula came from out to show their support and play in the 15th Annual Toys for Tots Softball Tournament Nov. 17 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Members from Osan, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan and Camp Humphreys played in a single-elimination tournament and bared frigid temperatures for a good cause and to have some fun, said Airman 1st Class Stephen Wood, 51st Security Forces Squadron member.

The cost to enter the event was a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corp founded program to help the less fortunate children experience the joy of Christmas. More than 100 toys were collected and given to U.S. Marine representatives before the tournament began.

"I am really excited about the turn-out and participation," Wood said. "We collected more toys than we expected, and it feels great to be involved and to help give back to the community."

In previous years, this peninsula-wide event was hosted at Yongsan, but Osan took the lead since. The Guzzlers International Softball Club co-sponsored with the Osan Air Force Sergeant Association Chapter, and Wood and Tech. Sgt. Clinton Hodge, 51st Security Forces Squadron member, helped coordinate the event.

AFSA provided food and drinks to all the players free of charge, Wood said. Players also donated money which was collected to buy more toys for the event.

Toys for Tots is primarily used to distribute toys to children in the United States, but being overseas, the toys will be distributed by Marines to local Korean orphanages, Hodge said.

"I want to thank all these guys for coming out," Hodge said. "This is a great opportunity and a great benefit."

Following the tournament, remaining players participated in a homerun derby.

"We had a lot of fun," Wood said. "We played softball and we did some good at the same time. "I feel good knowing we might have made Christmas special for the children who receive the toys."

McChord Reservists prove they can 'maintain' excellence

by Staff Sgt. Rachael Garneau
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


11/16/2012 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Team McChord was visited by a team of 27 inspectors from across the Air Force Oct. 13-20 as part of a Logistics Compliance Assessment Program inspection.

The LCAP team evaluated both the 446th and 62nd Airlift Wings' personnel on performing the maintenance and logistics missions in accordance with established Air Force and Air Mobility Command policy and directives. For the Reserve wing, the inspectors focused on the 446th Maintenance Group Quality Assurance Section, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 446th Maintenance Squadron and 446th Maintenance Operations Squadron.

Typically, LCAP inspections are performed once every 18 months. However, this was the first time an AMC LCAP was performed at the same time as an Operational Readiness Inspection, a change that answered an issue raised after past inspections.

"In years past, wing commanders have voiced concerns that every time their wing finishes an inspection, they're starting a new one," said Chief Master Sgt. Dan Morris, the 446th Maintenance Group superintendent. "So, headquarters inspector generals said they'd start combining the different assessments so that when the inspectors come out, there's one inspection, but they could be looking at three different areas. In this case, it was the ORI and the LCAP."

In the last LCAP inspection almost two years ago, Team McChord was evaluated on more than a thousand items. This year, the inspectors assessed fewer functions to allow maintenance crews to focus on generating aircraft for the ORI.

The logistics functions of the 446th and 62nd Airlift Wings were reviewed and found to be fully capable of supporting the mission. The 446th MXG training programs were lauded by inspectors as well-managed and executed.

Both the 446th MXS and QA section excelled during the LCAP, despite this year's changes.

"Since there are a lot of diverse back shops within MXS, the inspectors were focused there since the flightline Airmen were busy the first few days with the ORI," said Morris. "They may have had more inspections than some of the sections in aircraft maintenance, giving them a greater chance at proving their excellence."

The LCAP team recognized two 446th AW Reservists as outstanding performers:

Tech. Sgt. Erik Hubbard, 446th Maintenance Squadron
Senior Airman Jerrod Pilant, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Hubbard has been involved in two LCAP inspections before this year's and was evaluated in several different areas of his job as an aircraft fuel systems technician. He was recognized for his work with as a civilian with the 62nd MXS, but was also assessed in his role as a traditional Reservist with the 446th MXS.

"I was incredibly honored when I found out I was selected as an outstanding performer," said Hubbard. "It felt like all the work I did was rewarded justly."

For Pilant, the LCAP inspection was a learning experience. He had never been involved with one, but said it was not much different from a quality assurance evaluation.

"I really enjoyed the LCAP," said Pilant. "The inspectors were very pleasant during the process and their recognition is a great way for me to enhance my reputation in the wing."

Col. Alan Lerner, 446th MXG commander, said he was proud of both the 446th MXG air reserve technicians and the traditional Reservists who participated in the LCAP.

"We did not hide anybody during either inspection and even had some maintainers volunteer to be evaluated while performing their launch, recovery or maintenance duties," said Lerner. "We proved beyond any doubt that the LCAP inspection can be administered in conjunction with another major inspection and accomplished with successful results."

Niagara recruiters win double honors

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


11/20/2012 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- The 914th Airlift Wing recruiting team came away double winners from the annual Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting awards banquet Oct. 25 in Savannah, Ga.

Master Sgt. Jake Miller, 914 AW line recruiter, was presented with the Northern Recruiting Squadron Commander's Emphasis Award for most accessions in the squadron for Fiscal Year 2012.

Though an impressive individual accomplishment, Master Sgt. Miller thanked his fellow wingmen for helping him achieve this award.

"I would not have been able to earn this award without the support from our great 914th members through the get1now referral program," said Miller.

Through the Get 1 Now program members of the wing can refer family and friends to the Air Force Reserve and in return may become eligible for prizes.

In addition to the individual award, as a group Team Niagara was presented the Superior Achievement Award from the command for achieving more than 110% of their assigned yearly recruiting goal.

"The Niagara recruiting team had a fantastic FY 12 shattering the Niagara accessions record of 166 with an incredible 184 gains," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Denehy, 914 AW senior recruiter.

Team Niagara has even bigger plans for this year. "For FY 13 we are striving to again break the record and hit 185 accessions," said Denehy.

The Air Force Reserve as a command exceeded its target with 8,116 accessions for 101 percent of its 8,031 goal.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Visits Military's Biodiesel-Fueled Steam Plant



From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy) Tom Hicks toured a steam plant at St. Julien's Creek Annex in Portsmouth now running on B20, a 20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent number two fuel oil blend Nov. 19.

The plant is the Navy's first one in the Mid-Atlantic area to run on this fuel blend, which is popular for use in vehicles.

The diesel blend, which burns cleaner than traditional diesel will provide steam to heat 16 office buildings and 13 warehouses. It is expected that the fiscal year 2012 (FY13) heating season will require the use of about 235,000 gallons of B20. Previously the plant has used traditional, 100 percent petroleum-based fuel oil. The B20 blend is priced competitively with the petroleum based diesel, and will not increase the Navy's costs to heat the base, while helping to meet the Secretary of the Navy's goals for greater energy security.

"The Navy uses an annual average of 30 million barrels of fuel per year which equates to about four to five billion dollars of fuel cost," said Hicks. "Because of this, it is important to explore additional and alternative sources like we see here today at St. Julien's Creek."

"This is a perfect example of what the Navy is trying to do by using B20, a 20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent conventional fuel to run the steam plant from domestic sources that are competitively priced," said Hicks.

The Secretary of the Navy has outlined five energy goals for greater energy security and to enhance our combat capabilities: Increase Alternative Energy Use DoN-Wide: By 2020, 50 percent of total DoN energy consumption will come from alternative sources; Sail the "Great Green Fleet": DoN demonstrated the Great Green Fleet during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in July and will sail it by 2016; reduce non-tactical petroleum use: By 2015, DoN will reduce petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent; increase alternative energy ashore: By 2020, DoN will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources; 50 percent of DoN installations will be net-zero; and Energy Efficient acquisition: evaluation of energy factors will be mandatory when awarding contracts for systems and buildings.

"The steam plant is using B20 and this fuel blend will help make progress towards the Navy's renewable energy goals," said John Breckner, renewable energy program manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic. "This is one of the pilot projects for the heating season and we hope to expand to other areas in the region. The boilers have been running for a few weeks and everything appears to be going well."

St. Julien's Creek Annex is a U.S. naval support facility that provides administrative offices, light industrial shops, and storage facilities for tenant naval commands. Its primary mission is to provide a radar testing range (35 acres or 141,640 m2) and various administrative and warehousing structures.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), the Facilities and Expeditionary Combat Systems Command that delivers and maintains quality, sustainable facilities, acquires and manages capabilities for the Navy's expeditionary combat forces, provides contingency engineering response, and enables energy security and environmental stewardship.

First sergeants feed families

by Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


11/19/2012 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Cranberry sauce, stuffed turkeys and honey-baked hams will soon fill the tabletops of many households nationwide.

But at Langley Air Force Base, Va., some of those households would not have a Thanksgiving feast if not for Operation Warmheart, which allows first sergeants to step up and help Airmen in need.

OWH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being of Langley families. It raises money throughout the year to provide for struggling Airmen at any point in their lives, whether it be for covering the costs of a holiday feast, or providing a little extra money to get back on track.

"Operation Warmheart is all about giving back to the Airmen," said Master Sgt. Ariane Freeman, 633rd Medical Group first sergeant. "The funds received go straight to Airmen here at Langley."

During the Thanksgiving time frame, OWH pulls out all the stops. The Thanksgiving food basket give-away is the largest event OWH presents. Money raised throughout the year via 5Ks and donations allowed the Joint Base Langley-Eustis First Sergeant Council to make roughly 550 food baskets for Airmen in need.

The food baskets aren't just packs of crackers either. Each basket contains cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other traditional fixings. The baskets do not come with a ham or a turkey, but rather a food voucher for the Airmen to make the selection themselves, which benefits vegetarian Airmen who might want an alternative.

Making the food baskets instills a great sense of pride, said Master Sgt Ryan McCauley, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant.

"Our job as first sergeants is to get our Airmen exactly what they need," he said. "Having the opportunity to help 550 families makes me love what I do."

The baskets are only one instance of the impact OWH has on the JBLE community.

OWH's main mission is to provide grants to Airmen in need. If an Airman is struggling financially, and needs cash for food, gas money or other necessities, the JBLE First Sergeant Council will evaluate the needs of the Airman and provide a grant to help during a time of need.

Random Acts of Kindness became a part of the OWH mission in the spring of 2012. The JBLE First Sergeant Council gave out cold drinks to flightline Airmen, provided gas cards and paid the grocery bills of Airmen at the commissary; all entirely at random. The RAK initiative showed Airmen they don't need to request help to be recognized by the Langley community and that they are valuable to the mission.

A night to remember

Commentary by Tech. Sgt. Crystal Lee
Armed Forces Network - Incirlik


11/20/2012 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNS) -- Some things occur in life that you never forget. Things that leave a scar and others that never even heal. There are lessons to be learned from those experiences, and I learned a big lesson on drinking responsibly at the tender age of eleven.

So I volunteered to share a part of my life normally reserved for those close to me. I decided to share a time that will never leave me in hopes that others don't have to experience the pain it brought. If you know me, you know that I keep family matters private. This account, however, may help sway someone's decision and prevent an alcohol related incident.

It was Friday, date night for my parents.

I was 11 and my little sister, Jen, was 9. We were at the age many parents start let their kids stay home alone. Mom and dad were invited to a party in Bowie, Md., which was about an hour away.

AWESOME! Jen and I had the whole house to ourselves. We proceeded to, you know, do typical kid activities. At around 2 a.m., we heard knocking at the door. I didn't grow up in the best neighborhood, so there was no way I was opening that door. The knocking persisted and we were terrified. Jen and I actually hid under the bed because we thought someone was trying to break into the house.

The next morning we woke up under the bed. We got up and knocked on mom and dad's room door. No answer. I opened the door; they hadn't come home.

I picked up the phone to call my grandpa and found that it had been off the hook since last night. That's when he told me mom and dad were hit by a drunk driver. He said it happened last night around 1 a.m. and he had tried to call us. Grandpa was the one knocking on the windows and doors.

Once we got to our grandparents house, we were told the details of the accident. My father was driving home on Oxon Hill Rd. when a drunk driver swerved into their lane and sideswiped them. Dad hit a telephone pole head on. Mom wasn't wearing her safety belt and her face went through the windshield. Dad had this crazy adrenaline rush and pulled my mom out of the car. We found out later that his back was broken. He was out of commission for about six-to-seven months.

After gramps gave us the news, Jen started to freak out and I started crying. I'm not sure if I was crying due to sadness or because I was angry as hell, probably both.

Sunday evening at around 5 p.m. our parents came home. They were lucky to survive. They recounted the events from that night. I asked dad if the drunk driver got hurt. Dad said, "No. The guy thought the whole situation was funny."

Our lives drastically changed. No more family outings to the park, no more fun things and nothing normal for kids our ages. Instead, the next several months consisted of Jen and I taking care of our parents.

What upsets me the most is that this didn't need to happen; responsible decisions could have prevented the entire event.

When someone abuses alcohol it affects more than just them. It has a ripple effect to everyone who cares about that person, those they hurt, and the people who are left behind to pick up the pieces. Take ownership and responsibility for your actions and what you put in your body. There are other things you can do besides drink excessively.

Find that niche that makes you happy--go to school, play video games, travel, etc. If you do drink, know your limit. Know when to say "when." Ask yourself, "How are my actions going to impact other people?"

My life was affected by an irresponsibly selfish guy who couldn't make the right decision concerning alcohol and almost killed my parents. Don't be that person.

The most beautiful song

Commentary by Retired Gen. Steve Lorenz
U.S. Air Force Academy Endowment


11/20/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) -- By all measures, it was a typical football game day at Falcon Stadium. Many people were tailgating, there was a slight chill in the air, the sky was a brilliant bright blue, and the crowd was excited as the game time approached. With great precision, the Cadet Wing had marched into the stadium. With great fanfare, the Wings of Blue parachute team had jumped onto the football field, and the flyover by several Air Force aircraft had created much excitement.

As the cadet band began to play our national anthem, the audience around us rose up to show respect for our flag and the music Francis Scott Key wrote 200 years ago. In unison, we placed our right hands over our hearts to show the proper respect as the Star Spangled Banner was played.

As the ceremony began, the entire stadium went silent as they turned to face the American flag and listen to the music. It was then that I heard what initially sounded like a person yelling at the top of his lungs and making loud, incoherent sounds. I did not know what it was, but my initial reaction was one of disbelief and irritation that this person could be so insensitive and disrespectful while an entire stadium full of people were saluting our nation's flag.

But as I listened closely to this disruptive sound, I began to make out what appeared to be words. I could not understand every word, but every third or fourth word seemed to fit into the melody of our national anthem. Someone, in his own painful way, was singing the Star Spangled Banner.

I looked where the sounds were coming from. In front of me was the ramp reserved for handicapped fans, and there he was. A young man was sitting in a wheelchair, in an Air Force T-shirt, with an Air Force baseball cap perched on his head. He was swaying back and forth to the sounds of the music despite suffering from the obvious physical effects of a serious long term debilitating illness.

As I listened more carefully, I could make out more and more of the words he was singing. This handicapped Air Force Academy football fan had a huge smile on his face as he sang with great gusto our national anthem.

My initial irritation immediately turned to great pride as I watched this young man sing his heart out. Tears welled up in my eyes as I listened to the finest rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I had ever heard. This young man touched my heart and the hearts of everyone around him who really heard what he was singing. I walked up to 31 year old Kenny Firth, who was born with cerebral palsy, and thanked him for reminding me what really is important. I told him I would never forget him or his singing of our national anthem.

AEDC researches possible modifications to C-5M Super Galaxy wings

by Philip Lorenz III
Arnold Engineering Development Complex Public Affairs


11/14/2012 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- A recent landmark aerodynamic test on a scale model of the C-5M Super Galaxy in Arnold Engineering Development Complex's 16-foot transonic wind tunnel was all about efficiency and the bottom line.

Jack O'Banion, Lockheed Martin's director of air mobility improvements and derivatives, said the high cost of fuel is the driving force behind the recent test.

"There's something on the order of 2.5 billion gallons [of aviation fuel] a year that the Air Force has to secure," said O'Banion. "The largest consumer of jet fuels is air mobility, and jet fuel in itself represents about 84 percent of the Air Force's total energy cost. The kinds of savings we're talking about with regard to equipping C-5s with efficiency improving devices like winglets is reducing the fuel burn of a C-5 by something on the order of 166 gallons per hour.

"That's a significant improvement in fuel flow, particularly as we see the spot price of jet fuel heading upwards to $4 a gallon and probably higher in the future."

The over-arching goal of the recent test was to validate the computational fluid dynamics predicted drag reduction effects of winglets on the C-5M Super Galaxy, the Air Force's most current version of the aircraft.

David Yoder, an ATA Flight Systems Branch project engineer for the recent C-5M test, said Lockheed Martin and AFRL, the test's sponsor, specifically chose AEDC's 16T facility for this entry.

"AEDC is the place they wanted to test because the size of the tunnel allows them to use an existing 4.04-percent wind tunnel model, which is a large enough scale to give them high-fidelity results," he said. "The model is mounted on an internal strain gage balance which is used to measure the aerodynamic force and moments. The balance is mounted to a sting which supports the model in the tunnel, and the sting is mounted to a pitch and roll mechanism."

Marvin Sellers, a senior engineer with ATA's Flight Systems Testing group, said the customer, Lockheed Martin Corp., came to AEDC with two objectives. The primary focus was on acquiring a drag increment from the addition of a winglet to the existing wings with the goal of improving the aircraft's aerodynamic efficiency and lower fuel consumption.

A winglet is a short, near-vertical projection on an aircraft's wing tip that reduces drag and improves fuel efficiency.

"Two different [sets of] winglets were tested to determine the one that provides the best [aerodynamic] improvement," Sellers said. "They also desired to acquire the loads acting on the winglets for structural analysis and investigate the impact of the winglets on aileron stability and control."

Sellers spoke about his role in the testing on the C-5M model, which is approximately 10 feet long with a nine-foot wing span, tip-to-tip.

"The model was designed as a pressure model, but has been modified to accept a balance," he said. "To eliminate the need to refurbish the more than 1,000 pressure taps and decrease the impact on drag of adding approximately one dozen pressure modules, the customer has elected to use Pressure Sensitive Paint, or PSP, to acquire full-model surface pressure data and activate only 58 pressure taps on the wing surface.

"The PSP will also provide integrated pressure loads on the winglets as well as distributed pressure load on the wings," said Sellers.

The paint is applied to the model in two layers, a white undercoat and the PSP layer. The white undercoat provides a uniform reflective surface for the PSP layer. The illumination source excites the PSP layer, which fluoresces with intensity inversely proportional to the surface pressure on the model.

Chuck Hybart, Lockheed Martin's product development senior manager for air mobility improvements and derivatives, said the approach to the recent test has been a fully collaborative process between Lockheed, Air Force Research Laboratory and AEDC. He credited AEDC's test team with helping to steer the group to a more efficient approach to the project.

"We actually changed the approach that we were going to use for measuring the pressures on the model because of some of the capability that you have in the tunnel," Hybart said.

When asked why Lockheed Martin chose AEDC as the site for the recent C-5 test, O'Banion said, "In particular [when] doing wind tunnel testing on an aircraft the size of the C-5, [it] takes a specific set of tunnels and specific capabilities that are very rare in the world, and fortunately your facility has those capabilities. When we're doing testing particularly for fuels savings and fine tuning of aerodynamic phenomena, the ability to test at a representative Reynolds number is a tremendous asset in being able to do this work accurately and fortunately, you bring those capabilities."

With platforms like the C-5 and testing facilities like AEDC, O'Banion sees the potential for future work in the years ahead.

"We hope this is just the start of a series of refinements for the C-5 ... if we're able to validate the results and the business case is so compelling to the Air Force that we'll be able to do this and perhaps other improvements to the aircraft," O'Banion said. "There's more performance that can be unlocked in the C-5, and the service life of the airframe means they'll be in the inventory for several decades to come.

"I think there's a lot of potential still here for the C-5 ahead and, with your help, we ought to be able to unlock that for both the warfighter and the taxpayer."

The C-5 Galaxy, a heavy-logistic transport plane with an unrefueled range of more than 6,000 miles with 261,000 pounds of weight, played a significant role providing transportation for the military buildup in the Middle East prior to the start of the Persian Gulf War.

The plane, which is one of the largest in the world, has played a significant role in supporting Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

A combination of C-17 Globemaster IIIs and C-5s flew more than 11,400 sorties during the buildup to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even though the C-5s flew approximately 900 fewer sorties than the Globemasters, the larger aircraft hauled about 11,500 more tons and 5,300 more passengers.

Airman earns $6K through IDEA program

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


11/19/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Recently, a 2nd Maintenance Squadron Airman received a $6,275 check from the Air Force Innovative Development through Employee Awareness Program.

In 2010, Staff Sgt. Jerod Weddle, 2 MXS communications navigation mission system craftsman, then a senior airman, submitted the paperwork for IDEA, which would save the Air Force $40,500 annually.

After working in the 2 MXS back shop for only a year, Weddle noticed that something wasn't adding up when it came to the process for repairs of a certain part on the B-52H Stratofortress.

Because Barksdale's back shop does not perform 3-level maintenance, certain aircraft parts, like the APQ-166 Strategic Radar Antenna used for navigating munitions, had to be shipped from Barksdale to the Depot at Warner Robbins AFB, Ga., for service and repair.

"To service these antennae, we use a boresight test," said Weddle. "This test allows us to see any error in the antenna and what may need maintenance."

When there is an error the part is shipped to the Depot, repaired, and returned to Barksdale. However, sometimes the parts wouldn't be returned for months.

"I looked at our history data and realized the same parts were being shipped back and forth multiple times with no solution," said Weddle.

That's when he decided to make something happen.

Weddle reached out to Robert Price, Air Force Engineering Technical Service avionics equipment specialist, to figure out why this was happening.

"The problem had gone on for five years," said Price. "So we reached out to leadership, and got the funding to make a trip to the Depot."

Upon their arrival to the Depot, Weddle and Price immediately saw the problem.

"The Depot was using a specific, radar frequency electronic test set," said Weddle. "They were unable to duplicate the errors we were receiving with the boresight test."

After their four-day visit, Weddle and Price worked out a "gentleman's agreement" with the Depot, but Weddle wanted it to be official.

"I suggested he go through the IDEA program," said Price. "He did all the leg work. I was just his mentor."

According to Weddle's IDEA submission, implementing additional tasks at the Depot would save $40,500 annually in shipping costs alone. Since the Depot was allotted 80 hours to function check an antenna, and the Barksdale back shop was allotted eight hours, he calculated 2,376 man hours saved. Additionally, due to back and forth shipping, 27 mission essential line replaceable units that were deemed unserviceable would become serviceable with the tasks additions.

"This resolved a critical problem with the bombing system," said Price. "It is corrected, and we feel real happy about that."

Weddle is the most recent member of the Barksdale AFB community to receive an IDEA Program payout.

"It is nice to be recognized," said Weddle. "But it's nicer that the problem is fixed, and I don't have to fill out as many Quality Deficiency Reports. They are a pain."

According to Air Force Manpower Agency, the Air Force IDEA Program is an incentive program that promotes process improvement and resource savings through ideas submitted by military and civilian employees. It is accomplished by encouraging a better way of doing business by fostering employee awareness and participation in the Air Force IDEA Program.