Sunday, March 31, 2013

446th AES trains for casualty movement

by Army Spc. Loren Cook
20th Public Affairs Detachment

3/29/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- When personnel are injured in Afghanistan, help is no farther away than a medic's tactical field care, a nine-line medevac request, and a helicopter flight to a forward operating base. Depending on the severity of an injury, a wounded service member may be sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany or stateside for additional treatment.

But how do these wounded warriors get from a field hospital to a fixed facility halfway around the world? The Army simply doesn't have the capability to move personnel across such vast distances. Instead, that responsibility lies with the Air Force, and the Air Force has aeromedical evacuation squadrons for just that purpose.

The 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, part of the Air Force Reserve's 446th Airlift Wing based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, recently held an initial training exercise for its aeromedical technicians - the first of many training events that will certify these airmen as ready to assume their duty of safely transporting casualties out of the combat zone.

"This is part of basic qualification for our new airmen, and a requalification for some who are just returning to flight status," said Lt. Col. Ken Winslow, director of operations for the 446th AES. "We have to fly every 60 to 90 days to maintain our qualification, and we also have a flight evaluation by a flight examiner every 12 to 16 months. There's training going on all the time."

The training allowed new airmen to practice loading litters into the aircraft and tying everything down and to become familiar with emergency egress procedures. True to the "crawl, walk, run" training philosophy, this training, part of the "crawl" phase, was conducted on the ground.

"We were learning how to set things up in a C-17 and what to do if anything should go wrong," said Airman 1st Class Xochil Avila, an aeromedical technician with the 446th.

Trainers also incorporated one emergency scenario into the training. Avila played the part of a disoriented and traumatized patient, who posed a danger to the medical personnel and flight crew and had to be restrained.

As Avila flailed her limbs and screamed like a woman possessed, aeromedical technicians quickly regained control of the situation and put her in restraints.

"It would have been different if I was a real patient and was a 300-pound, beefy guy, but they took me down pretty fast," Avila said.

It was the first of several training exercises for certification, and future exercises will increase in intensity and stress. Winslow, however, expressed confidence in his new airmen.

"It's great to see them coming in after their schools and seeing how smart they are, how much they remember, and the appropriate questions they ask," Winslow said. "They're doing very well."

47th OG ARMs recognized as AETC's outstanding small unit

by 2nd Lt. Lyle T. Ratcliffe
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

3/28/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 47th Operations Group Aviation Resource Management team was awarded the Sergeant Dee Campbell Outstanding Small Unit award for 2012.

This award is given to the best ARM team in Air Education and Training Command that operates with 29 or less members.

"This is a huge accomplishment," said Tech. Sgt. Sonya Moran, 85th Flying Training Squadron ARM team member. "We support the busiest airfield in the Air Force, and it is very rewarding to receive recognition for the amount of work our team has done."

Aviation resource managers are responsible for in- and out-processing pilots, monitoring flight pay, standardizing processes and training plans, and basically everything that pertains to a pilot's career while they're at Laughlin, said Moran.

"The mission requires a collective effort from all the ARMs," said Chief Master Sgt. Carl Tennyson, 47th OG command chief. "Everyone has to do their part and be willing to fill in for other tasks if needed."

Some of the major accomplishments by the aviation resource managers include receiving an excellent on the consolidated unit inspection with three professional performers and standardizing the wing's Go/No-Go program.

"This is a true testament to the dedication and hard work put in by our ARMs," said Col. Andrew Brabson, 47th OG commander. "The level of performance across the group is so high that it is great to see our team be recognized by AETC."

AETC Top Operations Squadron awarded to 87th FTS

by 2nd Lt. Lyle T. Ratcliffe
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

3/28/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 87th Flying Training Squadron won the Top Operations Squadron Award in Air Education and Training Command for the first time in 12 years.

The 87th FTS stood out from about 45 operational flying training squadrons across AETC this year.

"This has been a challenging year for the Red Bulls, and I'm very proud of the efforts and positive attitudes of each and every member of our team," said Lt. Col. James Keen, 87th FTS commander. "We faced a series of difficult challenges this year, and they stepped up every time."

Specifically, the squadron overcame a 30 percent instructor manning shortfall, a 116 percent student load, and severe maintenance limitations due to budget restrictions.

"Our instructor pilots, maintenance and support personnel were working long hours and sacrificing their personal time to achieve the mission," said Keen. "That's the epitome of dedication, and safe operations were never sacrificed to attain results."

The 87th FTS also has a reputation as committed volunteers and good citizens by their involvement with a variety of events and programs in the Del Rio community. Squadron members volunteer in youth and prison outreach programs, church functions and charity fundraisers. They also helped with the Running with the Bulls 5K, which had more than 500 participants and raised more than $56,000 for Val Verde Loaves and Fishes, a local food bank.

"The folks in our squadron work hard to maintain a positive relationship between the Del Rio and Laughlin communities," said Lt. Col. Randy Oakland, 87th FTS director of operations. "They not only work hard, but they participate and volunteer."

The 87th FTS has been honored with various awards this year at the group, wing, and AETC levels. However, this award was the number one goal set out for the squadron, said Keen.

"We are just so pleased our squadron is receiving recognition for all the hard work and sacrifice they put in this year," said Keen. "It was a total team effort up and down the line and we are thankful for the support and positive relationship with the Del Rio community and Team XL."

Air Force system improves homeland air defense

by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

3/27/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- An Air Force system designed in the wake of Sept. 11 to provide comprehensive air surveillance and defense for North America recently got even better.

The Battle Control System-Fixed program reached a major milestone with the full deployment of Increment 3. The BCS-F, produced by ThalesRaytheonSystems, is a modern real-time battle management command and control system. Fielded at the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Air Defense Sectors, BCS-F provides NORAD commanders with a highly interoperable and reliable platform in support of the nation's homeland defense air mission.

Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, NORAD and its force provider, Air Combat Command, realized there was an enormous need to upgrade the legacy equipment in the sectors to provide their commanders with an increased capability to see not only the traditional air defense approaches to North America, but also as much of the internal airspace over the continent as possible.

NORAD Sectors are located in New York, Washington, Alaska, and in Canada. There is also a BCS-F System in Hawaii that reports to the Pacific Command commanders.

"BCS-F is the sole tactical command and control system for North America's air sovereignty and air defense missions," said Lt. Col. Lisa Tucker, BCS-F program manager. "And Release 3.2 brings several mission critical improvements to the system."

Some of the enhancements include: a new hardware suite of equipment improving system capacities and processing, significant data links improvements that expand the quantity and quality of data shared with other DoD systems, and improved interoperability with systems in the National Capital Region.

Additional improvements are increased capacities for a sector to "cover" another sector's area of operations and an ability for the sector operators to automatically receive, process and use the Air Tasking Order and Airspace Coordination Order, significantly reducing the operator workload. Previously, the ATO and ACOs would have been performed manually.

"From my perspective as a sector commander, the deployment of Increment 3 allows the sector to finally normalize operations with our primary C2 system, the BCS-F," said Col. Dawne Deskins, Eastern Air Defense Sector commander.

"Operators and maintainers from the sector have been intimately involved in the testing and development of the latest software every step of the way. The successful deployment is a direct result of the partnership between those of us in the field, ACC and the program office."

To get to Increment 3, the team faced some significant challenges along the way.

"We had schedule constraints, funding cuts ...," said Tucker. "The team met with the stakeholders, creatively thought and strategized opportunities to do parallel testing and took advantage of collaboration to field the capability on time and with reduced funding."

As NORAD is a bi-national organization, the U.S. and Canada strategically partner together on the BCS-F program. In fact, Canadian personnel are integrated into the BCS-F team. One example of the cooperative nature of the work was a development solution to provide multi-day flight plan data. When it was discovered that there may be an issue with the plan the U.S. team was working, they were able to switch to a plan that the Canadians were using.

"We're constantly looking at best practices and where we can synergistically work together to best affect the warfighter," said Tucker. "They have been great to work with."

Since the fielding of BCS-F Spiral 1, which replaced the legacy equipment that was fielded in the 1980s, to the operational acceptance of Increment 3, Release 3.2, the program team here has increased the capabilities, capacities and usability of the BCS-F for sector operators.

"We have a great relationship with our stakeholders," said Tucker. "We are constantly communicating with NORAD, ACC, our test community, our sectors, our contractor and others that have a vested interest in the BCS-F mission and in consistently bringing more capability to our warfighters."

And even though the system currently has an operational availability of 99.98 percent, the team is always looking for improvements.

In fact, program managers already have another set of capabilities in test for delivery later in 2013. As the program moves into sustainment, there are several additional improvements under way, including an improved information assurance and security posture, an increased training capability for the operators with the Auxiliary System Suite and a number of fixes to improve the operator's mission effectiveness.

"As the NORAD mission evolves and technology moves forward, I am working with my stakeholders to position BCS-F to respond to changes for years to come to be a critical part of protecting our nation's sovereign airspace," said Tucker.

Coordination and cooperation have been the keys to ensure a successful program.

"I am totally impressed with the teamwork displayed in providing this operational capability to the warfighter," said Col. Scott Owens, Theater Battle Control Division chief. "In addition to the tremendous effort by Lieutenant Colonel Tucker and her program office team, this accomplishment could not have happened on schedule without the commitment and shared sense of urgency from the developer, user, acquisition and test communities involved in the BCS enterprise."

Luke reaches millionth hour milestone

by Stephen Delgado
Thunderbolt staff writer

3/22/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Translating a million hours into years equals 114 years and one month. Going that far back in time places a person in February of 1899.

Luke Air Force Base reached an F-16 milestone March 13 when a Fighting Falcon took to the skies marking a million flying hours in this venerable aircraft at Luke.

The historic flight was flown by 1st Lt. Matthew Wetherbee, 309th Fighter Squadron student pilot, and Capt. Joseph Walker, 309th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and assistant chief of weapons.

"I was Lieutenant Wetherbee's instructor pilot of record and flew in the rear cockpit," Walker said. "The flight went very well, with Lieutenant Wetherbee performing tactical intercepts to achieve a visual identification of a simulated enemy aircraft and employ weapons. My role was to ensure safe execution and provide airborne instruction to ensure that the desired learning objectives were met."

Col. John Hanna, 56th Operations Group commander, said that Luke is the first base to achieve the 1-million-hour mark.

"This feat was quite an historic event, and I was honored to be part of it," he said. "I started flying the F-16 with the 62nd Fighter Squadron in 1989 when we used to do much of the F-16 training at MacDill AFB, Fla.

"As an instructor in the 309th FS from 2002 to 2003, it was neat to have a young lieutenant be the one to actually hit the mark. He'll be able to carry that his whole career and it was fitting that a student be the one, since the milestone was reached at the premier F-16 training base in the world. It was even more special since this great event occurred in the same squadron where I was previously assigned."

What's more, Walker praised the quality of students who train at Luke, and said he looks forward to continuing this legacy.

"The caliber of students we receive here makes my job much easier and very rewarding," he said. "Their motivation and desire to learn is remarkable. I am very pleased to have a part in the mission of training the fighter pilots of tomorrow. I hope Luke continues to fly fighters and train fighter pilots for another million hours, if not in the F-16, then in other fighters, continuing the tremendous history and legacy of this base."

The F-16 arrived at Luke Dec. 6, 1982, and since then thousands of students have been trained here.

JBSA-Randolph clubs earn Air Force-level award

by Alex Salinas
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

3/28/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- The Parr and Kendrick Clubs at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph were chosen for a top Air Force-wide distinction as the Best Food Operations Program of the Year in 2012.

With $4.9 million in revenue from sales and more than 1,800 events hosted in 2012, the Air Force's No. 1 income-producing clubs "confirm the hard work and dedication of the hospitality operations team," Terrye Heagerty, 902nd Force Support Squadron director, said. The clubs support a variety of events including weddings, conferences, farewells, community bingo nights and poker tournaments.

This is the fourth Air Force-level award for Randolph's clubs, along with the Kendrick Club's title of Best Enlisted Club in 2003 and 2006, and the Best Club Program in 2009 when the clubs consolidated operations.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment because the competition is getting tougher and tougher," Merilyn Gove, 902nd FSS clubs general manager, said. "We owe it to our programs and thinking outside the box."

The competition, which includes business outside of Randolph, is a driving force when it comes to creative club programming.

"It's all about keeping up with the times and trends," Gove said. "We look at what's happening in the civilian world to help modernize the clubs."

Be it serving cupcakes or sponsoring community events like "top chef" wars and the upcoming singing competition, Idol Factor, the clubs jump at opportunities to "invest in the future," Aaron Cox, 902nd FSS clubs assistant manager, said.

"The goal is to cater to everybody, but we've especially done a great job of capturing the active-duty audience," Cox said, citing the Kendrick Club's popular Gil's Pub and the recently renovated Air City Bar and Grill at the Parr Club.

The latter establishment, which was formerly two rooms, was completely gutted and remodeled with fresh carpet, furniture, flat-screen TVs and a brighter color palette than before.

"Our lunch business is taking off," Cox said, with Air City Bar and Grill's sales doubling since reopening in July.

Currently, the Kendrick Club is in the process of receiving its own refurbishment of "popular wall colors and new furniture," Gove said.

The menus at both clubs also reflect a more "health-conscious and fit-to-fight Air Force," Gove said.

Customers are responding with 98 percent satisfaction ratings in all club areas through the interactive customer evaluation.

"Sometimes, it's frustrating to deal with so many different customers day in and day out, but it's paid off," Heagerty said.

To contact the Parr Club, Building 500, call 652-4864. To contact the Kendrick Club, Building 1039, call 652-3056.

Art of the Possible: 546th PMXS achieves monumental accomplishment

by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Air Force Base Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 546th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron embraced change and recently achieved a monumental accomplishment, epitomizing the "Art of the Possible."

The unit completed a task in record time and exceeded a goal that had never before been met. The group gave life to the Air Force Sustainment Center motivational phrase when it produced an F108 engine, which the KC-135 Stratotanker, in 49 total flow days. The squadron achieved the feat by changing one of their processes.

"This is a huge accomplishment compared to history," said Chad Curl, 546th PMXS Production Support Flight chief.

The F108 has a history of being a constrained weapon system, meaning there weren't enough available spares for the mission. Over the past four or five years, the group really struggled to produce enough war-ready engines. The requirement called for 120 available engines, but it was a goal that had never been met.

In July 2012, senior leaders asked the squadron to develop a standard process to increase the production of engines and meet a recurring deadline. In this case, the goal was to send an engine to the test cell every 2.2 days and finish an engine in 55 total flow days.

"When we started this, our tact time to the test cell was all over the place from more than one engine a day to an engine every four to five days," said Tom Leinneweber, 544th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron deputy director. "And, we were averaging 106 flow days per engine."

Leinneweber said in order for the process to be effective, there had to be employee buy-in. Instead of directing orders at the workforce, the F108 engine line employees were told about the standard process development tasking and explained its importance. The squadrons then created a team to brainstorm and enact changes.

Harry Klempan, an F108 mechanic with the 546th PMXS, volunteered to be a member of the team. With fellow mechanics, first- and second-level supervisors, planners, material personnel and engineers, he was one of 14 people.

"I had good ideas and wanted to make a contribution," he said.

The team studied the cradle-to-grave approach that was customary within the shop and realized it had to change. Instead of assigning a single mechanic to care for every task on a whole engine as it came into the shop, it would be more effective to break down the engine into more manageable pieces and assign incremental tasks to particular mechanics, who would become subject matter experts in those fields. The learning time would be reduced and tasks would be completed in a matter of days.

"I have a crew of two people who only pull the quick engine connection off the whole engine; that's all they do, every two days," Leinneweber said. "So, what that's done is shorten the learning curve by giving continuous repetitions of the task. And that makes an employee's assets faster, because I don't have to have someone stand over his shoulder for six or eight months trying to teach him about a variety of tasks. The employee can have the individual task down in three to four weeks."

By dividing up the tasks, the team rearranged the process into four phases, or gates, -- disassembly, materials/kitting, assembly and test/preparation. It took eight weeks to set up initial process and the shop now runs like an assembly line.

Adam "Tiny" Davis, an F108 mechanic with the 546th PMXS on the team, said he was really impressed and surprised at how quickly the shop embraced the changes.
"Change on anyone is hard," he said.

While changing the floor plan is the biggest transformation to come from the team's suggestions, there are others that have been implemented; one of which came from Klempan.

"One of my ideas was organizing the kitting carts to make sure the hardware -- bolts and nuts -- are accounted for by being placed in their corresponding cutout holes," he said. "That way we can tell if anything is missing."

The results have paid off.

At the end of the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter the average flow days were 106, the first engine to go through the new process was completed in 92 flow days. In the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the average flow days were 84. Additionally, the squadron produced 28 of the requirement of 30 engines, a first-ever achievement. In the previous year, the squadron produced three fewer engines in the same amount of time.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2013, the unit averaged an engine every 59 days. Yet, in February, the unit produced four engines in 55 flow days or less, a 50 percent reduction since fiscal 2012. One engine was finished in 49 flow days.

Additionally, the shop reduced from three shifts to one and the amount of overtime has been reduced from upwards of 25 percent to 7 percent.

"The results are outstanding. We lowered our flow days and have more production and more focus on the constraints," said Michelle Greene, team member and a former 546th PMXS supervisor on the F108 line. "I'm very happy with the outcome."

Curl said the F108 has shown the center the possibilities that the process can do.
"The process is proven and it makes sense for everyone to do it," he said. "And it's a generic process; it's not customized for a single purpose. It can be implemented in any situation."

AF to implement force structure changes

by Jennifer Cassidy
Air Force Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force released its plan Mar. 28 to implement force structure changes mandated by the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

The bill authorized the service to complete actions approved in previous years, such as aircraft retirements, and directed execution of Congressionally-approved force structure actions.

Some of these changes were outlined in the Air Force's Total Force Proposal, developed in coordination with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Others were congressionally-directed.

"Our Air Force continues efforts to maximize the strength of our Total Force, and we are pleased with the progress that is being made on this front," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. "This implementation plan illustrates the Air Force's continued commitment to transparency as it completes the force structure requirements directed and authorized by the NDAA."

The NDAA directs a reduction of 65 aircraft and approximately 1,400 military billets from the Air National Guard, 57 aircraft from the Air Force Reserve, and 122 aircraft and approximately 6,100 military billets from the active-duty Air Force.

"Working together we can combine the personnel, equipment and readiness necessary to build a total Air Force equal to all the challenges our nation faces," said Lt. Gen. Stanley (Sid) E. Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard.

The Air Force's implementation plan includes a state-by-state description of changes for each base and the associated timeline. Each major command developed activation, reassignment, re-missioning or divesture options.

"We've developed guiding principles to ensure that as we make decisions, we continue to have a strong foundation for what is best for our Air Force," said Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, chief, Air Force Reserve and commander, Air Force Reserve Command. "We must leverage regular and reserve component strengths and align our decisions with a commitment as one total force team."

Key principles include: ensure personnel readiness, training and retention for transitioning units to remain at the highest level practicable and minimize mission gaps for units transitioning to new or different missions. Each of the components embraces these principles.

The Air Force will apply this collaborative approach to facilitate open communication with key stakeholders on future total force efforts. Recently, the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force created a Total Force Task Force.

TF2 will create an enduring strategic process to determine how to correctly balance the strengths of each component to sustain capabilities required to defend our nation now and into the future.

"Our active, Reserve and Guard components are increasingly integrated --training, deploying and conducting a full range of missions together as one Air Force," said Donley, "and we're committed to ensuring that our active and reserve component mix correctly balances the strengths of each component, meeting our strategic requirements and our fiscal demands as well. The FY13 implementation plan gets us on a path toward that end."

Hawaii State Legislators Honor Fallen Service Members

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Clark
AFN-Pacific Hawaii News Bureau

HONOLULU, March 29, 2013 – Hawaii state legislators gathered at the capitol here March 27 to present the Hawaii Medal of Honor to 19 families of Hawaii-born or -based service members who were killed in combat over the past year.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Left to right: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Neal, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, pose for a photo during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Neal accepted the medal on behalf of his friend and colleague Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas S. Johnson. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“We do this, a public ceremony, because we wish to express in more than just a symbolic way what it is we regard as most fundamental to recognition of what it takes to enable us to be a free people,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said at the ceremony. “Why are we in such a solemn regard? It’s because we understand that in ceremonies such as this we are engaged in a public expression in what constitutes our fundamental values.”

The families of ten soldiers and nine Marines were presented the medal, which has been given at the Hawaii state capitol since House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005 was passed. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.”

Prior to presenting the medal to the family members, Hawaii National Guard Adjutant General Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong expressed his gratitude to the family members and fellow service members in attendance.

“There is no honor higher that our state can bestow upon a member of our armed forces than the Hawaii Medal of Honor,” Wong said. “This is not an honor we bestow with joy, but rather we do so with heavy hearts and solemn resolve.

“Collectively, as a state, we have made it our mission to express our deepest appreciation to these brave men and women,” he continued. “We resolve to ensure the families of our service members shall always be a part of our Hawaiian Ohana, and that the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones will always be remembered.”

In Hawaiian culture Ohana means family, and Wong’s usage of the word connotes extended family.

Among those honored at the ceremony were six Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, who were killed in action in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. As each of the fallen were mentioned, a family member or friend received the medal and a certificate in addition to the appreciation of the state of Hawaii, whether they grew up here or were stationed here.

Hawaii state legislature Rep. K. Mark Takai, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs, stressed the significance of this program.

“In 2005, when we first passed this legislation, I just don’t think we understood how important this was going to be, not only to the families, but more importantly to the people of Hawaii,” said Takai, who also serves as a commissioned officer in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Takai also highlighted the significant role the U.S. military plays in Hawaii.

“The military has been such an important part of our history,” he said. “Even pre-dating the start of World War II, the military has played a pivotal role in our state’s history. We are a unique state because of everybody coming together, including the military families, so we pay particular attention to our military.”
This is the eighth year that the Hawaii state legislature has honored people with Hawaii ties that died in wars overseas.

Little: North Koreans ‘Need to Dial the Temperature Down’

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – The world cannot afford a miscalculation when dealing with North Korea, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told CNN last night.

North Korea’s flouting of international agreements has made that nation a pariah. Recent rhetoric emanating from Pyongyang has increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and this needs to stop, Little said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ratcheted up the rhetoric since taking power after his father died. North Korea has tested long-range rockets, launched a satellite into orbit and tested nuclear weapons -- all in defiance of its pledged word to the United Nations.

And, North Korea continues to escalate the war of words by saying the 1953 armistice between North Korea and the United Nations is null and void. Kim has threatened to attack local, regional and international targets.

Little emphasized that the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its South Korean ally.

“I’m not going to speculate on what we may or may not do,” Little said. “Our desire is peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans have two choices. They can choose the path of peace or they can choose the path of provocation. One is better than the other for everyone involved, including the North Korean military and the North Korean people.”

South Korea is hosting a joint military exercise now. Following North Korea’s saber rattling, nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit bombers have participated in the maneuvers.

Kim has said North Korea is targeting U.S. bases in South Korea and said its tube- and rocket-launched artillery can range Seoul -- a city of 20 million.

Meanwhile, the United States is maintaining a sober, calm, cool, collected demeanor.

“That’s what we’re doing right now,” Little said. “And we are assuring our South Korean allies day-to-day that we stand with them in the face of these provocations.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is concerned about the risk of miscalculation in view of current events on the Korean Peninsula, Little said.

“We have guarded against miscalculation on the Korean Peninsula for over 60 years,” the press secretary said. “And the secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it's their job to ensure that our military is prepared to respond to any threat or contingency. We are.

“We hope to avoid miscalculation,” Little added. “We think we can. The North Koreans simply need to dial the temperature down.”

The men I left behind

Commentary by Capt. Belena S. Marquez
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

3/27/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- I'm one of the thousands of women who have gone to war.

I'm neither unique nor exceptional. If you ask around, you'll hear stories similar to mine.

In the past, expectations for girls didn't include the possibility of growing up to be veterans. We aren't born warriors. We've been brought up in a way that makes it possible.

To me, Women's History Month isn't only about recognizing the trailblazers of my gender; it's also about celebrating the change in our culture that makes the men in my life, who support me as an Airman, the norm instead of the exception.

Father, brother, husband and friends; these are the men I left behind that early morning when I headed to Afghanistan.

It was cold outside, but I made a quick phone call.

"Daddy, I'm headed over now," I said, when the line connected. We talked for a couple of minutes, and before we hung up my dad whispered, "Be safe, sweetie."

Then I left.

My dad stood behind me from the beginning. Growing up, he always told me that I could do and be whatever I wanted, as long as I worked hard for it. He made me believe in myself.

I ended up needing that belief on the days when I felt like I wasn't making a difference, when the mission seemed too tough to handle. When things were hard for me, my thoughts invariably went to the encouragement my dad always seemed to have just for me.

On the days when I needed to keep my chin up and stay positive, I thought of my brother.

My little brother was always trailing along behind me. When we were younger, he was always copying me and following my lead. He taught me that someone is always watching and learning from you.

That lesson came in handy when I interacted with a culture so very different from my own. For some of the Afghans I worked with, I was an oddity. As a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, I was a woman decked out in multi-cam when they were used to seeing the sun-bleached burkas that made the Afghan women in our area look like ghosts floating down the streets.

But, thanks to my little brother, I was used to being observed. I knew that they were learning about my culture through my actions, just as I was learning about theirs.

I discovered that the women I'd initially thought of as apparitions in the town were actually vibrant, opinionated and courageous as we worked together to build up the female journalist program.

For those in the service, it isn't a shock to discover someone who is both a woman and a service member. Though sometimes it's hard for people who don't understand the military to fathom that my husband stayed and I left.

Throughout my deployment, my husband had my back. While I was doing convoys and key leader engagements, he was taking care of our household. He was the one responsible for staying positive when I called. During those conversations, I relied on him to remind me of the world outside of my deployment. He sent care packages and waited for me to return. He brought me flowers when my plane touched down and I was finally home.

The trip to Afghanistan and back reminded both of us that service is more significant than gender, but not everyone understands that.

When I was enjoying my post-deployment vacation, I remembered someone else I left behind. I thought about a conversation I had with an ex-boyfriend when I was in high school. We were talking about what we wanted to do when we grew up and I mentioned that I wanted to join the Air Force.

"Sweetie," he said. "I don't think that'll be good for you. I don't think you're really tough enough for that."

Well, he can kiss my Combat Action Badge.

Defense Women’s Advisory Committee Adds New Members

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – Six new appointees have joined the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, according to a Defense Department news release issued today.

DACOWITS members include prominent civilian women and men representing a distribution of demography, academia, industry, public service and other professions, according to the release. Selection is on the basis of experience in the military or with women's-related workforce issues.

"The committee's work continues to be vital to the Department of Defense, especially as we move forward integrating women into previously closed occupational specialties and units within the U.S. military," Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright stated in the release. "I am thankful for the service of these new committee members as they join the ranks of those who have been catalysts for change in our Armed Forces."

The committee, established during the Korean War in 1951 by Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, is an independent advisory committee that provides the department with advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment and retention, treatment, employment, integration, and well-being of highly qualified professional women in the Armed Forces.

Previously comprised of 11 members, the 2013 charter authorizes a total of 20 committee members.
The incoming members include:
-- Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Bernise Belcer, Columbia, S.C.;
-- Teresa Christenson, Newport, R.I.;
-- Retired Coast Guard Capt. Beverly Kelley, Chester, Md.;
-- Rev. Dr. Cynthia Lindenmeyer, La Vista, Neb.;
-- Donna McAleer, Park City, Utah; and
-- Retired Army Lt. Col. Hae-Sue Park, Springfield, Va.

DACOWITS members are selected for a four-year term, without compensation, to perform a variety of duties including visiting military installations each year, conducting a review and evaluation of current research on military women, and developing an annual report with recommendations on these issues for service leadership and the secretary of defense.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

PACAF, Japan Airmen conduct ISR exchange

by Staff Sgt. Nathan Allen
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces' Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Airmen visited their Japanese counterparts at Naha and Kadena Air Base, Japan March 11 to 13 to find new ways to enhance ISR bilateral cooperation between the U.S. Air Force and the Koku-jieitai, or Japan Air Self Defense Force.

The visit, co-led by Maj. Gen. Yoshinari Marumo, JASDF Operations and Intelligence director, and Col. Lisa Ann Onaga, PACAF ISR director, focused on a mutual desire to increase security cooperation in the Pacific.

"In order to maintain and develop the Japan-U.S. alliance, shared awareness is essential, and I believe that ISR exchange is an essential prerequisite for having this shared awareness," said Marumo.

The exchange began inside a JASDF YS-11EB ISR aircraft at Naha, before conducting a similar sharing forum at Kadena Air Base inside a U.S. Air Force RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint ISR aircraft.

"We've done similar ISR engagements with the Koku-jieitai in the past; however, not to this level of detail or interaction," Onaga said. "These types of events will only increase in number and scope as we explore opportunities to mutually improve ISR capabilities and capacity with Japan."

After the static display forums, the Japan-U.S. ISR exchange concluded with a roundtable discussion at Kadena AB.

"The Japan-U.S. ISR Airmen crew exchange is a good opportunity for professionals, at the front line who concentrate to carry out their missions in a tense environment, to learn about each other's intelligence collection and analysis procedures, and also share each other's ideas," Marumo said.

Marumo also said he hopes to continue an extensive Japan-U.S. ISR exchange ranging from general and colonel level to ISR crew level to help strengthen intelligence cooperation.

"Regarding activities such as maintaining sovereignty in territorial waters and airspace surrounding Japan, Ballistic Missile Defense, and Operation Tomodachi after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I am confident that having a bilateral working relationship with the U.S. Air Force ISR will contribute to the security and stability of the region, as well as help accomplish the JASDF missions," said Marumo.

Onaga said she was thrilled with the progress made during the exchange and expects ISR engagements between PACAF and the JASDF to continue to expand.

"This particular engagement was extremely successful and we look forward to stepping up these types of events in the future," she said.

Honorary Commanders Program bridges gap between Warren, Cheyenne

by Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Civilian leaders from the Cheyenne community gathered March 19 in the Trail's End Club to be officially welcomed into the 90th Missile Wing Honorary Commanders Program.

"The Honorary Commanders Program is a program that matches a community leader with an Air Force commander in order to foster mutually beneficial relationships between the local community and F. E. Warren," said 2nd Lt. Christen Downing, 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs chief and Honorary Commanders Program coordinator. "The purpose of the program is so military commanders can keep a pulse on community concerns and learn about the civilian sector and for the community to learn about the Air Force, its mission, its policies and its programs."

Squadron, group and wing commanders are paired with their civilian counterpart from the local community, she explained.

Part of the mission of Air Force Public Affairs is to maintain a good relationship between the Air Force and the local communities its members live and work near. The Honorary Commanders Program is one of the many tools PA uses to further this end, she said.

"The Honorary Commanders Program has acted as a bridge between Cheyenne and F. E. Warren in the past," she added. "Both have been close partners since each were founded."

Honorary commanders are invited to attend many events on base with the unit commanders with whom they're paired, which gives insight into the inner workings of the military. It is a shared responsibility -- it is expected for honorary commanders to extend the same courtesy to their paired commanders, she said.

Those chosen to be honorary commanders are typically prominent members of the community whose job or position in the community somehow relates to the unit commanders with whom they're paired.

For instance, Col. Tom Wilcox, 90th Security Forces Group commander, is paired this year with Daniel Glick, Laramie County sheriff.

"I'm really looking forward to this," Glick said. "Any interaction with this base is good interaction. I've been at this for 33 years, and all our interactions have been great."

Local law enforcement regularly works with the 90th SFG to respond to and report suspicious activity in the missile complex, train and enforce the law; however, being part of the Honorary Commanders Program allows Wilcox and Glick to learn more about the individuals in each sector, military and civilian, Glick said.

"The Honorary Commanders Program brings us together in new environments in which we wouldn't get together otherwise," Wilcox said. "The sheriff is behind the base and the base's mission. We have to support each other back and forth."

Bridging the gap between the base and the local community is important, Wilcox said.

"It's the public's Air Force," he explained. "They can better understand and support the wing, the mission and the Airmen if they can better understand what we do.

"Everbody wants to tell our story. Our support comes from the public, and I think commanders at all levels are excited to get their stories. It reinforces the missile fields are in good hands."

DOD Releases Update to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Policy

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – The Department of Defense yesterday released updated policies and procedures aimed at combating sexual assaults in the military and improving care for victims.

Senior defense officials said the updated policies and procedures provide a framework that improves safety for sexual assault victims, standardizes victim-assistance services across the force, enhances prevention efforts and provides victims added confidence to come forward to report assaults and seek treatment.

“Today’s release of an updated policy directive underscores the department’s commitment to combating sexual assault on every level within the military,” said Army Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, director of DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

SAPRO officials said the policy changes came about through a coordinated effort among the services, the National Guard Bureau, the DOD inspector general, military healthcare providers, chaplains and the entire DOD community to improve every aspect of the department’s response to sexual assault.

“We have thousands of victims in the armed forces,” Air Force Col. Alan R. Metzler, SAPRO’s deputy director, said in an interview with American Forces Press Service. “We need to make sure that we prevent sexual assault from happening, and when it does, provide a response system that can care for people and hold people accountable so we can get the perpetrators out of the armed forces.”

The updated policies incorporate expedited transfers for victims, establish a hotline for crisis intervention, and require additional training as well as new, uniform standards for care givers.
“We have worked with the national certification body and codified into our policy that every victim advocate, every sexual assault response coordinator have a level of training and competence and national certification so that they are providing victims the best quality care,” Metzler said.

Senior Pentagon officials emphasize that the department has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault. In recent weeks, Patton has met with Capitol Hill lawmakers to discuss the department’s response to sexual assault, emphasizing that the Pentagon needs to do more to combat the crime while welcoming input from outside groups.

A goal of the new policies and procedures is to encourage sexual assault victims to have confidence in the system and to come forward and report crimes, which Metzler acknowledged are “vastly under reported.”

“The department takes this seriously, that when a victim tells us that they have been sexually assaulted, we will believe them,” he said. “We will protect their privacy. They will be able to have help and care because we understand the nature of this crime and we want them to come forward to get help.”

First female AF Academy graduate continues to lead

by Ken Wright
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The first 157 young women reported to the U.S. Air Force Academy June 26, 1976, following President Gerald Ford's authorization allowing women to enter military academies.

One of those women who marched up the Air Force Academy's legendary "Bring Me Men" ramp that day was Ricki Smith Selva, now wife of Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander.

"I think I have to speak for every single person who has entered a service academy, or basic training, when I say that day was traumatic," Mrs. Selva said. "It was profound, but at that moment I did not have an awareness of it being an historic event."

Mrs. Selva said it took decades to appreciate the significance of being a part of that first graduating class with women cadets.

Four challenging years at the Academy proved to be excellent preparation for the rigors of working in the traditionally male dominated field of Aircraft Maintenance.

"Which was a culture where a young woman constantly had to prove herself," Mrs. Selva said. "We should all be judged upon our merit without having to go through an extra step to make sure people understand we are tough and can make decisions without emotions, and we can be a leader on the flightline or anywhere else."

Despite those early difficulties, Selva said she credits many people for her growth as an officer during a period of great change. "My greatest challenge was to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could," she said. "It wasn't just my new job, although that was a big part of it. There was on-the-job-training with senior NCOs, and that was a tremendous learning experience."

General Selva said he learned a lot of lessons in leadership from his wife after they graduated from the academy in 1980.

"I watched her during the first few months we were married, working with a group of men that grew to respect her as an officer because she had high standards and she demanded those standards of her Airmen," he said. "When we all set high standards and demand them not just of ourselves, but of each other, that demand, that momentum makes our organization better. That is something we can't compromise. I learned that early on from watching her."

The success of Mrs. Selva and her female classmates and all the women before them helped pave the way not just for future generations of women who wanted to attend military academies, but also proved they could serve in positions once thought beyond a female's ability.

Mrs. Selva continues to lead alongside her husband to all Airmen across the Mobility Air Forces, with a particular interest in supporting Airmen and their families.

Hagel Commemorates Vietnam Veterans Day

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who’d served in Vietnam as an Army noncommissioned officer, today issued a statement commemorating Vietnam Veterans Day.

The secretary’s statement reads as follows:

“Today and this weekend, communities across the country commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day.
“This year we also mark forty years since the end of U.S. combat operations in Vietnam. On March 29, 1973, the last of our combat forces departed the country and the final release of American prisoners of war drew to a close.

“When Vietnam veterans reached their hometowns, many were not greeted with the appreciation and respect they very much deserved. In our time we must take every opportunity to thank all veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

“More than 1,600 service members remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Their families still seek answers. Today, the Department of Defense reaffirms its commitment to take all steps to account for our missing personnel and bring closure to their families. And we salute and thank our Vietnam veterans and their families.”

Face of Defense: Health Affairs Leader Reflects on Career

By Lisa Daniel
Military Health System

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – As the Defense Department observes Women’s History Month, its second-in-command for Health Affairs, Dr. Karen S. Guice, is a testament to how far women -- and men, too -- can climb when they reach out for new opportunities and have a strong support network.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Dr. Karen S. Guice, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, right, discusses work with Navy Cmdr. Karen Leahy at the Pentagon, March 28, 2013. DOD photo by Lisa Daniel

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
When Guice was in medical residency at the University of Washington to become a surgeon in the late 1970s, there were no female faculty members. In 1991, she became the first female faculty member in Duke University’s surgery department. Today, she noted, half of all medical students are women.

Guice attributes improved diversity at medical colleges to leadership growth and says the change is good for everyone.

“Your health care providers should reflect society,” she said in a recent interview with

Guice has served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for two years, as part of an appointment that combined her years as a practicing surgeon and clinical researcher with a mid-career move into the policy arena. Her ambition and quest for knowledge carried her through multiple higher degrees, prestigious fellowships, positions at various major medical centers, a health care advisor to a U.S. Senate committee, then senior appointments at the Veterans Affairs Department, and now, the Defense Department.

Ask her about her greatest achievement and Guice doesn’t hesitate: her marriage of 32 years to Keith Oldham, chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and their two sons, Christian and Brian, who are college students also pursuing science careers.

Now that her children are grown, Guice said she takes much satisfaction in knowing that the couple raised “two great kids” while pursuing demanding careers that often had them working in different cities.
“It has been interesting deciding whose career takes precedence over the other’s,” she said.

The couple met during their medical residency and married during Guice’s last year at the University of Washington just before Oldham left without her for a year in Cincinnati for a pediatric surgery fellowship. She later joined him there as a research fellow in pediatric surgery.

Over the next decade, the couple would manage to both get faculty positions in surgical departments at the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, then Duke University. It was at Duke where Guice decided to go into public policy.

“It was the start of the Clinton health care reform, and I just got tired of everybody whining about stuff,” she said of her fellow doctors’ frustration with the health care system. “I decided if you want to be part of that solution, you’ve got to learn to play in that arena.”

Guice took a year of absence from her faculty position in surgery to obtain a master’s degree in public policy. She didn’t perceive a career in government at the time, she said.

“I just felt I needed to speak the language and have the tools,” she said. “The coursework at Duke was very challenging and really fun. I learned the politics and the economics of public policy, and really enjoyed putting all the pieces together and coming up with the strategy.”

Guice soon applied for a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship and was accepted for the year-long program in 1996 to serve as a health policy advisor to the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor. Her husband and two young boys stayed behind at Duke and she flew home on weekends.

Guice credits her family’s support -- and that of a good, full-time nanny -- with allowing her to take opportunities like the one in Washington. When the fellowship ended and the committee’s chairman, Sen. James M. Jeffords, asked her to stay on for another year, her answer was “yes.”

“Spending that first year of marriage apart is how we learned to accommodate each other’s needs,” she said of her marriage. “We talk about career choices all the time. When I came back to D.C., [Oldham] was very supportive. He said having a happy wife who comes home weekends is better than having a grumpy wife who lives with me.”

In 1999, the family relocated to Milwaukee so Oldham could take a faculty position at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Unable to find a good job fit in Milwaukee, Guice went to work at the American College of Surgeons in Chicago, making a 90-minute commute by train each way every day. Not minding the commute and arriving home by 7 p.m., Guice said they were balancing as they always had, but with one difference: their nanny had not wanted to move north and they had been through a series of child care providers.

One night at dinner, they announced to their children that they had to let their latest nanny go, Guice said. Their older son, who was not yet in middle school, replied, “There goes No. 9.” The couple was incredulous, she said, until their son named all the nannies they had employed in just two years.

“There are times when you have to make choices,” Guice said. The couple agreed that she would give up her position as director of fellowships at the association to become an independent health services researcher, working from home. That change worked out well, she said, allowing her more time with her sons while they were at an impressionable age.

Asked about tips for success, Guice said it’s important to be self-aware and reflective, take risks, and pursue opportunities. Also, she said, mentoring is important -- not only to those being mentored, but also for mentors themselves.

Guice recalled her first interview with the chairman of the University of Michigan’s surgery department, who became her mentor.

“He said, ‘What can I do to help you? Because if you look good, I look better,’” Guice recalled.
“I always remembered that because if your people excel, it makes you look like the smartest kid on the block,” she said. “If your people perform extraordinarily well, the leader of whatever group it is, wins -- big-time.”

People should seek out mentors -- even where there aren’t formal programs, Guice said, adding that younger professionals ask if they can talk to her about careers, and she’s happy to help.

“You need different mentors for different things,” she said. “All you have to do is ask somebody. The worst thing they can say is, ‘No, I don’t have time talk to you.’ Most people, if you ask them, they will say, ‘Sure.’ I’ve never had anybody say, ‘No.’”

Living legend imparts raid experiences on Goodfellow

by 1st Lt. Leanne Hedgepeth
17th Training Wing Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Team Goodfellow members and downtown guests filed into the base theater, March 26, anticipating the arrival of Doolittle Raider, retired Army Air Force Lt Col. Richard Cole.

17th Training Wing Commander, Col. Mark Damiano was the host for the afternoon. He opened the floor with a brief history of the Doolittle Raid then presented a historical video of the raid.

Throughout his career, Cole was involved in more than 500 combat hours and 250 combat missions.

In 1942, Cole was asked to volunteer for a top secret mission. According to Damiano, Cole received the request in a very modest manner.

The mission entailed travelling to the Pacific to drop bombs on Tokyo. On April 18, 1942, Cole, alongside Lt Col. Jimmy Doolittle, departed for Tokyo. The crew had to take off much sooner than planned because of escalating conflict; the aircraft fuel levels were low. They took off knowing it was likely a one way mission and would end up in the Chinese fields if they survived.

Nonetheless, the crew met the challenge with a "gung ho" attitude. "We were determined to get the job done and get the heck out," said Cole.

The early take off worked much to the crew's advantage. They became the beneficiaries of a long tail wind allowing them to make it to China after dropping bombs over Tokyo and bailing out of their aircraft.

When Cole made it to the ground, he was in enemy territory. His only hope was to find a Chinese nationalist establishment. He made a hammock out of his parachute and prepared to venture out into the country the following day.

He walked all day until he saw a building with Chinese national flags. There he was reunited with Doolittle and a few other crew members. "I felt very lucky to have met the nationals," said Cole.

Out of the 80 crew members involved in the raid, only 64 returned.

After the raid, Cole continued to fly missions. He is the recipient of three Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and two Air Medals.

His advice to young Airmen is to pick out a training specialty and go as far as you can, keep up with the training and do your best.

Air War College's international fellows festival fosters cultural understanding

by Lt. Col. Tricia York
Air War College Class of AY 2013

3/29/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Nearly 1,000 people enjoyed a sampling of international food and friendship at the Air War College's International Fellows Cultural Festival, held March 23 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

The annual event featured native culture and food from 41 different countries, represented by the 44 international students attending Air War College this academic year. Students, staff, faculty and their families sampled dishes as diverse as kangaroo sausage from Australia, cous cous from Kuwait, desserts from Morocco, knafah from Jordan, and hand-rolled Japanese sushi. As they did so, they had the opportunity to learn more about other nations by examining photos, clothing, jewelry and other representative items.

"It's exciting to see leaders from so many nations literally breaking bread together, in an effort to build life-long friendships that contribute to international peace and stability," said Maj. Gen. Scott M. Hanson, commander and commandant of Air War College. "The many opportunities we have to interact with our international students is a prime reason the Air Force gave Air Education and Training Command the lead role in building international partnerships."

"As the world gets more collected and more globalized, we're always going to have to work together," said Air War College student Group Capt. Clive Blount, Royal Air Force, United Kingdom. Blount, along with Col. Enrico Pederzolli, from the Italian Air Force, were lead planners for the annual event.

"Partnership building is what it's all about," continued Blount. "This event is a way of breaking down barriers and getting to understand each other's culture."

Many international fellows who attend Air University courses later become senior leaders and decision makers after returning to their home country. Air University's International Officer School maintains an honor roll of more than 400 foreign military students from 89 countries who have risen to senior positions--including equivalents to the U.S. Air Force chief of staff.

"Maxwell Air Force Base has a unique opportunity to shape global relationships and we're very proud of that role," said Col. Trent Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. "We're especially grateful to our community partners from the Montgomery region, many of whom host our international guests and introduce them to the United States."

The lasting impact of these civilian "goodwill ambassadors" was recently noted by Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Joint Staff of the Japanese Self-Defense Force. During a visit back to Air University, the general recounted that his first stop was to see his former host family.

"For many of our students, this year might be the best opportunity they have to get to know their peers from other nations and exchange ideas about global security," said Hanson. "They get to be ambassadors for their country, and at the festival I was struck to observe the bonds of friendship being formed here."

AMC announces annual award winners

from Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Six Airmen and two teams learned they were AMC's annual award winners as they received phone calls from the AMC commander and command chief, March 25, 2013.

The categories of annual award winners are Airman, NCO, Senior NCO, First Sergeant, Honor Guard Member, Honor Guard Program Manager, Honor Guard Team and First Sergeant Council.

Chief Kaiser said, "Every year I am amazed by the quality and superb accomplishments of our annual award winners. The accomplishments and caliber of our winners continues a strong record of recognizing phenomenal Airmen. They represent a diverse mix of specialties, yet they all share a thread: they are the epitome of our Air Force Core Values. We are so proud of them all. And very thankful for their supervisors, commanders, and enlisted leaders in recognizing their families for enabling our award winners to serve our country."

The recipients are:

AMC Airman of the Year
Senior Airman Devin Jaggers, 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill AFB, Fla., is a Phoenix Raven team member and was the AMC Raven and 6th Mission Support Group Airman of the Year. A Below-the-Zone promotee to Senior Airman, Jaggers' accolades continued when the MacDill Chiefs Group selected him for their Warrior Award. One night, while working the MacDill gate, he detected an intoxicated driver, searched the vehicle and seized 1.7 grams of cocaine.

AMC NCO of the Year
Tech. Sgt. Jose Ramon Jr., 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif., is an airlift and special mission aircraft maintenance craftsman. He was the 60th Air Mobility Wing NCO of the Year. Ramon prepared the first aircraft from Travis to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in only six hours. The jet was loaded and en route two hours later. He also fixed the Air Force's only C-5C enabling the transport of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble telescope. Ramon led the team for a maintenance group "elephant walk" and led the group effort to launch 12 aircraft in 23 minutes.

AMC Senior NCO of the Year
Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron, JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., is the unit's air freight superintendent. As a first sergeant, he managed a deployed member family crisis where he secured the spouse's medical care and returned the Airman from the overseas location all in less than 48 hours. Rendon also managed a post-suicide response and coordinated the military support, memorial service and crisis management for the family and the unit's 419 Airmen.

AMC First Sergeant of the Year
Master Sgt. Kristopher K. Green, 87th Civil Engineer Squadron, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, has been a first sergeant since 2011. His accomplishments include preventing a suicide and being the 87th Air Base Wing First Sergeant of the Year. Following Hurricane Sandy, he recruited more than 100 volunteers to assist with local recovery efforts that strengthened community bonds.

AMC Honor Guard Member of the Year
Staff Sgt. Alexandra R. Crawley, Grand Forks AFB, N.D., is the NCO in charge of the Honor Guard. She led the training for 14 Honor Guard members and was unanimously selected as the Honor Guard's Airman of the Quarter and as the Elite Ceremonial Guardsman. In addition, officials handpicked Crawley to instruct flag etiquette at local school for more than 500 students. As the weapons manager, she strictly controlled 54 rifles and tracked 1,200 rounds of ammunition.

AMC Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year
Master Sgt. Gary Knight, JB MDL, N.J., is the NCO in charge of the Honor Guard at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Knight trained the Honor Guard members that inspired thousands at 15 major league baseball, football and hockey games. He led a joint honor guard that honored fallen military and New Jersey police members. Knight also coordinated 20 dignified transfers at seven international airports. Knight also created an eight-day training program preparing 600 active duty and Reserve component Airmen for duty seven days faster than previous training programs. Informed of a last-minute tasking, he flawlessly rendered a same-day saber salute to the Italian Prime Minister.

AMC Honor Guard Team of the Year
The Honor Guard Team of the Year is from JB MDL, N.J. In 2012, they rendered 2,600 funeral honors and 600 civic events in their five-state area of responsibility -- the largest in the Air Force. Among the funeral honors were those rendered for eight fallen heroes and for an original Tuskegee Airman. The team also honored fallen military working dogs, which bolstered Security Forces resiliency. In the community, they participated in the Navy's Fleet Week in New York City and organized the Armed Forces Week drill and parade sequence, training 50 joint colors teams. The honor guard also sorted 900,000 pounds of supplies over seven days to speed relief to 30 townships affected by Hurricane Sandy.

AMC First Sergeant Council of the Year
The First Sergeant Council of the Year is from JB MDL, N.J. The council significantly improved the joint base quality of life through numerous events and programs. Among those were providing funds to 500 new parents, new couples and deployed spouses who were in need. They empowered an independent dorm council that reinvigorated the group. They also promoted 15 social events for deployed families by going door-to-door inviting people to attend. In advance of Hurricane Sandy, they hand delivered 6,000 MREs to dormitory residents and sustained all 574 members during the crisis. After the storm hit, they distributed $5,000 before FEMA could respond. As family liaison officers, they escorted 100 family members as they honored nine air advisors killed in action.

Missing World War II Pacific Theater Pilot Identified

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – The remains of a serviceman from World War II have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced in a DOD news release issued today.

Army 1st Lt. John E. Terpning, of Mount Prospect, Ill., will be buried on April 3 in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. On May 7, 1944, Terpning was a pilot of a B-24D Liberator aircraft that departed Nadzab, New Guinea, on a bombing mission.

Due to mechanical troubles, the B-24D was delayed in departing the airbase and was unable to join the formation after takeoff. The aircraft, Terpning, nor the nine other crewmen aboard the plane were seen after takeoff. In 1946, the War Department declared all ten men to be presumed dead.

In 1973, a Papua New Guinea Forest Department official reported a wartime aircraft in the mountains northeast of the city of Lae. In October 1973, a team of Royal Australian Air Force members responded to the report and visited the site, where they found aircraft wreckage that corresponded to that of a B-24D.
At that time the RAAF recovered possible human remains, which were transferred to the U.S. Army Mortuary in Tachikawa, Japan. However, given the limited technology at that time, no human remains were individually identified. In 1974, the remains were buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery.

In April 2008, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team was sent to investigate and survey the crash site. The team recovered aircraft wreckage from a B-24D and additional remains, including a radio call sign data plate that matched the aircraft.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Terpning's brother.

At the end of World War II, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 Americans are unaccounted-for from that conflict.

First woman to lead air campaign

by Airman 1st Class Alexander Riedel
Air Force News Service

3/30/2013 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- In early 2011, the world watched in horror as the aging dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi turned his weapons against his own people in what became a bloody civil war in the North African state of Libya. Soon, the Libyan army was bearing down on Benghazi, the second largest city in the country, threatening an estimated 700,000 civilians in its path to crush the rebellion.

In March 2011, NATO officials agreed to take control of a no-fly zone, limiting Gaddafi's air force, while at the same time targeting his ground units with coalition forces.

During the resulting Operation Odyssey Dawn, Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, then the 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa commander, led the American air campaign, making her the first woman to oversee a U.S.-led air war -- a mission that came rather unexpected.

The 17th Air Force was a unit that supported humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in Africa. From the very beginning of what became known as the "Arab Spring," Woodward's command was involved in providing air support to North Africa, monitoring the unfolding situation and preparing to support the State Department with noncombatant evacuations and humanitarian assistance after political protests in Tunisia began in December 2010.

"These operations were important, not only because they helped provide relief for the people of North Africa, but also because they provided a very visible reminder of American resolve and concern," Woodward said.

As conditions deteriorated in Libya, AFAFRICA's mission quickly grew in scope and urgency because it called for a new, sustained no-fly zone, and included a mandate to protect civilians.

Despite the difficult task, and only days after the first jets took to the Libyan sky, Gaddafi's air defense system was successfully disabled.  The move effectively protected thousands of noncombatants in the area from indiscriminate air strikes and land raids.

From her headquarters in Germany, Woodward oversaw the operations via intelligence feeds and satellite communications, coordinating naval units and international cooperation, orchestrating units spread widely throughout Europe.

"This was not just a joint operation; it was also a coalition operation and one of the most challenging aspects of Odyssey Dawn involved coalition integration," Woodward said.

"The speed with which this coalition grew was extraordinary and presented a major integration challenge since each partner came with unique employment caveats. However, each partner also came with unique capabilities that made us much stronger than we would have been as individuals."

At its peak, the 17th Air Force grew to about 320 Airmen and civilians, while coordinating air operations across Africa and promoting air safety, security and development throughout the continent at a time of high tension.

"In fact, in just a two-month span, our Airmen planned five noncombatant evacuation operations for citizens in Tunisia, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Egypt and Libya," Woodward said. "Now, every one of these efforts was a test for a very lean command of only 300 people, but nothing was a greater test than the Operation Odyssey Dawn air campaign, the Air Force-led effort in Libya."

Woodward later said commanding the 17th Air Force was "The greatest privilege of my life."

For her part in the historic mission, Woodward was recognized as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2011.

But Woodward has been preparing for her role among the Air Force's top leaders for decades.

After her 1982 graduation from the Arizona State University, Woodward joined the Air Force, following in the footsteps of her grandfather who flew in World War I. She once said for as long as she can remember, she wanted to be in the pilot's seat. Yet, when she joined pilot training in 1983, women were not allowed fly fighter jets into combat.

Woodward, however, amassed more than 3,800 flight hours, mostly in tankers such as the KC-135 Stratotanker, which allowed her combat flights early on. She flew and commanded in operations Just Cause, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, making her an expert authority in the practical use and application of air power.

"I was still smarting under the fact that I couldn't go fly a fighter, and women couldn't fly in combat. Thankfully, that changed over time," Woodward told the Tampa Tribune in a 2005 interview. "Generally, you're accepting of it, but there are times when it just all piles up on you, and you kind of lash out against it."

From 2007 to 2009 she was the first woman to command the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., home of Air Force One, and after less than three decades in her olive-drab flightsuit, Woodward led a whole air campaign into war.

"It has been an evolution," Woodward told CNN in 2011. "I remember in my early days, thanking the women that came before me, that flew in WWII and made it possible that women could fly. And I'd like to think that what we did in the early days of my generation made it possible for the women who are flying fighters today."

Leaving behind the air campaign in Africa, Woodward continued her commitment to the Air Force in a new assignment. On Sept. 17, 2012, she took on the responsibility for all Airmen's well-being as the Air Force's chief of safety.

Within weeks on the job, Woodward took on a battle of a different sort, leading the investigation into sexual misconduct charges against military training instructors at Joint-Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The large-scale investigation included 215 in-depth interviews, surveyed more than 18,000 personnel and conducted focus groups with basic military trainees and training-instructor spouses.

Woodward's team produced 22 findings categorized into five major areas: leadership; MTI selection and manning; MTI training and development; misconduct reporting and detection; and policy and guidance -- as well as 46 recommendations to improve those areas.

"It is important to remember ... honorable men and women throughout the Air Force continue to serve every day with distinction," Woodward said in her final report. "These dedicated Airmen build our Air Force one person at a time and remain proud of their mission and themselves. Their efforts continue to produce the world's greatest fighting force."

Woodward's career is varied and has had impact on countless lives, yet she contributes it to being part of a strong team of Airmen she strives to protect as chief of safety.

"The thing that kept me in the Air Force is the folks I work with -- the people, the Airmen you are able to command," Woodward told the German magazine The Spiegel in 2011. "They are the most incredible people I can imagine. When you watch their dedication and their expertise -- there's no way to describe the emotion and the pride you feel. I'm just very proud to be part of a team like that."

Centcom-area Troops to Get Commercial Tickets for R&R Flights

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – Beginning in April, service members and others serving overseas in U.S. Central Command’s area of operations will be issued commercial airline tickets to travel to their rest and recuperation leave destination, officials said.

Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Centcom’s overseas AOR encompasses a region stretching from Egypt to Afghanistan, officials said.

Previously, the only R&R travel option was to fly charter air to Atlanta or Dallas from Kuwait, said Army Lt. Col. Dave Homza, chief of the R&R Task Force. Now service members will be issued individual commercial tickets to their approved R&R leave destination, be it stateside or elsewhere in the world.

A pilot program that started Jan. 15 offered commercial tickets to some service members and DOD civilians when flying home from Kuwait on R&R.

Full transition to commercial tickets for all R&R passengers begins April 1 as charter flights end, an Army official said.

The Army has been serving as DOD’s executive agent for Centcom’s R&R Leave Program since it started in 2003, Homza said. About 96 percent of the passengers taking R&R flights over that timespan have been soldiers.

Eligibility requirements for R&R flights remain the same, he said. The person must be on at least a 12-month tour within the CENTCOM overseas area of operations, with at least 270 days on the ground.

At peak troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1,000 passengers a day were flying charter air to Atlanta or Dallas, Homza said. Today, that number has fallen to several dozen passengers daily.

As the drawdown in Afghanistan picked up last year and as tours began decreasing from 12 to nine months, the Dallas R&R gateway was closed, consolidating R&R passengers traveling to the continental U.S. in Atlanta, he said.

Also, smaller aircraft were chartered to save additional money, he added.

During peak troop levels, the charters made good economic sense, Homza said. Now, transitioning to individual commercial tickets is more economical and gives soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and DOD civilians more travel flexibility, he added.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Joint Task Force builds skills, ties with RAF at unique exercise

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

3/27/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Units deploying to U.S. Transportation Command's Eagle Flag exercise at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst N.J., can expect to encounter austere field conditions, heated interaction with role players acting as difficult locals, and lots and lots of cargo.

But when air mobility specialists from the British Royal Air Force arrived to assume control of the airfield training area from the 621st Contingency Response Wing's 817th Contingency Response Group, it added a level of realism few anticipated.

"The Expeditionary Center set up an amazing scenario for us," said Col. David Kuenzli, Joint Task Force - Port Opening commander and commander of the 817th CRG. "There is no other venue like Eagle Flag besides an actual operation where you can train handing off to a follow on force to operate an airfield. Adding the complexity of a coalition partnership to the mix forced our team to address questions we would never have thought to ask."

Traditionally, contingency response forces assume they will handoff operations to a mobility type of operation conducted by a U.S. team with the same capabilities. Kuenzli said they were reminded during this week's exercise this was a bad assumption.

"Our doctrine tells us we will be able to hand off to any type of air operation," he explained. "It might be combat air forces centric; it might be strike, or surveillance. What the British did is they came in and announced they were planning to use the air mobility location we had established for a close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance base.

"That forced us to think about how to run an airfield with both large cargo mobility aircraft, as well as small fast attack and unmanned platforms. Weapons storage and loading areas, airspace management for unmanned vehicles, and noise concerns with local populations were all things I considered before. Those were questions we could never have answered without face-to-face planning with our coalition partners."

The RAF was integrated into the large Eagle Flag scenario in two phases.

The British Expeditionary Air Wing is in the process of building their own contingency response organization, so for the first half of the week they were out in the field as observers and asked questions about how Air Mobility Command conducts its contingency response operations.

"On the last operational day of our exercise, our RAF observers returned as role players for the follow-on force who would assume control of the airfield operation the JTF-PO had established," said Kuenzli. "At that point it became a sharing of experience and information between coalition partners with a common goal."

The process wasn't as simple as handing the keys to the airfield over and getting on a plane, explained squadron leader Jim McGhee, RAF Expeditionary Air Wing training officer from RAF High Wycombe. His role as a member of the visiting training team was to prepare training programs for the Royal Air force equivalent of the U.S. Air Force's Contingency Response Wing. There was a lot of information that needed to be transferred and translated into the force structures used by the RAF.

There was a lot of surveying and examination, to include force protection, intelligence and manpower, McGhee explained.

"When we arrive, we will need to quickly go out and gather all of the data to fully understand what our EAW will need to continue the mission, to include force protection, intelligence and logistics," McGhee said. "Then we had to bring it in and put it all on the table and come up with a plan together for a smooth transition of airfield authority.

"In addition, this is an austere base where you bring everything you need to operate," McGhee continued. "This opened our eyes to the fact we won't always be working in an established base and will need to overcome a new set of challenges to just get operations up to speed."

Despite the challenges, McGhee saw the foundation of a strong partnership.

"A lot of the ways we do business is very similar," he said. "We share the philosophy every Airman is a warfighter first, and performing multiple jobs is essential to mission accomplishment."

Kuenzli agreed, and added that finding common ground is vital to working with outside agencies and even partner and coalition nations.

"The hardest thing about working in a team is identifying common ground and keeping conversations, agreements and coordination inside those boundaries," Kuenzli said. "It's easy with the RAF since we share a similar culture and many of the same methods of operation. But some nations are very different in the ways they operate and the priorities they have during operations. Finding the common ground and the red lines is much trickier, but the only way to learn these skills is to practice them together."

Kuenzli sees this as the beginning of a partnership that will grow to help them create a contingency response force able to respond much like the 621 CRW.

"This event was great but it was only the first step," he said. "We spent a limited amount of time doing a tabletop discussion trying to highlight the capabilities each of us brought and the limitations each of us had and tried hard to close the gap between the two. It was very informative but it was also very short and mostly an academic session. The next step is to elevate it to a more robust event where we make our Airmen actually attempt to solve the problems we identified

"It was a true pleasure working with Wing Commander Roberts and his officers and men," Kuenzli concluded. "They were all consummate professionals and incredibly eager to learn. I hope we get to train together again, as our Airmen really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from them as well."

Air Force Exercise Eagle Flag is a USAF Chief of Staff directed exercise, supported by Air Mobility Command. The training is directed by the USAF Expeditionary Center and executed by the USAF EC Expeditionary Operations School located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Eagle Flag is designed for developing, testing and rehearsing the expeditionary combat support library of capabilities. Traditionally an air base opening exercise, it has evolved into a proof of concept and mission rehearsal for joint task force-port opening, close the operating location, aeromedical evacuation operations, defense support to civil authorities, contingency response element integration, irregular warfare, humanitarian operations and other contingencies faced by our nation and its allies.