Saturday, August 31, 2013

U.S. Navy, Australian Defence Force Recover and Dispose of Jettisoned Ordnance

From U.S. Seventh Fleet Public Affairs
SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy and Australian Defense Force (ADF) successfully recovered and disposed of the live ordnance emergency-jettisoned by two AV-8B Harrier aircraft on July 16 off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

The two inert and two unarmed live rounds were located by Royal Australian Navy minehunter HMAS Gascoyne on August 16. The two unarmed live rounds were retrieved by divers from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) Five Aug 29 and 30, using lift balloons to bring the ordnance safely to the water surface, after which they were transported to the approved Triangular Island ordnance demolition area and destroyed.

In conducting the retrieval Seventh Fleet coordinated closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and ADF to ensure the environment was protected with the greatest care. No immediate environmental damage was seen during either the search or recovery of the ordnance and GBRMPA officers will continue to monitor the area.

With agreement from the GBRMPA, the two inert rounds, which are cement-filled training facsimiles of the real ordnance, were left on the sandy bottom floor due to difficult diving conditions. They pose no danger to the environment. Inert ordnance is a cement filled training device that resembles actual ordnance but does not have explosives, electronics, propellant or fusing mechanisms.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said he was pleased at the successful outcome of the operation and the strong and rapid response by both the Australian and US defence teams.

"I am very grateful for the extensive effort that the Australian and U.S. defence personnel have put into finding and retrieving the ordnance so quickly and for the cautious approach they've taken," he said.

"There's been a high level of cooperation between our agency, the ADF and the US Navy throughout this operation. Survey images confirm the ordnance landed on a sandy bottom, well away from coral and any sensitive habitat.

"Our personnel will continue to monitor the area in the coming days for any potential impacts following the recovery and disposal part of the operation. Two unarmed pieces of ordnance were disposed of safely at an existing defence training beach using well-established procedures approved by GBRMPA for detonations. We supported the U.S. Navy's decision to leave the inert rounds on the seafloor due to the challenging and potentially unsafe diving conditions - these devices are not actual ordnance and pose no risk to people or the environment, as they are simply made of steel filled with concrete," said Reichelt.

U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich congratulated the joint U.S. Navy and Australian Defence Force teams on this effort.

"Americans join Australians in commending our joint forces in successfully removing and disposing of this training ordnance. One of the reasons we train is to ensure that -- even in an emergency situation -- we take care to protect sensitive environments. Our forces demonstrated precisely that approach first by jettisoning the ordnance away from sensitive locations, and then by safely retrieving the live ordnance so quickly and responsibly," said Bleich.

ADF Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power also said he was pleased with the success of the operation.

"Each step of this operation has demonstrated the successful working relationship between the USN, ADF and GBRMPA. The United States and Royal Australian Navy's should be congratulated on the successful recovery and disposal of the ordnance, while ensuring that all environmental and safety requirements were met," said LTGEN Power.

The recovery and disposal was a joint effort that included assets from the US Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit Five, airlift provided by the US Air Force, search assets from the RAN, and observers from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

"This successful joint operation demonstrates our commitment to the environment, close working relationship with our Australian allies, and full cooperation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority," said Vice Admiral Robert Thomas, Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Army Launches 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Vietnam War

By J.D. Leipold
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2013 – The afternoon in the Pentagon auditorium on Aug. 28 was a time for reflection on a war that spanned 10 years and cost the country the lives of more than 58,000 young men and women. It was also an occasion to honor and thank nine Vietnam War veterans who’d served a total of 14 tours in-country and 225 years in uniform.

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Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell praises nine Vietnam War veterans for their service, Aug. 28, 2013, at the Pentagon's kick-off of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War, which spanned from 1965 to 1975. U.S. Army photo by J.D. Leipold

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Kicking off the Pentagon's first event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the conflict, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, deputy chief of staff for logistics, opened the ceremony recalling personal memories as well as his broader experiences as a young American citizen.

"I was a young Army brat and it was difficult for me to watch my dad come back after his third tour in Vietnam and not get treated appropriately, at least in my mind," Mason said. "I was just a pretty young guy at that time, but I could feel that it wasn't right. It struck me, and I knew if I ever had the opportunity to make that right I would do the best I could.

"Today, we are recognizing nine of our patriots and their families who stood up to the test of their generation and their decade," he continued. "I think it's well overdue. Nothing is more important than pausing and reflecting on the sacrifices of what these great men and women did and those who gave their last full measure."

On March 8, 1965, America's ground war in Vietnam began when 3,500 Marines were deployed with the American public's support. By Christmas, nearly 200,000 soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors were in the country. At war's end on April 30, 1975, nearly 3 million Americans had been on the ground, in the air and on rivers of Vietnam. More than 58,000 Americans lost their lives.

While the official 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be in 2015, the president and Congress requested the secretary of Defense to begin planning the Vietnam War commemoration in 2007.
The goal is to get more than 10,000 corporations, civic groups as well as government and community organizations to join as partners and help sponsor hometown events to honor Vietnam veterans, their families and those who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

To date, 4,921 commemorative partners have signed on, including Army logistics, or G-4, which became the first.

Following Mason's remarks, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell thanked him and his team for leading the way to celebrate the contributions of Vietnam veterans.

The son of an Air Force senior master sergeant, Campbell told of his years growing up on military bases around the world before attending West Point, and then recalled his first interaction with Vietnam veterans while a lieutenant in Germany.

"Both the battalion commanders were Vietnam veterans ... all the platoon sergeants, all the first sergeants, all the company commanders were Vietnam veterans," Campbell said. The vets, he said, instilled in him their hard-fought lessons-learned from Vietnam and wanted to make sure the young lieutenants and soldiers wouldn't make the same mistakes they had.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claude "Mick" Kicklighter serves as director of the U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration. During the Pentagon event he previewed the timeline of plans for honoring Vietnam veterans across the country over the next few years.

"Veterans of Valor," a 30-minute documentary with the nine honorees recalling humorous and somber anecdotes of their war experiences and interspersed with still photographs of themselves in Vietnam was also premiered.

Hagel Praises ‘Unbreakable’ U.S.-Philippine Alliance

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 30, 2013 – On the last stop of what he called a “very productive” trip to four countries in Southeast Asia, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met today with Philippine government and defense leaders and later paid his respects to U.S. troops laid to rest at the Manila American Cemetery.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, second from left, meets with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Aug. 30, 2013. DOD photo by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The secretary left Washington, D.C., Aug. 22 and visited his counterparts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei before arriving today in Manila.

In Brunei on Aug. 28 he attended a meeting of defense ministers from 10 countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. The 10 member states are Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Yesterday, he attended the second-ever meeting of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus, a group made up of the 10 ASEAN defense ministers and eight dialogue partners: defense ministers from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, New Zealand and Russia.

Today in Manila, after meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Malacanang Palace, Hagel and National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin held a press conference there.

“In my meeting with President Aquino I noted that the deep and unbreakable alliance between the United States and the Philippines is an anchor for peace and stability and prosperity in this region,” Hagel said.

“Our close ties to the Philippines have been forged through a history of shared sacrifice and common purpose,” he added, “and continuing to strengthen the close partnership between our nations is an important part of America’s long-term strategy of rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific.”

An important topic of discussion among the three men and Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario involved ongoing negotiations for a Framework Agreement that would allow U.S. forces to operate on Philippine military bases and in Philippine territory and waters to help build Philippine armed forces capacity in maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

The last time the United States and the Philippines signed a mutual defense treaty was in 1951, and the new Framework Agreement would update the agreement for routine troop rotations and related activities, according to a senior defense official traveling with the secretary.

“The visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the Philippines coincides with an important date for Philippines-U.S. defense relations,” Gazmin said at the press conference. “For it was on 30 Aug. 1951 that the mutual defense treaty was signed. Today is the 62nd anniversary.”

“In the spirit of that [early] treaty and its continuing relevance today, President Aquino and I reaffirmed the progress being made in the ongoing discussions for our Framework Agreement,” Hagel said.

Hagel said the Framework Agreement will strengthen cooperation between the two militaries and help them work together more effectively. He noted that the negotiating teams are working hard to finish the agreement.

“The United States does not seek permanent bases in the Philippines,” Hagel said. “That would represent a return to an outdated Cold War mentality. Instead, we are using a new model of military-to-military cooperation befitting two great allies and friends.”

Increasing the United States’ rotational presence in the Philippines as it has done recently in Singapore and Australia will benefit the U.S. and Philippine militaries, Hagel said, by increasing their ability to train and operate together and support President Aquino’s defense modernization agenda.

The United States has a great deal of experience in building a modern military, the secretary said.
“And we would like to share what we’ve learned with our Philippine allies,” Hagel added.

The leaders also discussed the situation in the South China Sea, where many countries have overlapping claims on the area that could lead to tensions in the maritime domain.

Hagel called this “an issue the United States, our allies, partners and friends in this part of the world hope will be resolved peacefully and without coercion.”

The United States supports ASEAN efforts to negotiate a South China Sea Code of Conduct, which Hagel said would help peacefully manage disagreements and disputes that arise from competing territorial and maritime claims.

“In the meantime,” the secretary said, “we encourage nations to peacefully resolve their disputes through internationally accepted mechanisms in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea.”

Later in the afternoon, Hagel took time from his schedule to honor 17,202 fallen troops from World War II, Americans and some Filipinos who fought shoulder to shoulder, buried at the Manila American Cemetery here on 152 acres of elegantly designed green space settled on gently rising ground.

On the rise is a simple tower that contains a small chapel and altar. On a regular schedule, a carillon plays the national songs of the Philippines and the United States, then Taps.

Flaring from each side like parentheses are two long narrow structures formed into a series of open rooms. Some rooms have stone benches but most have nothing except maps or names on the walls.
On some walls are drawn colorful maps that detail different World War II battles -- the defense of Luzon, 8 Dec. 1941 to 6 May 1942, for example, or the defense of Southeast Asia, December 1941 to May 1942.

Most walls contain the names and details of 36,286 of the missing. According to literature from the cemetery, 16,919 are from the U.S. Army and Army Air Force, 17,582 are from the U.S. Navy, 1,727 from the U.S. Marine Corps, and 58 are Coast Guard.

The Manila American Cemetery is located within the boundaries of the old U.S. Army reservation of Fort William McKinley.

Those resting forever in the cemetery here represent 40 percent of the burials made originally in temporary cemeteries in New Guinea, the Philippines and other islands of the Southwest Pacific, and in the Palau Islands of the Central Pacific, according to the cemetery booklet.

Most of these troops fell in the epic defense of the Philippines and East Indies in 1941 and 1942 or in the long but victorious return of the American forces through the vast island chain, the book said. The cemetery and memorial were finished in 1960. The cemetery was dedicated on Dec. 8, 1960.

At the cemetery, Hagel walked from the motorcade to an area across from the chapel and tower that was covered against the tropical sun. A large display of flowers filled the chapel doorway. He and a small group stood at attention while the carillon played through its songs to Taps.

The secretary approached the chapel and climbed the few steps. He stood for a moment before the display honoring the troops, then offered a quick salute and turned to walk down the stairs.

The graves area is divided into 11 curved lettered plots forming concentric bands around the high ground of the memorial. After examining the chapel, Hagel spent time walking among some of the cemetery’s 17,097 white-cross headstones.

Memorials honor memory of 19-year-old

by Alex Salinas
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

8/30/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- A memorial 5K run/walk simultaneously took place at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 19 to honor the memory of Josie Seebeck, daughter of Lt. Col. Peter Seebeck, Air Education and Training Command deputy staff judge advocate.

Josie, a 19-year-old sophomore midfielder on the Central Michigan University women's soccer team, was injured in an automobile accident along with two other players Aug. 2 outside Lansing, Mich., and died Sunday, Aug. 4.

The 5K, organized by legal office staff members at JBSA-Randolph, fell on the same day as Josie's birthday and was a "dual-continent event which stood as a tribute to Jo's kindness, talent and athleticism," said Capt. Connie Wilkes, AETC judge advocate chief of commercial law.

Josie, who graduated from Ramstein High School in 2012, amassed numerous athletic accolades. She was selected for all-region, all-tournament and all-Europe first teams her junior and senior years and was named Most Valuable Player of the team, Wilkes said.

About 30 of Josie's friends and former soccer teammates at Ramstein participated in the memorial 5K in Germany. At JBSA-Randolph, more than 40 runners arrived on the running trail adjacent to the Rambler Fitness Center including Josie's mother Amy, and four younger sisters: Katherine, Margaret, Elizabeth and Madeline.

"She was a really nice kid and well loved," Peter said. "She went to (Catholic) Mass while in college and that moved her. She wanted to be a physical therapist and wanted to have a big family because she loved the one she was in.

"It was a beautiful life."

Before the event kicked off at noon at JBSA-Randolph - which was 7 p.m. at Ramstein - Maj. LaChandra Richardson, AETC judge advocate chief of strategic services, presented a portrait of Josie she drew as a commemorative birthday gift to the Seebeck family.

The gesture, followed by a prayer from Chaplain (Col.) Steven Schaick, AETC command chaplain, provided a brief moment for the family to shed some tears and rejoice in the company of those present.

"When tragedy strikes, communities large and small can step in to make all the difference," Richardson said.

Blue skies and warm temperatures marked the local 5K.

Some people ran while some walked, but everyone knew why they had to cross the finish line.

"Josie was undoubtedly an athletic person," Richardson said. "Everything she did bespoke how she pursued life: with purpose."

Luke students combat train with Navy Super Hornets

by Capt. Brandon Roth
62nd Fighter Squadron

8/29/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 56th Fighter Wing recently hosted four F/A-18E Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. The aircraft were brought in to provide joint air combat training for students undergoing initial F-16 qualification training.

Pilots from Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 14 planned, briefed and debriefed at the 62nd FS and flew in support of 10 student air combat maneuvering upgrade missions during their three-day trip. Their support freed up enough 62nd FS sorties to complete five additional student upgrade missions and two flight evaluations.

Training with Navy pilots was a rare but valuable chance for the 62nd FS instructor pilots to talk aircraft capabilities, compare fighter tactics and discuss student instruction. The students had an equally valuable opportunity to experience the way a fighter other than the F-16 Fighting Falcon flies and reacts.

"The Navy F-18s provided us with a unique and memorable opportunity to employ the Viper against a dissimilar adversary," said 1st Lt. Sean Foote, 62nd FS B-course student pilot. "As students, the experience was invaluable, and the lessons won't soon be forgotten."

The air combat maneuvers training the Navy pilots supported was the first step in teaching the F-16 pilots how to fight with a teammate, their instructor. These missions are normally flown with the instructor, the student and an adversary - all three flying F-16s. Seeing two other F-16s in a visual engagement for the first time can sometimes confuse the student or delay a student's weapons employment while they sort out which F-16 is their instructor and which F-16 is the enemy.

"Our students and instructors primarily train against F-16 adversaries," said Lt. Col. Shamsher Mann, 62nd FS commander. "While adequate, solely training against an adversary with similar performance can lead to drawing air-to-air combat lessons that aren't always valid. The chance to fight Hornets was an opportunity for our students and instructor pilots to execute our tactics against a jet with different strengths and weaknesses to either validate those tactics or show how to improve them.

"Stated in other terms, it was a chance to play a supersonic chess game with the unfamiliar kid from across town after months of playing only against your buddy next door," Mann added.

JBSA-Fort Sam Houston hosts Special Olympics Equestrian Camp

by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Slade
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

8/30/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- An equestrian camp and competition for special-needs individuals ages 8 and older took place Aug. 12-16 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center.

Hosted by the JBSA Exceptional Family Member Program and Special Olympics Texas-San Antonio, the camp consisted of four days of instruction in varying events before the competition Aug.16.

Coaches, volunteers and 12 athletes were carefully chosen to participate in this activity, Sackett Heejung, EFMP family support specialist, said. Staff members from the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center screened all of the athletes on their ability to ride horses prior to participating.

"My daughter, along with the other contestants, has learned not only how to ride horses, but also important problem-solving skills," said Army Staff Sgt. Julian Grim, father of one of the 12 participants. "All the athletes have learned how to steer and control the horse and how to use their voice and body movements to communicate with these animals enough to compete."

The purpose of this event was to provide opportunities for the participants to demonstrate courage, Heejung said. Sharing of talents, skills and friendship with their families, other athletes and the community were also goals.

EFMP, one of the main driving forces behind the event, is a mandatory enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to provide varying aspects of comprehensive and coordinated community support to military families with special needs.

"The JBSA EFMP provides various activities and classes for exceptional family member sponsors and their families," Heejung said. "JBSA is one of the few installations that have equestrian centers on-post. We wanted to take advantage of having this facility with easy access to provide world-class family support."

"We are all winners today - athletes, parents, friends, spectators, coordinators and coaches," Grim said while speaking during the competition's closing ceremony. "Today we witnessed just a snapshot of our athletes' inner strength, courage and perseverance. Things we should all strive for."

Humanitarian assignments bring Airmen close to home, help them ‘be there”


When future Airmen begin their paperwork at a military entrance processing station, they are informed their assignments will largely be determined by “the needs of the Air Force.”

This need of an organization to fill job positions across the globe with qualified personnel often means Airmen will be stationed far away from their hometown, and the family who live there.

For many, this is part of the allure of military life -- yet when a family back home falls gravely ill or dies, being away can be a burden on morale and effectiveness for Airmen.

At the Air Force Personnel Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, a team of four NCO and two civilian personnel specialists work to bring, or keep Airmen close to home during emergencies involving immediate family members -- while still serving the needs of Air Force.

“We’re one of the few offices within AFPC that actually deals directly with people, families and faces,” said Lori Surgnier, the chief of the Humanitarian/Exceptional Family Members Program Assignments Branch at AFPC. “In the personnel world, you often only deal with numbers -- that’s just the nature of the job. But for us, it’s all about the people. That’s how I like to operate with my team to help our families who really need it.”

Currently, about 3,242 Airmen are directly benefiting from a humanitarian assignment at bases across the Air Force.

AF Heritage: Gen. Tinker still honored by native Indian tribe

By Randy Roughton, Air Force News Agency

During the early days of World War II, an Army Air Corps major general, who was an Oklahoma native, and member of the Osage Indian tribe, was named to lead the air effort in Hawaii following Pearl Harbor.

Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker managed to stay close to his tribe during his 30 plus years as a military aviator, and today, more than 70 years after his death, is still honored by that tribe.

Even after he became the Army’s highest ranking Native American, Tinker never lost his pride in his heritage, as he sometimes called home to his father George Edward Tinker, just to hear his native language.

Likewise, Tinker’s family and tribe never forgot him after his death in a mission over the Pacific in 1942 – from his descendants to the Osage Nation, who still sing and dance to a song written as a tribute to Tinker, one of their most honored heroes.

Each year, the Osage dance to the song during In-lon-shka, an annual four-day celebration that emphasizes the culture and values that date back to the 1880s, after they moved to their current reservation in Oklahoma. The Tinker family met this year in Pawhuska, as they do every year with most of the men participating in the dancing, including the grandson of 90-year-old George Edward Tinker III, the general’s nephew. Chris Tinker, the son of Tinker’s daughter Tanya Scholz, prepared his mind even as he dressed in Osage attire for the last day of In-lon-shka.

“The biggest emotion for me is humility because I know I could never do what he did,” he said. “When I go out there, I’m a little afraid because it’s bigger than me. It’s generations of people going all the way back, who helped him become who he was. It’s about this way of life. When you have that kind of unity and sense of responsibility, obligation and service to one another, you want to be a part of it, and you can lead. You have the kind of courage that comes from all of those ways and prayers that made you who you are. That’s what they say about this dance. You can become a man out here.”

Even though Tinker was only one-eighth Osage, he grew up on the reservation, and was often kept in line with tales of being sent to live with the white man if he misbehaved.

“When my children were growing up, I used to tell them that unless they behaved themselves, I would give them to the white man,” the senior Tinker said several months before his son’s death in an article in The Milwaukee Journal on Feb. 14, 1942. “They were more afraid of the white man than the white children were of Indians. Clarence gave us some trouble, especially when he served as a printer’s devil in the newspaper office, and I scared him into good behavior many times with the warning that the white man would get him.”

When his son assumed command of the 7th Air Force, his father reassured friends in the corner drugstore in Pawhuska, “You can go home and sleep peacefully now. The Tinkers have got the situation well in hand.”

While growing up in Pawhuska, and later in school in Kansas, Tinker and his friends idolized Osage military veterans like Indian scouts for the U.S. cavalry and Bonnycastle, chief of the Osages who earned his reputation in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, according to Dr. James Crowder in his book, “Osage General: Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker.”

After Tinker graduated from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo., in 1908, he was commissioned as a third lieutenant in the Philippine Constabulary. Four years later, he was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

During his early years, Tinker served with the 25th Infantry Division, originally in Spokane, Wash., and later moved with the division to Hawaii.  In 1919, Tinker took an interest in flying, earned his pilot’s license and entered the Army Air Service in 1922. In 1927, Tinker was named the commandant of the Air Service Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, and later commanded several pursuit and bomber units. In 1940 he pinned on his first star and, after Pearl Harbor, was named commander of the Army Air Corps in Hawaii and promoted to major general. Before Dec. 7, 1941, Tinker warned that the Japanese were the biggest threat instead of Germany, and he also believed the Air Force would be the major factor during World War II. He also believed that a long-strike attack against Japan would be the key to war in the Pacific. He died on June 7, 1942, when his B-24 Liberator disappeared through a formation of clouds over the Pacific Ocean during a mission on Wake Island that he chose to personally lead. Neither the plane nor the eight crewmembers were ever found.

“I was visiting with the Osages in Holmes County and asked the question, ‘Why would he do that?’” said Crowder, Air Force Sustainment Center historian at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. “They said an Osage leader is never at the back of his band of warriors. All of the key documents from that time showed that he didn’t have to be on that mission. I think it was more of his Osage upbringing that led him to believe he should lead that flight more than anything the military taught him.”

Chief John D. Red Eagle remembers his father and World War II veteran Edward Red Eagle telling him about the Osages’ days around the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.  His father told him how the Osages were mighty warriors, often growing to 7 feet in height. He also told him about Tinker.

“When they sing that song, it’s got words that are talking about (Tinker),” said Red Eagle, the principal chief of the Osage Nation. “It talks about how he’s gone on to fight in foreign lands. That was the interpretation my father gave me about that song.

“We have veteran dances that honor our soldiers. My father was a World War II veteran, and we honor him during that time, as well as other families who honor their soldiers. We talk about when they were in the war because they were very proud to be a part of the military. That’s the way they felt about General Tinker because of his service to the United States as a soldier. It’s a big honor to have a song in that dance.”

Anita West, an Osage who still lives in the village in Pawhuska, remembers her grandmother dressing her to dance. Her grandparents were Chief Fred Lookout, who was the principal Osage chief for three terms beginning in 1916, and Julia Mongrain Lookout, who had the song written for Tinker.

“We’d dance on individual songs, if we were related to them in any way,” she said. “She always told me to dance on the Tinker song. Later, I found out she was the one who had that song put in there. I don’t believe there was blood, but a closeness they had with the Tinker family because there was a bond between them.”

More than seven decades since his disappearance over the Pacific, there are still signs of Tinker’s legacy on the Oklahoma base that bears his name. A bust of the general greets visitors to the Air Force Sustainment Center headquarters, and there are several paintings and a display of his awards and medals in the Tinker Club, not to mention the olive footlocker in Crowder’s office. The locker contains the general’s personal papers and original decorations that his widow, Madeline Tinker McCormick, gave to the base before her death in 2000 at the age of 104. But Tinker is equally remembered in the Osage Nation, where his life began.

On the final day of In-lon-shka, all Osages under the Arbor stand to show their respect for their Osage general. Some say it’s the only family song the Osages sing that requires all to stand.

CSAF to Pacific partners: 'We must be better together'


As part of his two-week tour of the Pacific, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III met with military partners in Korea and Japan Aug. 23 to 28 to discuss opportunities and challenges in the region.

“Partnerships become more important when resources are limited,” Welsh said. “We must be better together. Our partnerships in this region have gotten stronger and stronger over the last few years. It will only continue to get better due to the amount of respect we share for each other, which will serve as a springboard for better activity going forward. My overall impression of our time together is that our relationship is strong.”

Among the many partners he met with were Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera; Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of joint staff for the Japan Self Defense Forces; Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff; and Gen. Sung Il-Hwan, Republic of Korea Air Force chief of staff. Welsh also visited the Japanese Air Defense Command to see firsthand the bilateral command and control functions operating at Yokota, and the Northern Air Defense Force leadership at Misawa.

Among the topics of discussion were mutual security challenges and plans to further strengthen the cooperation between the respective air forces wherever possible, like continued participation in exercises like Red Flag.

Air Force looking for safety advisory council members

8/28/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force's chief of safety wants young people to sign up for the 2014 Airman-to-Airman Safety Advisory Council.

Established in 2009, the council evaluates and seeks better ways to communicate safety efforts within the high-risk 17-26-year age group.

Officers and enlisted Airmen in that age group share personal accounts of mishap experiences at their home station safety briefings. They advise Air Force safety officials on peer-to-peer communication, and they provide an additional tool in the Air Force's mishap prevention and reduction program.

Since reservists tend to be older, they can be up to age 30 to be considered for the council.

Members serve one-year term with the option of a second year based on their availability and commander input. Selectees participate in video teleconferences and in Air Force-wide public service announcements and discussions on communication strategies.

Nominations must consist of a letter of endorsement signed by the person's unit commander.

There is no specific formation for the recommendation letter, but it should clearly state what experiences or qualities make the person a good candidate. Young Airmen who have a compelling personal safety mishap experience and wish to help others learn from their mistakes are eligible.

Interested reservists should e-mail their recommendation to Rich Burns, Air Force Reserve Command's chief of ground safety programs at Airmen looking for more information can e-mail him or call him at DSN 497-2134.