Monday, September 30, 2013

Assistant Secretary, Manpower and Reserve Affairs visits Alamo Wing

by Elsa Martinez
433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

9/27/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Honorable Daniel Ginsberg, assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, visited the 433rd Airlift Wing along with other units here on Sept. 25 .

Col. Jeffrey Pennington, 433rd Airlift Wing commander, led the tour of the maintenance and C-5 Formal Training Unit facilities.

"The rich history of the Alamo Wing speaks volumes, and I was delighted to meet the men and women of this outstanding unit and convey my sincere appreciation for the tremendous work they not only do for our Air Force, but our nation," Ginsberg remarked.

Accompanying the secretary was Chief Master Sgt. Jack Johnson,  Secretary of the Air Force senior enlisted advisor. He echoed the secretary's positive reflections about his time spent at the "Alamo Wing." 

"It was Secretary Ginsberg's intent to visit the Air Force Personnel Center and Total Force Airmen, which include our civilians, serving throughout San Antonio," he said.  "Integral to the Secretary's focus was to thank the men and women of 433d Airlift Wing for the remarkable work they perform every day. Equally important to the Secretary was to listen and gain a first-hand perspective on all things centering on manpower and reserve affairs."

433rd AW Airmen were excited for the opportunity to showcase their talents in providing combat ready forces for the nation.

"This visit allowed us an opportunity to not only show off the amazing things we do on a daily basis, but also a chance to get some of the concerns addressed," said Capt. Kimberly Bryant, 433rd MXS operations officer.

433rd AW senior leadership was honored to host the secretary and the opportunity for Airmen's concerns to be heard.

"It was an honor to host Mr. Ginsberg as he interacted with the fine men and women of the 433rd," said Pennington. "His genuine concern and interest helped our Airmen know that our leadership values them and their sacrifices."

U.S., South Korean Military Leaders Hold Talks in Seoul

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 30, 2013 – American and South Korean military officials discussed interoperability, capabilities and the threat from North Korea during the 38th Military Committee Meeting here today.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his South Korean counterpart, Gen. Jeong Seung-jo, held talks discussing the U.S.-South Korean alliance, problems confronting the allies and ways ahead. They were joined on the American side by Army Gen. James D. Thurman, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, and Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

Jeong and Dempsey both took office in 2011, and the U.S. general said the two men have a good relationship. “It was a genuine exchange of where they think they are … and where we are,” Dempsey said during an interview after the meeting. Both militaries are making changes, he added, and as close allies they need to be informed and work out how to best operate together.

The meeting started with a discussion of the threat. “That starts with the North Koreans and trends,” Dempsey said. “Then we moved to capabilities – everything from command and control to intelligence sharing to joint integrated air defense – because the better we can operate together, the better deterrent we have to a miscalculation by North Korea.”

Dempsey said that with the exception of NATO, the U.S. military and South Korean military may be the most interoperable in the world. “But boy, there is always room for improvement,” he added.

Sharing information and intelligence is a key part of this equation. And given the threat that North Korean ballistic missiles pose to the Korean Peninsula and the region, the Joint Integrated Missile Defense System becomes more important, the chairman noted. “As the capabilities of the North have changed, we have to change right along with them,” he said. “In fact, we try to change before they change.”

The tactical interoperability between U.S. and South Korean forces largely has been based on an exchange of liaisons, the chairman said. “In the 21st century now, with information technologies available, we think we can do better at being interoperable in terms of command and control electronically,” he said.

The alliance, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, has helped to secure peace in the region and has allowed South Korea to prosper, Dempsey said. “On the back of that security, the South Koreans have built the 12th largest economy in the world,” he said. “So, our commitment today was ‘OK -- 60 years down, let’s shoot for another 60.”

Budget woes in the United States did not come up in the discussions, Dempsey said. “The assumption is – and it’s a valid assumption – that where our greatest national interests lie, we will find a way to find the resources to make the kind of commitments we need to make,” he added. “Clearly, right here on the peninsula -- where we not only have a 60-year alliance, but we have 28,000 Americans and about 4,200 families -- that’s a pretty significant commitment.”

Budget discussions don’t come up in places like Korea, the chairman said, but rather in areas where the U.S. interests are not as clearly defined.

After the meetings, Dempsey met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House here. Tonight, he will join the president, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and many South Korean and American dignitaries to mark the alliance’s 60th anniversary.

Airman intervenes after fiery highway crash

by Senior Airman Chelsea Smith
514th Air Mobility Wing public affairs

9/27/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The morning of Sept. 7 began normal for Senior Airman Chad Turko, 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron KC-10 crew chief, who left his home in Rockaway Township, N.J. to attend unit training assembly here. Suddenly deterred by ominous smoke on the horizon, Turko encountered a surreal scene unfolding in real time while traveling southbound on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Approaching exit seven, he drove upon an overturned 18-wheeler tractor trailer engulfed in flames under an overpass surrounded by excessive debris and papers strewn about the area. The intense flames from the burning truck caused structural damage to the bridge.

Venturing towards the site of the accident, he immediately felt the impact of the smoldering heat. As Turko approached the damaged 18-wheeler, he noticed a man slumped over inside the burning tractor trailer, he said.

"The scene was unfathomable," Turko said. "There was a huge cloud of thick black smoke, so thick you could barely see the car in front of you."

As a registered emergency medical technician for two years and a firefighter for three years, Turko instinctively grabbed his EMT bag and swiftly pulled the injured man from the truck's cab, now severely engulfed in flames.

"I immediately felt concern for whoever was inside that truck," he said. "My only thought was to jump out of the car to do anything I could to rescue and help the man."

With an EMT bag and sense of urgency, Turko immediately began rendering emergency care to stabilize the injured man before first responders arrived. Fortunately, he was able to determine that the driver had no apparent concussion and continued to clean his wounds. Turko determined that the driver suffered a head laceration and other minor injuries. A second vehicle involved in the accident had its entire left side shattered, leaving debris strewn all over the roadway. The driver from that vehicle emerged unharmed, he said.

Reports quickly spread of Turko's courageous actions and he was promptly recognized by Col. Michael Underkofler, 514th Air Mobility Wing commander at the quarterly commander's call and within his own squadron by Maj. Joseph Zackaricz, 714th AMXS commander.

"I believe his actions were absolutely heroic," said Maj. Joseph Zackaricz, 714th AMXS commander. "Regardless of his training, I believe he would have stopped even if he had not been a three year first responder."

Turko's proactive intervention saved lives and prevented casualties. He attributes his actions to holding a steadfast moral code of responsibility.

"I didn't waste time trying to make a decision," he said. "I had the skills and ability to intervene and I was raised to help people whenever you're capable."

Throughout the chaos, other vehicles diverted to side lanes to drive past the accident site. No other vehicle stopped to assist Turko or the driver. Shortly after the accident, police and emergency responders arrived to assess the scene and take statements from witnesses, said Turko.

"His actions not only bring great pride to the 714th AMXS, but they are a true testament to the caliber of people we have in our units," said Zackaricz. "I continue to hear and experience story after story of how our folks have taken care of each other, or have gone above and beyond to help others even at their own peril. I have been to the desert with these men and women and have witnessed their selfless sacrifices. Turko is another great example of how awesome our Airmen are."

Hagel Watches Training, Tours DMZ During Korea Visit

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 30, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled north from the South Korean capital today, visiting U.S. and South Korean soldiers, observing training, then continuing on to Panmunjom, site of the Demilitarized Zone separating democratic South Korea from its communist northern neighbor.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel observes a gunnery range at Rodriguez Live Fire Range in South Korea, Sept. 30, 2013. Hagel visited with several military units along the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
At Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex, about two-thirds of the way from Seoul to the DMZ, Hagel observed training and certification of a U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division platoon. The division’s soldiers certify on critical tasks annually, a spokesman said, and today’s training simulated breaching an enemy-emplaced obstacle during a mounted attack.

The joint, combined scenario involved U.S. Bradley fighting vehicles and Apache helicopters, and South Korean K1A1 tanks. Platoon leaders must incorporate air, engineer, indirect fire and allied capabilities to successfully complete the simulated mission.

Hagel spoke to U.S. and South Korean troops at the live-fire complex after observing the training. He explained he is visiting here this week to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S-South Korean alliance and to celebrate South Korean Armed Forces Day.

“The South Korean soldiers are particularly important in this celebration,” he said. “And we want to help celebrate this special day. It's a day that also gives us an opportunity to acknowledge this partnership.”

The secretary noted that during this visit he also will preside, along with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, over the change of command ceremony that will mark the transition of U.S. Forces Korea command from Army Gen. James D. Thurman to Army Gen. Curtis M. “Mike” Scaparrotti.

Hagel thanked the troops for the opportunity to observe their training, which he called “impressive.” He also thanked them, and their families, for the mission they are undertaking: protecting South Korea from its northern neighbor and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

“I'm also here to send some time with the South Korean defense minister and the leaders of South Korea in talking about what we do next -- how we go forward with this relationship,” Hagel told the troops.

The secretary noted he received a 2nd Infantry Division jacket during his visit, which he wore to speak to the troops. “I shall wear it proudly, and I'll wear it more than just here to show off the 2nd ID,” he said.

The division’s soldiers have a big responsibility, as they are well aware, Hagel said.

“You are the only forward-deployed division we have in the United States Army in the world. … That responsibility doesn't cease. It doesn't ease, and it is one of constant vigilance, and I know that's a big burden,” he said. “But I suspect that each of you wouldn't want it any other way, or you wouldn't be here.”

Hagel said from the president on down, Americans appreciate what their deployed and forward-deployed troops are doing here and around the world.

“I know sometimes you're out here alone and wonder if anybody's paying attention and really does understand or appreciate what you do,” he said. “We do. And thank you.”

From the live-fire complex, the secretary traveled to the DMZ, where he and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin visited the Ouellette Observation Post. Also known as Guard Post 142, it’s closest to the dividing line and the last U.S.-manned outpost on the southern DMZ, all others being the responsibility of South Korean troops.

The secretary also toured Panmunjom, site of the line of demarcation, where both North and South Korea maintain military headquarters and keep vigilant eyes on each other.

Speaking to reporters at Panmunjom, Hagel said it’s “probably the only place in the world where we have always a risk of confrontation, when two sides are looking clearly and directly at each other all the time.”

There is no margin for error along the DMZ, the secretary said, and he credited the strong alliance between South Korea and the United States for keeping the region stable and peaceful.

“There's always a challenge; there's always a threat,” he said. “But this partnership and this relationship is really unique, and it has been able to manage through many ups and downs in the differences between the two countries that share the Korean Peninsula.”

Responding to a reporter’s question, Hagel said he believes Kim Jong-un’s regime in North Korea, which possesses chemical weapons, is watching closely to see what the world will do in response to Syria’s use of such illegal weapons.

“We've always got to keep in mind that threats that come from use of weapons of mass destruction are not limited to borders or regions,” he said. “They are global threats. And nations who possess those kinds of weapons and who are irresponsible do watch how the world responds and reacts.”

Hagel also responded to a question asking whether the Pentagon has considered reducing its about 60,000-member force forward-deployed to the Korean Peninsula.

“No,” he said. “There has not been any consideration or conversation about that. … The Department of Defense will manage through whatever reductions we have to take … [and] at the same time, assure our partners -- and specifically here in the Asia-Pacific -- that our commitments still stand.

“There's never been any consideration of changing our force protection or force presence here in Korea or anywhere else in this area,” he said.

South Korea has made great strides militarily, Hagel said, and “is continuing to enhance and improve and strengthen its capabilities in all areas.”

“And that's good,” he added. “That's what they should do and they want to do and we want them to do. And we're supporting that.”

As his final act on the DMZ, the secretary administered the oath of office to Marine Corps Capt.
Bradlee J. Avots and promoted him to major. Avots is a member of the secretary’s public affairs team.
The secretary’s visit to South Korea will continue tomorrow, with senior-level meetings and celebrations in honor of South Korea’s Armed Forces Day.

Later this week, Hagel will travel to Japan, where he will join Secretary of State John F. Kerry and their counterparts for “2-plus-2” meetings between U.S and Japanese foreign and defense ministers.

18th CEG keep runway clear to land

by Senior Airman Marcus Morris
18th Wing Public Affairs

9/30/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 18th Civil Engineer Group has implemented an initiative created by Master Sgt. Richard Vaden, 18th CEG heavy equipment operator, saving the Air Force approximately $180,000; 784,000 gallons of water; and, 2,000 man hours annually.

When an aircraft lands, the tires are not spinning and, until they get up to speed, they are put under pressure and dragged, causing rubber to adhere to the runway. Over time, the deposits build up and cause the runway to become extremely slippery and greatly reduce pilot visibility of the centerline, making it harder to land safely.

In order to mitigate the risk, Kadena's 18th CEG Airmen would have to shut down the runway for hours at a time to scrub the rubber off the flightline using Avion 50 detergent; however, the process is not a quick fix.

"It took a day just to fill a water truck with Avion 50 detergent," said Airman 1st Class Travis Drouin, 18th CEG heavy equipment operator. "Also, the Avion 50 would get under our personal protection equipment leaving chemical burns."

Vaden saw not just an excruciatingly long process, he saw a safety issue.

That's why Vaden developed an initiative through the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program using an ultra high-pressure (UHP) water system to blast away the rubber deposits.

"The new process takes around 8 hours to clean a 2000 feet by 50 feet spot of the flight line, while the old way took 12 hours" said Vaden. "Also, the new process allows the Airmen to clean lines at any time and be off the flight line in 10 minutes, while the old method required all air operations for that particular runway to be suspended because the slippery detergent prevented aircraft from landing safely."

Due to sequestration, the 18th CEG had to design a new self-contained UHP system for a vehicle they already had. Not only is the machine capable of scraping off rubber from the runway like a knife, it can also strip the paint lines off, which saves the need for contractors to do the work.

"I love this new process," said Senior Airman Brandon Davis, 18th CEG heavy equipment operator. "It is 10 times easier, saves the Air Force money and we don't have to worry about chemicals getting into the grass."

Carter: U.S.-India Defense Collaboration Moves to Next Level

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2013 – Deputy Secretary Ash Carter delivered a groundbreaking collaborative defense proposal to Indian military officials during his recent trip there and is committed to continuing to put new ideas on the table, he told an audience today at the Center for American Progress.

Carter traveled to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan on a 7-day trip that began Sept. 12, but at this event he focused on what he called the strong and rapidly growing defense partnership between the United States and India.

“In the United States, with U.S. industry … we identified and put forward to the Indians a truly groundbreaking entirely new collaborative proposal to co-develop with India a next-generation Javelin antitank capability,” Carter said.

The proposal addresses a key military requirement for both armies and is an unprecedented offer the United States has made unique to India, the deputy secretary added.

During the trip, Carter delivered a second round of potential capability areas of cooperation proposed by U.S. industry. And in India, Carter said he made sure to hear from senior Indian industry representatives about their ideas for increasing private-sector partnerships.

The push to reach the next level of defense collaboration and co-development with India comes after 15 months of effort between the countries to overcome bureaucratic obstacles to such work, Carter said.

The underlying program, called the Defense Trade Initiative, was devised by former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, and Menon and Carter used DTI to find ways to take the nations’ defense cooperation to the next level.

Among the advances made possible through DTI, Carter said, involved export controls.
“We have demonstrated repeatedly that we can release sensitive technology to India,” Carter said.

“We've adapted our system in ways that will speed our release process for India,” he added, “especially in the Department of Defense, recognizing that for … all partners this process is subject to case-by-case review and there will always be some technologies that we will keep to ourselves.”

Areas of progress include technology transfer, licensing agreements, license exceptions, end-use monitoring and others.

“We've also taken unprecedented steps to identify forward-leaning proposals by industry, from industry on both sides for defense items to be co-produced and -- the true measure of our common goal -- co-developed by the U.S. and India,” Carter said.

These include a maritime helicopter, a naval gun, a surface-to-air missile system and a scatterable antitank system, all of which the deputy secretary discussed with Indian officials during his recent visit, he said.

“In each instance,” Carter noted, “the United States has fast-tracked these projects to ensure that our internal processes are ready to go as soon as the Indian government wants to move forward.”

U.S. and Indian research and development experts also play a critical role in areas that include the cognitive sciences and others in which DOD would incentivize increased cooperation by U.S. defense researchers, the deputy secretary said.

“I let the Indian government know last week that I will be incentivizing U.S. researchers who seek and find Indian partners in key research areas we identified previously,” he added. “We'll ensure that those innovative projects receive priority funding. This is an approach we've only ever taken with the United Kingdom and Australia, and now India will join that company.”

When Carter visited India a year ago, he visited the Lockheed Tata plant in Hyderabad, which assembles parts for the C-130J cargo plane, a partnership between an American company and an Indian company, he said.

“This was a partnership that was encouraged and applauded by the U.S. and Indian governments but was not founded by either one,” Carter added.

“This year I had the opportunity to travel to Hindon Air Force Station, where the Indian Air Force operates a growing number of C-130Js and also C-17s,” he said.

While he was there, the deputy secretary was briefed by an Indian Air Force pilot who landed and took off in a C-130J in the Himalayas from an altitude well above 16,000 feet, “certainly a record and quite an accomplishment,” Carter said.

“We're excited to have the next tranche of six C-130Js included in a pipeline of several major defense sales currently under consideration by the Indian government,” he added. “Our goal is for India to have all the capabilities it needs to meet its security requirements and to be a key partner in that effort.”

The Defense Department also invests in joint exercises, Carter said, because the U.S. and Indian militaries remain the most visible cooperative efforts between the two nations and serve as a cornerstone of the defense cooperative relationship.

Such exercises allow the U.S. and Indian militaries exposure to one another's tactics, techniques and procedures, he said.

“They also allow Indian troops access to U.S. troops, making operating together possible if it proves necessary to further U.S. and Indian interests and, perhaps most importantly, helping foster person-to-person ties in the defense area that are so important to our two countries in other areas,” Carter observed.

In May, he said, 200 Indian Army soldiers trained with members of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, [N.C.,] where they jointly conducted various scenarios related to a U.N. peacekeeping mission, from humanitarian assistance to air assault.

“I hear Indian soldiers were even able to shoot off a Javelin or two,” the deputy secretary added. “And one day soon I'm confident that we'll co-develop these weapons.”

As for the United States and India, Carter said, “we're each big, complicated democracies. We move slowly, but over the long run we also move surely. And that to me is the trajectory for us and India in the defense area.”

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hagel Arrives in Seoul on Third Asia-Pacific Trip

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 29, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived here today on a weeklong Asia-Pacific trip that also will include a visit to Tokyo.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters during a flight to Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 28, 2013. Hagel will visit South Korea and Japan during a weeklong trip. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Noting that this is his third trip to the region as secretary, Hagel said global and economic trends make the Asia-Pacific region one that will be important in shaping and defining the future. “So it’s important that the United States pay attention, and continue to strengthen and enhance our relationship here,” he added.

Here, the secretary will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance; participate in the 45th Security Consultative Meeting; preside over the U.S. Forces Korea change of command ceremony and visit U.S. and South Korean troops.

The mutual defense treaty between the United States and South Korea “has served the interests of both our nations very well for the last 60 years, and also the Asia-Pacific,” the secretary said.

Senior defense leaders -- including Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command -- also are here for the consultative meetings and the change of command.

Hagel is scheduled to meet and attend a state dinner with South Korean President Park Geun-hye during his stay here.

He also is scheduled to visit U.S. troops both here and in Japan later this week.

The secretary’s main purpose for visiting Tokyo is to take part, along with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and their Japanese counterparts, in “two plus two” consultations between U.S. and Japanese foreign and defense ministers.

This event is the first time such high-level meetings have occurred in Japan’s capital, and come as the Japanese government reportedly is considering the future roles of Japan’s self-defense forces. The two U.S. leaders also will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

“Especially at a time when the United States, in particular, is focused on internal domestic issues -- beginning with the budget [and] whether we’re going to have a budget [or] whether there will be a shutdown -- I think it’s very, very important that we continue to assure our allies in this region … we are committed to these alliances,” Hagel said.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Soviet History

The October 5, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with Captain S. Martin Shelton, USN (ret.), the author of St. Catherine’s Crown.

Program Date:  October 5, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Soviet History

About the Guest
Captain S. Martin Shelton, USN (ret.) completed “forty plus years of military service which included active duty in the Korean and Vietnam wars, requiring that he travel throughout the world, with particular emphasis on the Far East.  S. Martin Shelton has an extensive background in Soviet and Chinese studies which fostered his interest in the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Bolshevik’s regicide of the Czar, Empress, and their five children, and the burgeoning Soviet Communist régime. Captain S. Martin Shelton is the author of St. Catherine's Crown.

According to the book description of St. Catherine's Crown, “1917- Empress Alexandria understands that the Bolsheviks will soon topple the Czar. She charges her godson, Kirik Pirogov, to carry the imperial crown of Catherine the Great and a cache of Romanov jewelry to a secret czarist refuge in western China. Alexandra informs her youngest daughter, Grand Duchess Anastasia, of the escape route necessary to carry on the Romanov Dynasty.

Kirik and Anastasia make perilous journeys across Siberia via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Their story is told against a background of revolution, their hardscrabble life in the Russian village, constant fear of the Soviet secret police, and unscrupulous treasure-hunters.”

About the Watering Hole

The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen from the Archive:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

117 ARW Holds POW/MIA Walk

by Maj. Lisa Weaver
117th Air Refueling Wing Executive Officer

9/25/2013 - HOOVER, Ala. -- Members of the 117th Air Refueling Wing walked 16 miles here at Veterans Park on Friday in honor of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action service members.

POW/MIA Recognition Day is a national holiday that honors former and current prisoners of war and service members still missing in action.

Tech Sgt. Matthew Crawford from the 99th Air Refueling Squadron organized the event. "I just want people to take a second and be thankful for what they have and think about the misery and the pain these people went through. And for those that are still missing, their families, their loved ones that don't have that closure, just think about them for a second, reflect on that," said Crawford.

Lt. Col. Michael Phillips, a pilot from the 106th Air Refueling Squadron, participated in the walk. Phillips' father was an F-4 weapon systems operator in the Air Force and was shot down during the Vietnam War. His father was never found and was declared missing in action.

The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office reports the latest figure for those still missing abroad as more than 83,000. This year the 117 ARW walked one foot for every missing person, which is roughly the equivalent of 16 miles.

Airmen from the 117 ARW carried the POW/MIA flag and kept it in motion the entire 16 miles. "This symbolizes our vigilance and also our commitment to these people and their loved ones," said Crawford.

122nd Fighter Wing promotes first female command chief in its 67 year history

by Master Sgt. Darin L. Hubble
122nd Fighter Wing IN ANG

9/20/2013 - 14 Sept. 2013, Fort Wayne IAP, IN  -- The 122nd Fighter Wing held a Command Chief change of authority and promotion ceremony, Sept 14, 2013, ushering in the unit's first female command chief in its 67 year history. Christine A. Hutchins was promoted to Chief Master Sgt. and Chief Master Sgt. James E. Salway II passed the responsibilities of the position of the 122nd Fighter Wing's Command Chief on to Hutchins.

Salway has been selected to serve as the State Command Chief for the Indiana Air National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Indianapolis. Commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing, David L. Augustine said of both Chiefs, "Men and women of the 122nd Fighter Wing, this is a momentous occasion for all of us, I could not be prouder of these two blacksnakes that we honor today, they represent the very best of the Air Force, the Air National Guard and the 122nd Fighter Wing." He said to Chief Master Sgt. Hutchins, "You are the right leader for the right time, at the right place, to follow in the footsteps of Command Chief Salway. I say 'follow' lightly because I know that you will make your own tracks just as Chief Salway did in taking this wing to new heights. This is a very important day in the history of the wing, a historic event, we salute promoting our first-ever female airman into the position of Wing Command Chief!"

Hutchins began her career in 1982 enlisting here as an Administrative Communications Clerk in the Combat Support Squadron. She has served in various positions including Personnel Administrative Assistant, Commanders Assistant, Base Records Manager, Information Management, C4 Plans, and Cyber Systems Manager. She holds a Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Institute of Technology and has been awarded with many superior performer recognitions and is highly decorated as an Information Management Craftsman.

Duties of the Wings Command Chief include understanding the challenges ahead of our airmen as we continue to fill an operational role overseas while protecting the homeland here in Indiana. Hutchins understands the challenges of conversion, grade leveling and airman development. "She will be an ambassador on not only the local or state scene but also the national scene for airman programs, her keen eye towards morale will allow us to enhance family programs and airmen programs alike," said Augustine.

Hutchins taking the opportunity to address the formation gathered for the ceremony said, "I'm both honored and excited about being selected to serve as the next 122nd Fighter Wing Command Chief -I am eager to have the chance to be your enlisted voice." She shared her understanding that change is a constant factor in the Air National Guard illustrated by sharing that she has personally changed AFSC's and taken part in aircraft conversions three times in her career. "We have some challenges in front of us but I am confident that we will overcome them in an outstanding fashion as we have in the past!"

In attendance was Indiana Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Hauser, retired Maj. Gen. Frank Hettlinger, Hutchins father and former Air National Guard Commander of Indiana, David L. Augustine, 122nd Fighter Wing Commander, James Gordon, Indiana Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj., family and friends of both Salway and Hutchins.

Leadership Changes for the Oregon Air National Guard

by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel
142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/25/2013 - PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- Members of the Oregon Air National Guard assembled at the Anderson Readiness Center in Salem, Ore., on Sept. 8, 2013, to observe the change of command ceremony for the Oregon Air National Guard, as Brig. Gen. Steven Gregg presented the colors to Brig. Gen. Michael Stencel.

Prior to his promotion to head the Oregon Air National Guard, Stencel had been the Assistant Adjutant General (Air) and had served as the Commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing at the Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore.

As the commander of the Oregon Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Stencel will oversee the organization and ongoing training of more than 2,200 Air Guardsmen based throughout the state of Oregon.

Brig. Gen. Gregg, who joined the Oregon Air National Guard in 1984, first took command of the Oregon Air National on Jan. 8, 2011. He also served as the Director of Operations at Joint-Force Headquarters in Salem, Ore., and as the Commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing. A formal retirement ceremony is scheduled for Brig. Gen. Gregg in October.

After the change of commanders, the Oregon Air National Guard State Command Chief Change of Authority took place as Chief Master Sgt. Patrick "Andy" Gauntz assumed command from Command Chief Master Sgt. Mark Russell. Russell had served as the State's top Air Guard enlisted Noncommissioned Officer since Jan. 11, 2011.

Chief Gauntz previously served with the 116th Air Control Squadron, Oregon Air National Guard, Camp Rilea, Warrenton, Ore., before being selected to lead as the new Oregon State Command Chief.

Hurricane Hunters join AES for training

by Capt. Philip Cortez
433 AW/PA

9/27/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- When a community is informed that a hurricane is headed toward them, their first natural reaction is to go away from the storm. That is not the case for the 53rd Weather Squadron, or as they are appropriately named, the "Hurricane Hunters."

Hurricane Hunters, based at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. are trained specifically to encounter a hurricane, head on and attempt to gather critical information in regard to the strength of the storm, wind speed, distance from the shore, and to evacuate citizens from danger. The men and women of this brave squadron came to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland this week to participate in a training exercise with the 433rd Aeromedical Squadron.

Chief Master Sgt. Rodney Christa, 433rd AES superintendent, stressed the importance of training with the Hurricane Hunters.

"We have been fighting wars for over 10 years now," said Christa. "War-time efforts and humanitarian efforts, in terms of evacuating people, are completely different. We need to train with the 53rd Weather Squadron to view things through a humanitarian lens."

The job of evacuating citizens from natural disaster areas in the U.S. now regularly includes members from all branches of military. The nation has a greater expectation from the military in terms of having an active role in providing both care and order to communities impacted by a natural disaster.

Master Sgt. David Snow, a 23-year member of the 433rd AES, was excited and grateful to be able to train with the members of the 53rd WS.

"The 433rd AES is the largest air evacuation unit in the Air Force, and we are proud of it, but we can always get better by training with an elite group such as the Hurricane Hunters," Snow said. "I'm honored to be able to help in both military and humanitarian missions."

The members of the Hurricane Hunters squadron also recognized the need for continuous and updated training as their role on a humanitarian level continues to evolve. Tech. Sgt. Troy Bickham, a six-year member of the 53rd WS, appreciates the opportunity to help citizens impacted by a natural disaster, but he takes pride in bringing home our nation's wounded warriors from the combat zone.

"It's an honor to bring our wounded warriors home from Iraq and Afghanistan to their families," said Bickham. "I know they have sacrificed a lot to defend our country, and they deserve a smooth ride home from us to recover with their loved ones. We train for them."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Resilient Airmen rally during Storytellers II

by Staff Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

9/26/2013 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo.  -- Years of marriage spent apart, abusive relationships, banishment from family - these are the stories of Airmen who stood before their wingmen during the Storytellers II breakfast Sept. 19 at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Storytellers events around the Air Force started after a prompting question from senior leadership: "Every Airman has a story. What's yours?"

Storytellers acts as a platform from which Airmen and dependents who have overcome difficulties in their lives can share their tales of resiliency.

"It takes incredible bravery for them to stand on stage without hesitation and share the hardships they have gone through," said U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Kenneth Johnson from the 509th Bomb Wing while addressing the audience. "The stories are meant to inspire you and inspire hope, as well as to encourage you to share the knowledge and advice you learn here with others."

This time around, the event featured the stories of four Airmen and one dependent who all went through challenging times in their lives but came out more resilient when all was said and done.

One of the Storytellers, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Pamela Field from the 509th Maintenance Group, dealt with a string of abusive relationships before joining the Air Force. After enlisting, though, the trouble did not cease.

"The reason I tell my story is because some people don't know what a healthy relationship looks like," Field said. "They might think they can't do better because they've heard all their lives how horrible they are. They might be trapped physically, emotionally or financially, but still think they can endure everything.

"There is so much more than physical pain that comes with being in an abusive relationship," she added. "It changes who you are. But with the bad things come resiliency and forgiveness. More important than forgiving them is forgiving yourself for things you don't have control over. You have to surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good."

This sentiment was echoed by many of the speakers - in the end, having someone there for them helped them heal. But the victory of getting to that point was often hard-won.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Maurice Ingram from the 509th BW Equal Opportunity Office shared his story of overcoming depression. In 2004, he became overwhelmed while juggling everything expected of him personally and professionally while simultaneously managing his terminally ill mother's care even though they were geographically separated.

"The situation was tough on everyone, but everyone was looking to me for hope," Ingram said. "I was an NCO, a dad, a minister. I might have looked together on the outside, but I was dead inside. I didn't even realize I was depressed. I made it to work on time and I had money in my bank account, but there were not enough extracurricular activities or work in my ministry to lift me up out of that."

Also present at the event were resources available to help attendees who might also be going through tough times, including a chaplain, a mental health representative and a victim's advocate.

Overall, Storytellers is not just an opportunity for Airmen to share their stories, it provides a unique chance to find strength in shared experiences and community in the Air Force family.

Military Health Chief Discusses Suicide Prevention Efforts

Military Health System

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2013 – In a statement issued today, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and director of the TRICARE Management Activity, urged the military community to stand together with national and worldwide organizations to prevent suicide. September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

Dr. Woodson’s statement reads as follows:

The Military Health System joined with others in the Defense Department and national and worldwide organizations this month in bringing attention to one of our most preventable public health issues -- suicide.

Suicides have increased in recent years around the world, in the United States, and among our armed forces.

More than one million people worldwide died from suicide last year -- more than those killed by homicides and war combined, according to The International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization, which co-sponsor World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10. More than 34,000 Americans took their own lives last year, surpassing the number who died in vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While attention to suicides has focused on young people, the rate of those between the ages of 35 and 64 who killed themselves grew by 30 percent between 1999 and 2010, the CDC reported.

Our service members are not immune. While the suicide rate has traditionally been lower for the military ranks than for civilians, that trend has begun to reverse. The number of suicides among our 1.4 million active-duty troops remains relatively low by comparison, at 350 last year. Still, the number has more than doubled since 2001 and even one is too many.

We’ve learned much about suicide in recent years. We know there are clear risk factors, including substance abuse, depression and other mental health related causes, at least one of which is present in 90 percent of suicide victims, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. We also know that financial and relationship problems play a role.

Among our service members, we know that half of those who died by suicide in recent years never served in Iraq or Afghanistan. But we also know that war trauma weighs heavily on those who did.
Most importantly, we know that suicide is preventable. We in military health, like those across the department, are working to spread awareness of suicide risk factors, reduce the stigma of treatment and educate our military community about the many ways to get help.

One of the most important things we can do is to promote the department’s Military Crisis Line. If you or a loved one are experiencing a crisis, do not hesitate to call 1 (800) 273-8255, and press 1 to speak to a trained counselor. Put the number in your cellphone. Share it through social networking. A caring professional is there to listen 24/7.

The military has hundreds of initiatives aimed at preventing suicide, and the Defense Suicide Prevention Office currently is streamlining them to promote the best programs and practices. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are actions that we can and are taking to ensure that everyone is aware of what can be done.

Our services have adopted programs to build resilience and instill the skills to manage life’s challenges and bounce back from adversity. We’ve increased the number of mental health providers in our network to some 60,000 professionals. We are training our leaders at all levels to recognize who is at risk and respond to their needs. And, we are working to reduce the stigma so that asking for help is considered a sign of strength and not a sign of weakness. Let me be clear: asking for help for yourself, a loved one, those around you or a battle buddy is a sign of strength.

We must stand together as a community to fight suicide. Because suicides often are impulsive, the importance of being vigilant cannot be overemphasized. The key is recognizing when others are at risk and in crisis -- and not being afraid to step in. Our job as military health care providers, paraprofessionals, and members of the DOD community at large is to have the courage to intervene.

91st MW conducts successful Simulated Electronic Launch

by 1st Lt. Jose R. Davis
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

9/26/2013 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The 91st Missile Wing successfully completed a Simulated Electronic Launch - Minuteman, or SELM, operational test, meeting all test objectives, Sept. 17 to 18.

A SELM is the most complete test of the operational capability of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

The tests occur while the ICBMs are in their deployed locations out in the prairies of North Dakota. No actual missiles are ever launched.

The tests are meant to reinforce the confidence in the continued operation of the Minuteman III force. The SELM tests the people and equipment from the initial "on alert" transmission to the simulated first stage ignition.

SELM tests differ from ICBM test launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., known as Operational Test Launches, in that SELM tests the ICBMs in their deployed environment without actually launching.

Both OTL and SELM tests are overseen by the 576th Flight Test Squadron out of Vandenberg AFB, which is involved from the initial planning stages up to the completion of the final report.

In addition to verifying the weapons system and its associated infrastructure, SELM also verifies the procedures in the Launch Control Center, ensuring that the missile launch officers are proficient in executing their mission.

"Providing a safe and secure deterrent force is our mission," said Col. Robert J. Vercher, commander of the 91st Missile Wing. "So naturally we want to execute and train hard."

SELM reinforces Air Force Global Strike Command's and Minot AFB's commitment to providing a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal.

The SELM test conducted by the 91st MW was concluded Sept. 18. The weapon system is presently in the process of being restored back to its operational configuration.

Face of Defense: Deployed Airmen Provide Morale-lifting Mail

By Air Force Senior Airman Bahja J. Jones
379th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Sept. 27, 2013 – Nothing can compare to the feeling a deployed service member gets when he or she receives a care package from a loved one back home.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Staff Sgt. Eugene Dolor seals a bag of outgoing mail at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, Sept. 17, 2013. The post offices here receive anywhere from 500 to 1,500 pieces of incoming and outgoing mail each day. Dolor is a postal specialist deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He hails from Virginia Beach, Va. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bahja J. Jones

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
But packages don’t just appear out of thin air at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing here -- it takes a team of postal services airmen working every day to ensure all mail items get to the right place.

“Whether you are saying hello, getting goodies from home, sending Christmas gifts, seeing pictures of your baby for the first time or simply paying a bill -- mail makes that happen,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Scott Boucher, the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron’s postal affairs noncommissioned officer-in-charge who’s deployed from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and hails from Salem, Mass.

With the largest mail volume in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility, the two post offices here receive anywhere from 500 to 1,500 packages of incoming and outgoing mail, while serving an average of 75 customers each day, Boucher said.

“Another thing that makes this post office different is we are open seven days a week,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Eugene Dolor, a 379th ECS postal specialist deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and a Virginia Beach, Va., native.

In their customer service role, postal clerks help make the shipping process as easy as possible, ensuring all items meet the required specifications prior to being shipped and the customs screening is seamless.

“We are required to inspect every single parcel and look for items unable to be shipped,” Dolor said.

Each day, postal services airmen procure the mail for the base populace.

“We are one of the very few locations that have a mail control activity [airman] who goes to the airport every night to pick up mail,” Boucher said.

During that time, the MCA also drops off the outgoing mail items for shipment and the new mail items are brought to the installation for processing.

“As soon as the incoming truck arrives, we unload and scan the parcels,” Dolor explained. “From there, we divide the mail by the unit it belongs to. Unit mail clerks come through the next day to pick up and disperse [the mail] to the individuals within their respective sections.”

Holiday seasons are especially busy for the post offices here as the mail volume can double or even triple in size, Boucher said. To alleviate the impact, the post offices enlist the help of volunteers to assist with the nightly sorting process.

“Volunteering is important because it gives people a chance to be a part of something so crucial,” Boucher said. “Not to mention there aren’t too many jobs in the Air Force where others can help out; you don’t see the ‘regular Joe’ helping civil engineers build walls or charge heating ventilation air conditioning systems.”

The hard work of the postal services airmen and the continued support of volunteers helps to keep the flow of what Boucher noted is the most important function of the post offices here.

“Delivering morale,” he said. “And keeping our military, Department of Defense employees, and contractor brothers and sisters from all branches of the military, to include other nations, connected with their families.”

Airmen train, dream of making Air Force-level teams

by Senior Airman Daniel Hughes
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

9/27/2013 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- An approved Air Force form 303 can launch the athletic career of an aspiring Airman- athlete and lead to a slot on official Air Force teams.

Larry Bridges, Nellis' Warrior Fitness Center sports director reviews these athletic resumes and helps choose elite athletes who will receive dedicated training, and possibly represent every Airman during national competitions.

"Not every Airmen who submits [the AF Form 303] makes it," Bridges said, "But every once in a while, I get the chance to see a tremendous athlete. Nellis [AFB] has great Airmen and great athletes."

Bridges notes the potential for an Airman who runs track to have a great chance of making the Air Force team and possibly making the U.S. Olympic team. He also recognizes the skill of a basketball player who executed a successful windmill dunk at a team U.S.A. basketball game at the Thomas and Mack Center, University of Las Vegas, July 25 in front of spectators and professional players, who is trying out for the Air Force basketball team.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Yarbrough Bloomfield III, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle dispatcher, can run a 100-meter dash in 10.1 seconds and is training to do it for the Air Force track and field team.

"I've been running my whole life," Bloomfield said. "I was fast as a [child] and everyone always picked me because of my speed. My cousins used to set up races for me with [children] on the block, and I would literally have [children] that I didn't even know get mad at me before I raced them because of how much my cousins talked me up."

Bloomfield, who hails from the small town of Canton, Miss., said he feelt like he wasn't supposed to make it out of there.

"There are gangs, drugs, and education isn't a priority," Bloomfield said. "You don't make it out and succeed."

Bloomfield's drive comes from remembering where he came from and aspiring to reach his dream of joining the Air Force team and participating on the U.S. Olympic team.

Bloomfield uses Air Force facilities, training five days a week for about three-to-four hours a day at the Warrior Fitness Center.

"When the day comes when I tryout, I want to be proud of my effort," Bloomfield said. "I don't care if I come in last with a broken leg. I will cross that finish line, and I will give everything I have."

"From what I have seen, Bloomfield is a special talent," Bridges said. "I hope he does well and is able represents Nellis [at the Air Force level]."

Senior Airman Nathaniel Mills, 99th Security Forces Squadron patrolman traces his passion for basketball to watching the Chicago Bulls in 1995 with his father. He saw his father's reactions to the big dunks of Michael Jordan, and he wanted to be able to do the same thing.

"From that day on I played ball, whether it be beautiful outside or raining, sleeting [or] snowing," Mills said. "I didn't care; I just wanted to play. I wanted to be better."

In high school, Mills just wanted to touch the rim, and during his sophomore year, he did just that. The following year, he had a growth spurt and was able to dunk.

"It was during a game and [another] player tossed me a pass, and I dunked it," Mills said. "I knew it was a little dunk, but at the time, I felt like Jordan."

When Mills joined the Air Force, he wasn't going to put basketball on the back burner, but his obligation was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. So he would always try to practice and play when he was off duty, but that commitment would be tested when he got orders for a deployment.

"When I was deployed, I was upset because my daughter was just born, and I felt I had missed the first milestones of her life," Mills said. "I had to go, so I did my job the best I could. Where I was had a basketball hoop, so I made a promise to myself. Every night that I was off duty, I would shoot 400 shots and practice dribbling."

He figured if he practiced when he got back, he would be able to try out for the Air Force team and found different ways to increase his skills.

"I found old chairs, pieces of wood and I would make defenders out of them," Mills said.

Mills received a call from the coaches of the Air Force basketball team a couple days after the USA Basketball game at the Thomas and Mack Center asking if he was going to try out for the team this year.

"[I told the Air Force Basketball coaches] it is a goal of mine to play for the team," Mills said. "Being able to play at a very competitive level and represent the Air Force would be an honor I wouldn't take lightly."

The road these two Airmen have traveled to try out for Air Force teams have been different. The hurdles are high for both because of low acceptance rates
"Gold medals aren't really made of gold," said Dan Gable, retired wrestling Olympic Gold Medalist. "They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."

B-1 conducts first live-fire test of anti-ship missile

by Senior Airman Charles V. Rivezzo
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

9/27/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A B-1B Lancer successfully struck a waterborne target with a live warhead for the first time Aug. 27.

The 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron completed their first of three scheduled live-fire tests of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM, on-board a B-1.

The mission sought to evaluate the separation of the missile from the aircraft and monitor the weapon's flight path to its intended target. Assessment tracked and documented the missile's in-flight data with an F/A-18 Hornet.

Designed and developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research, the LRASM is based off the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range, or JASSM-ER, and was constructed as part of an effort to overcome challenges faced by current anti-ship missiles penetrating sophisticated enemy air defense systems.

Armed with a 1,000-pound penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs a multi-mode sensor, weapon data link and an enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of ships.

According to 337th TES officials, the anti-ship missile is intended for rapid transition to the Air Force and Navy. Because the LRASM is based on the JASSM-ER airframe, it can be transitioned to the B-1, allowing DARPA to add the new technology and create a usable anti-ship missile.

The test squadron's current LRASM project officer, Capt. Alicia Datzman commented that they are currently working in parallel with the weapon that may be operational within a few short years.

One unique technological feature specific to the LRASM that DARPA wishes to exploit and integrate into the new JASSM-ER variant, is the missile's ability to receive target or coordinate updates while in-flight.

"Unlike the JASSMs fire and forget mentality, this new technology gives you the chance to fire and change your mind," said Maj. Shane Garner, 337th TES. "Because of the standoff feature these weapons possess, they tend to be airborne for some time, and for us to be able to change their coordinates in-flight provides us with a large-range of flexibility."

At this time, the B-1 is the only aircraft currently testing the anti-ship missile.

Should the LRASM technology be fielded installed in the JASSM-ER missile, the B-1 presents itself as the most likely platform to carry the weapon, as it is currently capable of carrying 24 of the long-range missiles the highest capacity in the Air Force.

"We can not only carry more of this weapon than any other platform, but our versatile speeds that have proven useful in the past decade in Afghanistan will also prove useful in the vast maritime environment," Datzman said. "With our loitering and refueling capability we can hang out for a while waiting on a specific target set or sprint to where we need to deliver these weapons."

The overarching concept behind the B-1's rise in the maritime environment can be attributed to the Department of Defense's Air-Sea Battle concept, in which long-range bombers serve as a key tenet.

The new concept should guide the four branches of the armed forces as they work together to maintain continued U.S. advantage against the global proliferation of advanced military technologies and anti-access/area denial capabilities.

The 337th TES is scheduled to complete the remainder of their live-fire tests by the end of 2013.

DOD honors top employers of Guard, Reserve members

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Such support is critical to the nation's security, said Jessica L. Wright, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who attended the award ceremony.

Wright said the event was a "monumental night" to formally honor the 15 recipients with the coveted Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award.

"Your energy and support for the warriors is enormous, and it is clearly appreciated," Wright told the employers, who represented public- and private-sector companies and organizations from across the country.

In a memo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Guardsmen and reservists could not uphold their military duties "without supportive, helpful and encouraging employers and communities back home."
Hagel continued, "By doing more than is expected, these organizations serve as models for employers and communities nationwide. Their accomplishments are an important reminder that supporting citizen warriors and their families is a responsibility all Americans share."

The 15 awardees were nominated by their Guard and reserve employees, and were chosen from nearly 2,900 entries, according to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a DOD office that seeks to foster good relations between Guard and reserve members and their civilian employers. Selection for the award was based on an employer's ability to meet or exceed support for their deployed service members, according to ESGR.

Wright said the support that employers provide to their deployed employees runs the gamut of small- and large-scale needs, from helping spouses back home with child care, repairing a roof or shoveling snow.

"They're always there to assist the families [with] a robust network of support," she said.
One employer, Wright said, "even hired a spouse when her husband was deployed, after she lost her job."

And employers have contributed millions of dollars to military support organizations, including support of disabled veterans, Wright said.

"They're the front-line runners when it comes to military talent," Wright said of the awardees. "They've established leadership programs within their organizations [to help military members] achieve management jobs, they ran mentoring programs and helped veterans transition back from service life into civilian life."

Saying "thank you" doesn't seem to be enough, Wright said.

"I wish there was some monumentally big word for 'thank you,'" she said.

"But I will say thank you over and over again to the employers here; employers that are out there working very hard.

"We're recognizing 15 great employers today," Wright continued," but every employer who supports a member of our Guard and reserves is near and dear to the Department of Defense and in our hearts ... thank you for what you do for the fighting force of the United States of America. We are all grateful for your efforts."

The 2013 Secretary of Defense ESGR Freedom Award winners are:
  • Albuquerque Fire Department, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C.
  • C.W. Driver, Pasadena, Calif.
  • City of Columbus, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • DaVita Inc., Denver.
  • Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn.
  • Family Allergy and Asthma, Louisville, Ky.
  • Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky.
  • Pape-Dawson Engineers, San Antonio
  • Richland County Sheriff's Department, Columbia, S.C.
  • Safeway Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.
  • Steel Plate Fabricators, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • U.S. Bank, Minneapolis
  • U.S. Marshals Service, Washington, D.C.

Reserve units take part in extensive patient evacuation exercise

by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega and Staff Sgt. Joshua Nason
944th Fighter Wing

9/26/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and the Carl Hayden Veterans Administration Medical Center took part in Operation Swift Savior, one of the most extensive patient evacuation exercises in the Southwest, Sept. 16 - 20.

Lt. Col. Michael Chesser, 944th ASTS chief hospital services flight critical care air transport physician, was one of the original architects for the exercise. When not at his reserve job, Chesser is employed by the VA as one of the physicians on the VA's emergency management committee, and designated medical care director.

Chesser, in collaboration with Lt. Col. Lisa Banyasz, 34th Air Evacuation Squadron, Peterson AFB, Colo., Luke Ritz, Phoenix and Tucson Veterans Administration Area Emergency Manager- Region IX, VHA/Office of Emergency Management, 302th Airlift Wing, Peterson AFB, Colo., and the 56th Medical Group, successfully organized the most extensive cooperation in an exercise between the VA and U.S. Air Force in the Southwest.

The exercise scenario began with the President of the United States declaring a "state of disaster" in Arizona as a result of the extended power outage. The scenario required patients (mannequins) to be transported from the VA medical center to Luke AFB for staging at the 944th ASTS. Once at the 944th ASTS the patients were stabilized and prepped to be loaded onto a C-130 and delivered to Nellis AFB, Nev., the next day. The final destination for the patients was the Las Vegas Veterans Administration Medical Center where they stood up their federal coordinating center to receive the casualties from Phoenix.

"We did a patient reception exercise in Phoenix in 2010 where we flew a plane in from the Channel Islands and conducted our care portion on the ground here," said Chesser. "This exercise was built on that concept but was much more extensive."

Capt. John Lewis, 944th ASTS medical readiness officer, and Master Sgt. Alan Boss, 944th ASTS medical readiness/logistics superintendent, designed, wrote and organized the official training plan for the Luke AFB portion of Operation Swift Savior. Ritz drafted the operational plan for the regional exercise.

"The primary purpose of this training was to provide the members of the 944th ASTS with Air Force specialty code specific and readiness skills verification training," said Boss. "The second purpose was to provide manpower and support to the VA health care system's operational mission and build stronger relationships between the VA, Arizona Department of Health Services, 944th FW, the 56th FW and all the other participating units."

The exercise was planned and coordinated over the past six months between the players in Arizona, Nevada and Colorado through frequent conference calls. Many parts of the community (federal, state and local level) are motivated to build on these experiences and continue to improve integration and cooperative ability.

In conjunction with the official exercise, additional training for Luke participants also took place. The 944th ASTS, MDS, and civil engineer squadron members, as well as 56th MG, security forces, and CE members participated in an introduction to radiological and nuclear response course put on by the Defense Nuclear Weapons School, Kirtland AFB, N.M. during a portion of Operation Swift Savior. The one-day course was designed to train Airman in different situations on equipment needed for dealing with a radiological or nuclear response.

"It's important that they understand how the detection equipment works, to provide an accurate response," said Master Sgt. Lucas Avery, Defense Nuclear Weapons School. "And this was a perfect tie in to the exercise they were already conducting."

When asked how he thought the exercise went Lewis said, "The exercise went off without a hitch on our end. Deficiencies seen in past exercises, such as poor litter carry were definitely remedied before this exercise and were performed flawlessly. We are looking forward to bigger and better exercises in the future."

Nellis AFB and the 99th Medical Wing had approximately 400 participants in the exercise. The Las Vegas venue also included 12 local hospitals which provided the final reception point for 150 live patients to replace the mannequins arriving on the C-130.

"We had such great success with the exercise this week," Chesser stated. "We are very excited about recreating "Swift Savior" again in the near future and broadening the pool of who we exercise with. There are discussions to incorporate more military units within Arizona including more active duty, reserve, National Guard assets in the Air Force and Army. We also hope to integrate with state, local and tribal entities for our next exercise making it a premier event."